Class Day 2009

Couric addresses the Class of 2009

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric delivered the Class Day address at Princeton June 1, becoming the first woman to headline the event since seniors began inviting outside speakers in 2001.

Couric’s lively and at times irreverent speech was peppered with Princeton slang and pop-culture references. Of her morning routine, she said, “I was pregaming in the slums when there was a noise complaint. P-Safe busted me and took my prox. Luckily, though — very relieved — I wasn’t McCoshed. I headed to the Street where I tried to complete a Prospect 10, but I was sidetracked playing robo at T.I. Very savage.” (After the speech, she confessed that two students, Jonathan Shifke ’10 and Caroline Shifke ’12, had provided a primer on campus life.)

Coming to speak at Princeton was a no-brainer, Couric said: “I can see New Jersey from my house.” But she was a bit miffed to find out that before inviting a woman to speak at Class Day, earlier classes had selected a fake newsman (Stephen Colbert in 2008) and a fake White House adviser (West Wing star Bradley Whitford in 2007).

Not all of Couric’s jokes were hits, but the veteran television journalist seemed unfazed. When a line about Eliot Spitzer ’81 drew more groans than laughs, she quipped, “They told me I could be racy here — work with me, people!”

Couric completed her address with some sober advice for the Class of 2009, which starts life after college in a less-than-hospitable job market. “Maybe the silver lining of these tough economic times is that it’s a wake-up call that can help us recalibrate our values,” she said. “What really matters in the end is how you played that game of life, that you’ve lived it with honor, integrity, and character — old-fashioned qualities that never go out of style.”

Couric called on the graduates to work hard in their chosen professions, serve their communities, thank their parents, and take chances. “Make some noise, be a rabble-rouser,” she said. “We’ve seen such extraordinary change in this country in the last 10 years. Now it’s your responsibility to build on that change.”

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