Hodding Carter to Speak at December Commencement

Noted journalist and policy expert Hodding Carter III, a professor of leadership and public policy at UNC, will deliver Carolina’s December Commencement address.

Chancellor James Moeser will preside at the Dec. 16 ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Dean E. Smith Center.

Moeser selected Carter in close consultation with the University’s Commencement speaker selection committee.

“Hodding Carter’s distinguished career in journalism and public affairs has given him a vast array of experience to draw from in assessing the dynamics of leadership, policymaking and the watchdog role of the news media in America today,” Moeser said. “I am confident that his message to our new graduates and their families will give us all much to think about.”

Carter said he planned to use his December address to speak 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. “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.”

An award-winning journalist, Carter joined UNC’s faculty in 2006 shortly after stepping down as president of the Knight Foundation, where he worked with former UNC System President Bill Friday ’48 (LLB), who was chair of the foundation’s commission on intercollegiate athletics. Carter also spent eight years as president and chief executive officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a Miami-based organization that 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, Carter served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marines Corps 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, Carter won the Society of Professional Journalists’ national award for editorial writing. He was a Harvard University Nieman Fellow from 1965 to 1966.

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, Carter 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.

The December Commencement speaker generally is selected from a list provided by a speaker advisory committee made up of four students, the faculty chair, the faculty secretary, two faculty members and the chair of the Commencement committee. Chaired by Executive Associate Provost Steve Allred, the committee submits names to the chancellor, who makes the final decision.

Parking for Commencement will be available in the Manning, Bowles and Hinton James lots and the Craige Parking Deck. A reception on the concourse will follow the ceremony.

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