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UM News
February 07, 2011

MISSOULA –

Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted and respected figures in broadcast journalism, will speak at The University of Montana’s 114th Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 14.

Commencement will begin at 10 a.m. in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. UM also will simulcast the ceremony via the Internet, and viewing will be available at numerous campus locations.

Individual ceremonies for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Technology will follow at noon. Individual ceremonies for professional schools will begin at 2 p.m.

During Commencement UM will present Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees to Brokaw and to Bernard Osher, founder and treasurer of the Bernard Osher Foundation, which seeks to improve quality of life through support of higher education and the arts.

“We are honored to recognize these gentlemen, both of whom have affected the lives of Montanans and people around the nation,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. 

In 2004, Brokaw stepped down after 21 years as the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News.” He remains active in broadcast journalism as a special correspondent for NBC News, producing reports such as “Separate and Unequal,” which took an honest look at the progress that has been made and the problems that persist after the civil rights movement, and “Tom Brokaw Reports: The Long War,” which is about the war on terror.

His documentary reporting has been recognized with numerous awards, including the prestigious Peabody award in 2004 for “Tom Brokaw Reports: A Question of Fairness,” in which he examines the issue of affirmative action. In 2003 he won an Emmy for Outstanding Interview for “America Remembers: 9/11 Air Traffic Controllers.”

Brokaw is the best-selling author of several books, including “The Greatest Generation” – stories of those Americans who were born around 1920, came of age in the Great Depression, fought in World War II and rebuilt the postwar world – and “A Long Way from Home,” a reflective look about growing up in the American heartland.

Originally from South Dakota, he and his wife, Meredith, now spend time at their ranch in Montana. The couple have been very supportive of UM’s School of Journalism, particularly its Native News Honors Project and the school’s new home on campus, Don Anderson Hall.

Osher, known as “the quiet philanthropist,” created the Bernard Osher Foundation in 1977. The foundation provides postsecondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation and supports selected centers in integrative medicine. In addition, it supports a growing national network of lifelong learning institutes for older adults, including the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UM. Known as MOLLI, the institute annually offers courses to about 1,000 people 50 and older.

Osher is an active community leader in the San Francisco Bay Area. A native of Biddeford, Maine, and a graduate of Bowdoin College, he pursued a successful career in business, beginning with the management of his family’s hardware and plumbing supplies store.

In 1970 he purchased the fine art auction house of Butterfield & Butterfield and oversaw its growth to become the fourth-largest auction house in the world. He sold the company in 1999 to eBay.

Osher was a founding director of World Savings, the second-largest savings institution in the United States, which merged with Wachovia Corp. He and his wife, Barbro, conduct their philanthropy through the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Fund and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, which supports Swedish cultural and education projects in North America and Sweden.

UM will post Commencement updates on the Registrar’s Office website at http://www.umt.edu/registrar.

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Contact: Jim Foley, UM executive vice president, 406-243-2311, james.foley@umontana.edu.