Correction Appended: This story incorrectly identified graduate Daniel Horton as an outgoing captain of the men’s basketball team. Horton was never a team captain.
When CNN’s chief foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour took the stage in Michigan Stadium at graduation last Saturday, she said she felt right at home, not only because of the warm welcome – but because of the stadium’s construction.
“I’m used to this kind of scenery … a little bombed-out, a little devastated, a little bit of reconstruction,” she said.
While prior to the event many graduating seniors considered Amanpour a low-profile speaker, she seemed to please the crowd of graduates, family members and kin who attended the ceremony last Saturday.
“People living in America tend to think inwardly a lot,” said outgoing basketball player Daniel Horton. “She offered a valuable perspective that a lot of people probably hadn’t encountered.”
Amanpour, who has won every major award in broadcast journalism, highlighted the aspect of her career that she has found most rewarding – making a difference around the world.
She encouraged the audience to work toward the same goal in their career paths.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2006, self-absorbed is so yesterday. It’s out. Cool is now to be a citizen of our world, not just an inhabitant,” she said.
Amanpour said what really drove her to pursue her stories – which have taken her from the Balkans to Baghdad to Bosnia – was her belief in the power of journalism.
“I remain convinced that good journalism still matters,” she said. “The United States needs strong, independent journalists of integrity who are committed to reporting without fear nor favor, and who report the good and the bad, never exaggerating, but never shying away from it.”
Graduating senior Brett Bielory said Amanpour left an indelible impact on the crowd.
“(Her speech) was the highlight of the entire day,” Bielory said.
Christiane Amanpour’s speech can be heard at http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?videos#sc06