Knight Foundation president to speak to ASU Cronkite graduates

portrait of Alberto Ibargüen

Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will be the keynote convocation speaker next week for graduates of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m., May 15, at ASU Gammage. More than 250 students are expected to graduate.

As the head of Knight, Ibargüen leads one of the largest private independent foundations in the country. The foundation is the nation’s largest funder of journalism and media innovation, and invests in 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers operated newspapers. Ibargüen is the former publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, Miami’s Spanish-language newspaper. Under his leadership, The Miami Herald won three Pulitzer Prizes, and El Nuevo Herald won Spain’s Ortega y Gasset Prize for excellence in journalism.

“Alberto Ibargüen is one of the most influential thought leaders in journalism today, and his leadership of Knight Foundation has led to important and critically needed digital innovations,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “I can't think of a better speaker to inspire our new graduates as they embark on their careers in the digital media world.”

Ibargüen serves on the boards of PepsiCo, American Airlines Group and AOL, and is a former chair of the World Wide Web Foundation, an international organization that promotes Internet freedom founded by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee. Over time, he has served on boards for multiple arts, education and journalism organizations, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Wesleyan University and Smith College.

Knight Foundation has had a long relationship with the Cronkite School, supporting key programs that include Carnegie-Knight News21, in which top journalism students from across the country conduct national investigations into issues critical to Americans and showcase their findings in innovative ways on the Web.

Cronkite also has a Knight Chair in Journalism, a tenured professorship supported by an endowment from Knight Foundation. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Doig, one of the world’s foremost experts on data journalism, holds the chair.

Most recently, the Cronkite School launched the Public Insight Network Bureau, a specialized news bureau in which students work with professional news organizations around the country to deepen their connections to audiences, under a grant from Knight Foundation, with additional support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and American Public Media.