Skip to main content

Downs to speak at Liberal Arts and Sciences convocation

April 14, 2009
Investigative journalist, television host and author Hugh Downs will be this year’s speaker at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences convocation. The ceremonies will take place May 15 at Wells Fargo Arena on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Downs is distinctively tied to Arizona State University. In 2000 the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication was named in his honor.

“Hugh Downs’ commitment to excellence exemplifies ASU’s transdisciplinary approach to the exploration of the challenges that face us,” says Linda Lederman, dean of social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “He never stops learning and continuously inspires us to do the same.”

Downs’ broadcasting career spans 50 years and includes co-anchoring the TV news show “20/20.” He also hosted “The Today Show,” the daytime game series “Concentration,” and was the announcer for “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar.

His career began after serving in the U.S. Army. He joined NBC in Chicago as a staff announcer where he met his wife Ruth. Downs has published 12 books and is a published composer.

Along with his many communication accomplishments, Downs has a long standing interest in astronomy and science. He is past president of the National Space Society and is a member of its board of governors. The asteroid 71000 Hughdowns is named after him by Charles W. Juels, an amateur American astronomer.

“We are inspired by his intellectual curiosity as well as his many accomplishments as a communicator,” says Professor H.L. “Bud” Goodall Jr., director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

He is a “living legend among American communicators,” according to Goodall.

In addition to his work on behalf of the Phoenix Symphony and many organizations and charities in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Downs continues to be involved with ASU students and faculty. He often is seen in the halls of the communication school, where he volunteers to guest lecture each semester at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

This year the college will have two convocation ceremonies, one held at 8 a.m. and the other at 11:30 a.m. For more information or to RSVP for convocation visit

The college’s convocation follows two days after the university commencement, at which President Barack Obama is scheduled to address a graduating class of more than 8,000. ASU’s commencement ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. May 13 at Sun Devil Stadium on ASU’s Tempe campus.

For more details, as they become available, on ASU's commencement visit