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Noted journalist and policy expert Hodding Carter III, a professor of leadership and public policy, gave the December Commencement address to more than 1,100 graduates on Dec. 16, reflecting on the U.S. as a constantly changing nation.
“America in the 21st century remains what it has always been, a nation in the midst of change,” Carter said of his address, given in the Dean E. Smith Center. “Where that will take us in the coming decades remains dependent on the myths, aspirations, precepts and principles we embrace in our public as well as our private lives.”
A transcript of the address is available online.
An award-winning journalist, Carter joined the faculty in 2006 after eight years as president and chief executive officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which promotes excellence in journalism. He also served as assistant secretary of state for public affairs and state department spokesman under former President Carter. That stint included serving as the public face of the Iran hostage crisis for the Carter administration.
Carter’s father was publisher of the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, Miss., and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1946 for his editorials on racial and religious tolerance.
A New Orleans native and graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Hodding Carter served as a lieutenant in the Marines for two years. He returned to Greenville and spent 17 years as a reporter, editor and associate publisher of the family-owned newspaper. In 1961, he won the Society of Professional Journalists’ national award for editorial writing and was a Harvard University Nieman Fellow from 1965 to 1966.
Also in the 1960s, Carter became active in racial and political reform in the South. He worked on presidential campaigns for Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Jimmy Carter in 1976 and joined the Carter administration in 1977.
After leaving the State Department in 1980, he held a variety of news media positions, including opinion editorial columnist for The Wall Street Journal. His work garnered four national Emmy awards and the Edward R. Murrow Award for best foreign documentary.
Chancellor James Moeser selected Carter in consultation with the University’s Commencement speaker selection committee.
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