The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication celebrated its fall 2021 graduation ceremony on Tuesday, December 14 at the Arizona Federal Theater in downtown Phoenix. Graduates participated in the event to the cheers of faculty, families and friends.
The ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of 465 students who graduated in the first in-person ceremony in two years. The event was also broadcast live on YouTube.
Cronkite Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr. led the ceremony, his first as dean of the school. Batts thanked the graduating class for the spirit and energy they brought during their time at Cronkite School. âYou have inspired us every day. You are the reason why Cronkite is such a special place, âsaid Batts.
Student speaker Angelica Olivas reflected on her experience at Cronkite and encouraged her classmates to remember the little moments and relationships created during their time at school.
âIt’s important to realize that in the future, when asked about your time at Cronkite, you probably won’t remember all the things you thought you might have turned upside down, like this really difficult group project that you had to work, or the time you got an E on an assignment, âshe said. âInstead, you’re going to reflect on your experiences and the relationships we’ve formed, both personal and professional. You will think about the little moments each day that mean the most to you.
William C. Rhoden, columnist and editor-in-chief of ESPN’s The Undefeated, encouraged Cronkite graduates to stay hopeful and persevere as they embark on their careers.
Rhoden, a visiting professional at the Cronkite School, addressed the students as the keynote speaker
Rhoden acknowledged the barriers faced by this year’s graduating class, who have spent most of the past two years taking classes virtually or through blended instruction that mixed virtual lessons and in-person instruction.
âCOVID required a unique spirit of collaboration and connectivity between faculty and students. The virus has inspired innovative approaches to teaching and learning and for those of us on the ground, COVID has changed the way we do our jobs. It gave me a better appreciation for face-to-face interactions, âsaid Rhoden.
The pandemic has forced journalists to change the way they tell stories while focusing on issues that have been exposed by the pandemic, such as income inequality and disparities in access to healthcare.
âIn sports, COVID has had an unintended positive impact. Too many of us had become lazy and complacent, cramming into clubs and locker rooms, being part of a scrum, mindlessly sticking our microphones in athletes’ faces and subsequently writing routine stories. The lack of access forced us to dig deeper, widen the net and find creative ways to tell routine stories, âhe said.
Journalists also face a polarized environment where people live in their own silos and only surround themselves with people who think the same way and don’t even consider another point of view, he said. .
Rhoden called on graduates to find a way to “bring order to this chaos.”
âYou will need to be fluent in the language of multiple realities to arrive at the truth or at least establish a common denominator,â he said.
Rhoden said he was encouraged by the new generation of journalists who readily embrace certain causes and want to use journalism to make a difference.
At the end, Rhoden assured the students that “everything will be fine” and encouraged them to find sources of hope and strength.
âThe source of my hope are my ancestors. Some of them never breathed freely in their life, but they thought there would be a future and that future would be better, âhe said. “Every day they found a reason to move on, to live, to stay alive so that they could pass the torch.”
A total of 465 students graduated, of which 125 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies, 56 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication, 47 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Journalism and 66 with a Bachelor of Science in Digital Audiences.
The Cronkite School has also awarded 169 master’s degrees. This includes 112 Master of Science in Digital Audience Strategy, 12 Master of Science in Business Journalism, 16 Master of Mass Communication, 15 Master of Arts in Sports Journalism, and 14 Master of Arts in Investigative Journalism. Two students obtained a doctorate. in journalism and mass communication.
Outstanding graduate students
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Best GPA in Journalism, Mass Communication and Sports Journalism
Best GPA in Digital Audiences and Mass Communication and Media Studies
Outstanding graduate online students
Outstanding Undergraduate Online Students
National Honor Society Kappa Tau Alpha
The ASU Alumni Association presents the award at the university graduation ceremony to undergraduate students with a 4.0 GPA achieved in eight consecutive fall and spring semesters.