NPR's Lakshmi Singh ’94 to Newhouse graduates: 'These are unconventional times'

By Wendy S. Loughlin

May 16, 2017

Newhouse School alumna Lakshmi Singh ’94 came back to campus Saturday to help a new generation of Newhouse graduates kick off their future.

Singh, whose voice is familiar to NPR listeners, is a midday newscaster with the media outlet. She delivered the keynote address at the Newhouse Convocation Ceremony, where more than 600 students celebrated the completion of their degrees. Family members and other guests also attended the ceremony, which was held May 13 in the Carrier Dome, followed by a reception on the quad.

In her speech, Singh spoke about the importance of journalism and the special responsibility facing Newhouse graduates who are planning to work in the field.

“All of you are now on the cusp of providing a life source to our democracy. And that life source… is the free press," she said.

She noted the ways technology and social media have transformed the nature of news delivery and consumption. “The access to news by the general public is much easier, and that makes the responsibility of getting the news right that much more vital.”

Singh urged graduating students to approach their careers with integrity, and offered advice:

“Always strive to provide the clearest and most accurate reporting or publishing of facts and statistics, never be timid or hesitant to ask the most critical questions, the vet your sources, crosscheck your sources, protect your sources, explore the story, be persistent, prepare to take unconventional approaches for these are unconventional times. And remember, your ethical approach to every story is key.”  

She closed her remarks by quoting Mahatma Gandhi: “Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forgo.”

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Jessica Dunne and Kelly Sheptock were Class Marshals, and offered remarks on behalf of the undergraduate students. Elliot Williams spoke on behalf of the master’s students. Kerene Limage sang the National Anthem. Charisse L’Pree, assistant professor of communications, was named Faculty Member of the Year at the ceremony.

About 420 undergraduate, 200 graduate and three doctoral students from the Newhouse School graduated from Syracuse University this spring. The Syracuse University Commencement Ceremony was held May 14. 

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