Skip to main content

Spring commencement ceremony to feature Tom Brokaw, honorary guests

February 22, 2012

Tom Brokaw, renowned news anchor and former managing editor of NBC’s "Nightly News," will be the commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree at Arizona State University’s spring undergraduate commencement ceremony.

The undergraduate ceremony is set for 7:30 p.m., May 3, in Sun Devil Stadium. More than 10,000 students are set to receive degrees over the course of the celebration.

Graduate students will have their degrees conferred at 10 a.m., May 2, in Wells Fargo Arena.

Brokaw, one of America’s most respected television journalists, is the only person to host all three major NBC News programs: "The Today Show," "NBC Nightly News," and, briefly, "Meet the Press." He is the author of "The Greatest Generation" (1998) and other books and his numerous awards include twelve Emmys (one for lifetime achievement), two Peabody and DuPont awards, and ASU’s Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Adding to the excitement, this year’s festivities mark the 125th year of commencement ceremonies at ASU. The first graduating class donned their caps and gowns in 1887 when the university was Territorial Normal School at Tempe. Although there were years in between when circumstances prohibited ASU from having a ceremony, Sun Devil pride has never wavered. 

ASU will also award honorary degrees to the following:

Temple Grandin, researcher and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Grandin is widely influential for her innovative work in animal science and her dedication as an author, speaker, and advocate in the area of autism. Stemming from her own experiences with autism, she feverously works to better understand autism spectrum disorders and provide valuable insights to researchers, teachers and parents about what is perceived about the disorder.

Eric Kandel, Austrian-born American neuroscientist. Kandel is famous for his fundamental research central to understanding normal memory, dementia and mental disorders related to memory. In addition to the Nobel Prize, his honors include the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Kasker Award and the Viktor Frankl Award of the City of Vienna.

Lim Chuan Poh chairman of A*STAR, a lead government agency dedicated to fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based economy. Internationally, Lim is a Council Member of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum, and a Member of Japan’s World Premier International (WPI) Initiative Programme Assessment and Review Committee. Prior to these accomplishments, he was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education (MOE), and spent 23 years with the Singapore Armed Forces.

ASU will bestow the prestigious University Medal of Excellence to Nelson Broms, vice president of iQ NetSolutions, Inc. and senior advisor at UtiliCorp United. Throughout his career Broms founded several civic and community organizations including the Council of Economics and National Security, the Women’s Museum for Arts and The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. He also earned a Bronze Star after serving his country in the United States Army for seven years.

For information, visit