Winter Commencement program features NPR host Steve Inskeep as speaker

Topic: Administrative

December 10, 2010

National Public Radio (NPR) anchor Steve Inskeep will be the principal speaker at Ball State University's annual winter commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 18. He also will receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the university, joining approximately 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students who are eligible to receive their diplomas during the 10 a.m. ceremony in John E. Worthen Arena on campus.

As co-host, with NPR veteran Renée Montagne, of the top-rated "Morning Edition," Inskeep is heard by more American radio listeners each day than any other radio reporter or commentator. The Carmel, Ind., native has been with the program since 2004 and a member of the network's full-time reporting staff since 1996.

During that time, Inskeep has traversed the country and the world — from the Persian Gulf to the wreckage of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina — in search of stories that are not always in the headlines. His long list of interview subjects includes presidents and prime ministers, award-winning authors, musicians and other artists as well as everyday working people, from a steelworker in Ohio to a woman living in poverty in Tehran.

"Information technology is making our world not only smaller, but also increasingly more complex," reflected President Jo Ann M. Gora. "To function successfully in such an environment requires both timely and reliable information and a global perspective. Steve Inskeep and NPR provide both to millions of listeners every day. We could not be more pleased that Steve has agreed to return to his Hoosier home to share directly with our students and the broader campus community some of the many insights he's gained during his wide-ranging travels and assignments."

Home and abroad

Inskeep's first in-depth assignment for NPR was covering the 1996 presidential election campaign, beginning with that year's New Hampshire primary. He would go on to cover the Pentagon, the U.S. Senate and, in 2000, the presidential campaign of George W. Bush.

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Inskeep was posted to the war in Afghanistan, reporting as well on the hunt for al-Qaeda suspects in neighboring Pakistan and, ultimately, the war in Iraq. His coverage of an allied forces military raid gone wrong in Afghanistan earned a National Headliner Award in 2003 and he has twice been part of NPR news teams awarded Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Batons for wartime dispatches from Iraq.

His series on political and ethnic conflict in Nigeria, "The Price of African Oil," also received a 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award from the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Of his current work with "Morning Edition," Inskeep says the program's aim is to "slow down the news, make sense of information that flies by too quickly, and check glib statements against the facts."

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Inskeep and his NPR colleague, Michele Norris, co-hosted "The York Project" — named for the Pennsylvania community in which the groundbreaking series of conversations about race took place — that also was awarded a prestigious DuPont-Columbia University Silver Baton.

With his upcoming appearance, Inskeep adds to the list of influential voices from the world of journalism invitated to be commencement speakers at Ball State. David Gergen, former editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report and current CNN senior political analyst, was the principal speaker at spring commencement in 2005, while David Broder, Pulitzer Prize-winning political writer for the Washington Post, was the 2006 spring speaker.

That distinguished list will grow by one again in May, when Steve Kroft, award-winning correspondent for CBS' "60 Minutes," will address the Class of 2011 at spring Commencement and also receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Ball State.

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