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Soledad O’Brien to speak at commencement

Television journalist and CNN special correspondent and anchor Soledad  O’Brien will speak at Fall Commencement on Sunday, Dec. 9.

Former co-anchor of CNN’s American Morning, O’Brien now anchors and reports in-depth for CNN on significant stories, and anchors Special Investigations Unit specials throughout the year.

“We’re delighted to have Soledad O’Brien speak to our graduates at our first Fall Commencement,” President Lois B. DeFleur said. “As a strong proponent of education and mentoring, she sets an example of excellence for our students.”

O’Brien, who has addressed a variety of topics in past speeches, including diversity in the media and the workplace, technology and women’s issues, will be awarded the University Medal — the highest honor the University can bestow.

Before joining CNN, O’Brien anchored NBC’s Weekend Today for four years, and contributed reports for Today and weekend editions of NBC Nigh

tly News. She covered such stories as John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane crash, the school shootings in Colorado and Oregon and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and later anchored NBC’s weekend coverage of the war in Iraq.

Before Weekend Today, O’Brien anchored MSNBC’s award-winning technology program The Site, and the cable network’s weekend morning show. She also served as a field producer for NBC Nightly News and Today.

Winner of a local Emmy for her work as a co-host on the Discovery Channel’s The Know Zone, O’Brien in 2001 was named to People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.”

She has also been recognized in both the Crain’s Business Report and Essence magazine “40 Under 40” programs and has twice been named to Irish American Magazine’s “Top 100 Irish Americans.”

A Harvard University graduate, O’Brien is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of

Hispanic Journalists.

Decker School of Nursing doctoral candidate Margaret Wells and Alan Weissman, a bachelor’s degree in psychology candidate, will address fellow students at Fall Commencement.

Wells, a board-certified adult nurse practitioner, is an assistant clinical professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s College of Nursing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Georgetown University and her master of science in nursing and post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate from Syracuse University.

Wells has worked as a nurse practitioner, a nursing instructor, an assistant nurse manager and a surgical intensive care unit nurse for St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse. Before that, she was a staff nurse for the National Institutes of Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She plans to continue in her current position and to continue her research.

Weissman, chapter president of the National Society of Leadership and Success

at Binghamton University, has worked as a billing analyst for New York Carolina Express, served as a leadership consultant for the XCEL Center for Excellence in Student Leadership and served as director of public relations for Rainbow Pride Union.

Weissman has also been a marketing and public relations intern for Happy Hour Concepts LLP, served on the Southern Tier AIDS Program Community Advisory Board and been an emergency medical technician for Harpur’s Ferry Student Volunteer Ambulance Service.

He hopes to pursue a career in event planning.

On the Internet

Visit for details about the University's first Fall Commencement, which will be held at noon Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Events Center.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08