Convocation: Pearson urges graduates to stick to journalistic principles

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Legendary Atlanta broadcaster and current Grady graduate Monica Kaufman Pearson gave the keynote address.

Originally published on www.grady.uga.edu on May 9, 2013.

ATHENS — More than 500 Grady students were celebrated today at the college’s annual Spring Convocation Ceremony.

Keynote speaker and legendary Atlanta TV news broadcaster Monica Kaufman Pearson urged students to remain firm to the journalistic principles they’ve been taught as they begin their professional careers.

“While so much has changed in our field, our purpose has not,” she said, citing the importance of using critical thinking as they do their work.

Pearson, who broke barriers when she became the first minority and female broadcast news anchor in Atlanta when she debuted on WSB-TV in 1975, has been pursuing her master’s degree at Grady since retiring in July 2012. In her address, she stressed the importance of education and also serving others.

“If you want the world to be a better place, you’ve got to get involved,” she said.

Graduate Paige Pulaski echoed Pearson’s advice in her speech as senior orator — an honor given to the graduate with the highest grade point average. Pulaski, who has a 3.9 GPA, said the class of 2013 will accomplish big things.

“We’re stepping into a world of possibilities,” she said. “We are the ones who will provide new solutions to old problems.”

Dean Cully Clark, hosting his final convocation before retiring, announced that this current graduating class of 511 is the largest group of Grady graduates in history. Citing a list of multiple accomplishments, Clark noted how Grady students have been featured as University of Georgia “Amazing Students” more this year than any other college.

“It’s not surprising, because quite simply our students are amazing,” he said.

Grady Alumni Board Chair Jody Danneman (ABJ ’88) welcomed the graduates into the Grady Society, and also called special attention to three retirements among Grady faculty: broadcast senior lecturer Steve Smith, Peabody Awards director Horace Newcomb and Clark.

“This college is doing incredibly well, and that is because of the work of the faculty,” Danneman said, adding that under Clark’s tenure, the college has raised significant funds, launched WUGA-TV and reconnected the college with its history.

Clark was greeted with a standing ovation from the thousands in the crowd as he closed out the ceremony. “We have done our job,” he said. “It’s their turn.”

Author: Joe Dennis

Journalist. Teacher. Announcer. Coach.