Tag Archives: Commencement

Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold is Merrill Commencement Speaker

David Fahrenthold - Washington Pos.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 7) – Washington Post Investigative reporter David Fahrenthold will be Merrill College’s commencement speaker this coming May. The ceremony is set for the Memorial Chapel on Saturday, May 20 at 3 p.m.

During the recent presidential campaign, Fahrenthold’s coverage included a year-long series of articles that became must-read as he tried to find out what non-profit organizations Donald Trump had contributed to. He described the experience – using a simple pad of paper to list each non-profit as he called them – in a Post article on Dec. 29 of last year. (He found that Trump has made very few charitable contributions over the years – and used his foundation to pay for personal things like a portrait of himself and even cub scout dues for his son.)


Merrill Student Committee Plan

A Merrill College committee of seniors graduating in May met last semester to talk about possible speakers.The committee included Ellie Silverman, Talia Richman, Michael Stern, Cameron Rogers, Carm Saimbre, Ciara Cione, Maggie Gottlieb and Erica Bonelli.

They came up with a Doodle Pole for the senior class to get their top choices and Fahrenthold rose to the top.

The students came up with a two-part plan:

  • Knight Chair Dana Priest – who is also a Post reporter – talked with Fahrenthold about being commencement speaker and he indicated he would be excited to speak. But there was more to do:
  • The students decided to use social media (primarily Twitter) to reach out to him during Leslie Walker’s JOUR480 (The Business of Journalism) class. As Talia Richman observed in an email, “When Fahrenthold was reporting on Donald Trump’s charitable giving, he kept his Twitter followers up-to-date on his findings and crowdsourced to get more information. This was an incredible way to use new technology to do basic follow-the-money reporting. We thought it would be cool to use this method as a way to ask him to be our grad speaker.” Hand-written requests on plain paper would be used as a way to get the messaging out during their Twitter campaign Monday evening, March 6.

After some 100 posts our students had a definitive answer!


The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold.


Scott Van Pelt, Jessie Karangu Tapped as Commencement Speakers

Scot Van Pelt

Live Stream: http://go.umd.edu/May2016

Thanks to Amanda Eisenberg for help preparing this story.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Spring commencement speakers for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism are set. ESPN SportCenter host Scott Van Pelt is the main commencement speaker for the May 19 event at Ritchie Coliseum. The program starts at 9 a.m. He was the top choice of Merrill seniors. Student Jessie Karangu was voted by Merrill seniors as the student speaker.

In a message to the Merrill College community, Dean Lucy Dalglish wrote, “As you know, Scott is a loyal Terp and a great friend of the college. He majored in Radio-Television-Film while a student at Maryland. Thank you to seniors Sam Stern and Michelle Leibowitz for their work surveying seniors to see who they wanted for a speaker, then doing the work to make it happen.”

Van Pelt says he is honored to have been chosen by Merrill College students as their commencement speaker and wants Merrill Terps to know he “is one of them and they’re one of me.”

Jessie Karangu is the student commencement speaker at Merrill College in May, 2016.

Senior Jessie Karangu is the student commencement speaker for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Senior Jessie Karangu was chosen by the class of 2016 as this year’s student commencement speaker. Karangu is the editor in chief of Pulsefeedz.

“I’m so honored to be chosen as commencement speaker,” he said. “As I promised, I’m going to try and make sure the speech isn’t boring and that your day is as ‘lit’ as possible.”

Karangu also writes for Awful Announcing and the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, and worked as a reporter in the broadcast bureau of Capital News Service. The Baltimore native has on-air aspirations and also hopes to own his own digital empire one day.

Main Commencement Website
Commencement FAQ

Philip Merrill College of Journalism Information

UMTV Broadcast and Streaming Information for Commencement

UMTV commencement production.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland and UMTV have announced broadcast and streaming times for this weekends Winter Commencement exercises:

Saturday: Main Commencement: 7 p.m. – XFinity Center

  • UMTV will carry the event live. The Merrill College cable station is on campus channel 38 or 78. Comcast customers can watch on Channel 73 in Prince George’s County and on Channel 2 in Montgomery County. On Verizon, UMTV is on channel 40 in both counties.

Sunday: Merrill College Commencement: 3:30 p.m. Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union.

  • UMTV will be recording the event for playback later on the cable station.
  • Merrill College will provide a live stream of the event. (URL: umlive.umd.edu)


Tom Bettag Named December Commencement Speaker

Tom Bettag working with Merrill CNS Broadcast students along with former CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews.

Tom Bettag doing what he loves best – working with students. Here he’s with former CBS Correspondent Wyatt Andrews at the CNS Broadcast Bureau in Tawes Hall.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. –  Eleanor Merrill Distinguished Visiting Fellow Tom Bettag will be the Merrill College December commencement speaker.

Bettag is best known as the executive producer for ABC News “Nightline” with Ted Koppel, is the winner of 30 Emmy awards, two Peabody awards, six DuPont silver batons and the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award.

Among his professional experiences are 22 years with CBS News, which included working as a producer for “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” and “60 Minutes” and as executive producer of the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” from 1986-91.

From CBS, he moved to ABC News, where he was executive producer of ABC News “Nightline” with Ted Koppel from 1991 – 2006, and spent three years overseeing ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

He was executive producer of CNN’s Sunday morning programming from 2009-2011. He moved to NBC News in 2011 to work as a producer on “Rock Center with Brian Williams” for three years.

Bettag holds an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

As a visiting fellow, Bettag is working with Merrill  College student journalists and faculty on in-depth news projects. He is also advising the college on curriculum and other broadcast initiatives. The visiting fellowship is made possible by the generosity of the family of Philip Merrill, the late owner of the Annapolis Gazette and Washingtonian magazine.

Merrill sophomore Kristine Auble spoke with Bettage about what he hopes to talk about in his speech Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. in the Stamp Student Union.

Shannon Clash Named Student Commencement Speaker

Senior Shannon Clash is the student commencement speaker for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. in December, 2015.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Undergraduate students of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism who are graduating later this month have named senior Shannon Clash as Merrill commencement speaker.

Clash is a graduating senior from Baltimore who hopes to pursue a career producing long-form journalism for TV or digital outlets. Clash currently works as a production assistant for NBC4 in Washington, D.C., and as a Millennial advisor to the Maryland Association of Black Journalists’ student chapter.

While in college, Clash was a multimedia journalist and producer for Capital News Service, a layout editor for The Black Explosion newspaper, and co-founder of a website called Stories Beneath the Shell. She worked as a production assistant and social media coordinator for the Legal Stranger Project.

Clash studied abroad in Florence, Italy, was president of the Theta Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and mentored first and second graders through America Reads, America Counts. She believes none of this could have happened without the faculty, staff and students in her Merrill family.

Merrill College student Kristine Auble’17 talked with Clash about the honor and what she hopes to convey to her fellow students.