Breaking: 2011 CC Class Day Speaker Is Alexandra Wallace Creed

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Creed (left) during her college days, courtesy of Columbia College Today

Speaking of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming!

Creed, CC ’88, is the executive producer of NBC Nightly News and the Vice President of NBC News. There has only been one female Class Day speaker since Columbia went co-ed in 1983: Claire Shipman, CC ’86, also a TV journalist, spoke in 1999. Creed was profiled in Columbia College Today in December 2007. Brian Williams (also 30 Rock’s best guest star, we think) calls Creed a “hustler”, but in a good way. Wallace was an English major and she played on the tennis team.

A note: Class Day and Commencement are not the same thing. Commencement is the University-wide graduation. The POTUS Project is the initiative for President Obama to speak at Commencement, not Columbia College Class Day.

An excerpt from CC 2011 President Sean Udell’s email announcing Creed:

We are writing to you today about Class Day, a tradition specifically for Columbia College where we welcome a beloved alumnus to deliver the College’s official farewell to CC seniors. Columbia College is unique in its requirement that the Class Day speaker be a Columbia affiliate, and we personally celebrate this tradition, as it helps to ensure that our speaker be particularly able to speak to the experiences of Columbia College graduates. When determining who to invite to speak at Class Day, your senior class council was particularly interested in the following qualities for a speaker: 1) passion for Columbia College, 2) success in personal and professional life, and 3) positive spirit and attitude capable for the inspiration of students. Moreover, in consideration of the comments that you contributed as we moved through this selection process, we agreed that it was additionally important to chose a speaker who reflected the relatively new gender balance that Columbia College has finally attained since this school became open to women in 1983. Since then, only the 1999 Class Day speaker has been a woman: Claire Shipman, CC ’86.

Therefore, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that our first choice for Class Day speaker has agreed to join us on May 17, 2011. ALEXANDRA WALLACE CREED, CC ’88, executive producer of the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and vice president of NBC News, will be this year’s Class Day Speaker. A renegade in her field, she is part of a small group of women who have shattered the glass ceiling of television network news in order to serve as the chief executive for the United States’ largest nightly network news broadcast. Moreover, she has been honored with six News and Documentary Emmy awards and a John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement. We were particularly impressed that in addition to this incredible professional responsibility, Ms. Wallace is also the mother of young children and an extraordinarily active alumnae who hosts several Columbia College events every year and serves on the Columbia College Board of Visitors.

Class Day is a time for Columbia College seniors to celebrate their incredible achievement and to be inspired by the distinguished Columbians who have come before them. Alexandra Wallace Creed is someone that all Columbians can be proud of and admire as a role model, and we look forward to welcoming her to campus next semester as our Class Day speaker.

Update, 2:40 PM: The University has just issued its official press release announcing Creed, including a quote from Dean Mi-Moo: “Ms. Wallace’s accomplishments affirm our conviction that a strong liberal arts education inspires possibilities and opens doors to leadership opportunities in myriad industries and professions,” said Dean of Columbia College Michele M. Moody-Adams. “We are honored that Ms. Wallace has accepted our invitation to return to campus to address the Columbia College Class of 2011 on this most important occasion.” Creed won a John Jay award in 2008 and is member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Full press release after the jump.

NBC News Producer Alexandra Wallace Creed to Speak at Columbia College Class Day 2011

NEW YORK, December 12, 2010 – Columbia College announced today that Alexandra Wallace Creed (CC ’88), senior vice president of NBC News¸ will deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Class Day ceremony. The annual event, which honors graduating seniors, will take place on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, on the South Lawn of Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus.

Named executive producer of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in March 2007, Wallace became the first woman to lead a weeknight network evening newscast in a decade, and one of a small group of women to serve in the top post of a Big Three daily newscast.

“Ms. Wallace’s accomplishments affirm our conviction that a strong liberal arts education inspires possibilities and opens doors to leadership opportunities in myriad industries and professions,” said Dean of Columbia College Michele M. Moody-Adams. “We are honored that Ms. Wallace has accepted our invitation to return to campus to address the Columbia College Class of 2011 on this most important occasion.”

While leading Nightly News, Wallace repositioned the program as the number one evening news broadcast in terms of both ratings and viewership. Wallace also extended the show’s digital reach by orchestrating a relaunch of the website, increasing online video, and adding a digital correspondent to the show’s staff.

Since December 2008, Wallace has served as senior vice president of NBC News, overseeing Nightly News, news production, and staffing. Wallace was first named vice president of NBC News in January 2006.

Previously, Wallace was executive producer of Weekend Today and senior producer of Today. During her time as executive producer, Weekend Today’s ratings remained dominant and Saturday Today was number one across the board.

Wallace, who has a BA in English literature from Columbia College, began her network career at the CBS News London bureau. Prior to landing at NBC, Wallace held several positions at CBS, including senior broadcast producer for The Early Show and senior producer for The Early Show and CBS This Morning.

Wallace has been honored with eleven News and Documentary Emmy awards, a Gracie Award, and a Peabody Award. In 2008, Columbia College recognized Wallace for professional achievement by presenting her with a prestigious John Jay Award. She is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations.

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  1. Anonymous  

    "Therefore, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that our first choice for Class Day speaker"
    What a fucking lie, if she was actually anyone's first choice, I'll hit them in the face.

  2. WHERE IS  


  3. Anonymous  


  4. Thrilling....  

    If Udell thinks that this is "thrilling" news... I have nothing.

    This just isn't thrilling news.

  5. Sweet.  

    "...a speaker who reflected the relatively new gender balance that Columbia College has finally attained since this school became open to women in 1983."

    In this case, "relatively" must be referring to, like, a great-great-great-grandfather's cousin twice removed.

    Who's doing Bacchanal this year? Devo? The Bee-gees? They're relatively new as well...

  6. damn.  

    severely underwhelmed

    was really hoping for richard axel :(

  7. Who The...  

    fuck is alexandra creed!

  8. "alumnus"?

    try alumna. she's not a man. and yes i get that you can use alumnus to refer to both men and women, but let's try a little harder here.

  9. When POTUS fails  

    Just say someone else was the first choice. I get it. Great work Udell. great work. I am soooo proud. glad I paid so much tuition to hear some media drone speak to us about growing up. Seriously. WTF.

  10. Not shocked

    Keeping with the theme of underwhelming class day speakers.

  11. Anonymous

    Dude, wow. This fucking sucks. What happened to all the other choices??? Was she even being considered? I wish I could take back my donation to the Senior Fund.

  12. Also not shocked  

    Keeping with the theme of spoiled CC students bitching about class speakers.

  13. Womp  

    She works at NBC? She should bring Tina Fey with her.

  14. Anonymous  

    Not even a wikipedia on this womyn

  15. WOW  


    Sean Manning Udell, you're presidency has been nothing short of an abject failrue.

  16. thanks  

    a lot Adam Klein and Harrison David and David Epstein. Look how far you have caused us to fall.

    • i know, right?  

      I remember last year, when the student body just couldn't believe how incredibly fortunate we were to actually have Ben Jealous(!) speak to us. And now, thanks to the Columbia 5, it's just Alexandra Creed. We've fallen pretty far, haven't we?

  17. hoenstly  

    I may just skip CLass Day because of this bullshit. Creed, if you are out there and I am sure that you are given you are a media hound, you're arrival is certainly not anticipated and possibly not even welcome.

  18. CC2011




  19. well  

    one thing is for sure

    Creed < POTUS. Quite explicitly was not our "first choice". Udell, you are a slimeball.

    • Sean Udell  

      Oh, I know you don't really mean that.

      Besides, Class Day and Commencement are totally different! We're trying to get the President to come for Commencement, not Class Day. I tried to distinguish the two in my email, but my bad for not being quite so clear.

      But, anyway, I'm always happy to talk to 2011ers in person. If you'd like to chat about this or anything else that we're up to, you can always email me at [email protected]

    • Hmm...  

      After all of your complaining and viciousness (the four separate posts worth, that is), I'm going to guess that you didn't even fill out a letter for the POTUS Project. If you did, you probably would have been well aware that CCSC and the other councils are trying to get Obama for Commencement, not Class Day. You would also probably know that this initiative is still running. Even though Columbia has received bad press recently, the prospect of Obama speaking for your graduation is not entirely ruled out.

      Maybe instead of wasting your time calling someone a slimeball and a failure, you can contribute your efforts to more productive and positive endeavors... like helping the students you throw hateful words at to achieve the exact goal you want. Or, you could try making yourself a better person, whichever's easier. =)

  20. Anonymous  

    eh re: creed but the pic is sure cute!

  21. Unproud  

    I am embarrassed to be an American today. This is worse that the Civil War

  22. This is just proof

    CU loves the media. it's unrequited.

  23. Only thing thats worse

    would have been obama himself...couldn't stand him talking for 40 minutes about how much he's ruining our economy and healthcare system

    Oh yeah and vote me down if you're any insecure liberal who thinks Im crazy for not blindly following the president

  24. :(  

    I just want someone famous to gawk at. I'm gonna be too drunk to remember the speech anyway.

  25. let's be honest here  

    Jon Hamm was definitely 30 Rock's best guest star.

  26. FUCK  

    YOU BWOG FOR KILLING MY STUDY TIME. and fuck you c5.

  27. what the fuck  

    Who the fuck is this person? I've never heard of her before in my life. Christ. This is an embarrassment. Fuck.

  28. also  

    I don't give a damn if this person is a woman or not. How many black class day speakers have we had? How many gay or lesbian class day speakers have we had? How many transgender class day speakers have we had? No one knows, because no one gives a shit, so why should we care that she's a woman? How about, instead, we care more about what our prospective class day speakers have actually accomplished rather than what kind of naughty bits they've got.

    • ....  

      I like the fact that sean udell's best reason to get this no name as our class speaker was because she was a woman.

      lol so pitiful that's her greatest accomplishment

      • Yes,  

        her greatest accomplishment is that she's a woman. Not, you know, that she's the executive producer of NBC Nightly News and the Vice President of NBC News. That's no big deal, or anything.

        • Honestly  

          Is being the executive producer of the NBC Nightly News really that big of a deal? Especially for a bunch of college students, I am willing to bet that less than 50 members of the CC class of 2011 have watched an entire newscast of that program in the last month. And I bet even less could have picked this lady out of a lineup before today.

          She's just not at the standard of past class day speakers. It's not unreasonable to expect one of the most respected colleges in the country to get a speaker people have actually heard of.

    • Do you go to CC?

      The last two class day speakers were black: Attorney General Eric Holder, and NAACP President Ben Jealous. Still completely agreed, this process could have been so much better organized and we should be picking someone because they've done awesome shit.

  29. Holy shit.  

    We at least even have a CHANCE of the muffugin President of the United States to speak at our Commencement.

    I for one am grateful. Like or unlike this however you want - people gotta grow up and learn to appreciate the shitload of shit they have in their life. It pisses me off.

  30. Some perspective  

    Who cares about the class day speaker anyway? I know that when I think back to college graduation 50 years from now, I'll remember with pride that I had Prezbo as the commencement speaker. I mean, Prezbo! I don't know about you, but he's the only celebrity I follow on Twitter anymore.

  31. 07

    Everyone flipped a shit about Matthew Fox. He was awesome. Give her a chance.

  32. Anonymous  

    Off the top of my head, Harvard recently had these "class day" / commencement speakers:

    Bill Clinton
    Bill Gates
    J.K. Rowling
    Stephen Colbert
    Conan O'Brien
    Will Farrell

    ... Columbia FTW!

    • Anonymous  

      Harvard does not have to follow the same rules that are imposed upon Columbia for their class day speaker. The speaker must have an association to the College. So while all those people are/would be great speakers, they were not options.

      Alexandra Wallace Creed seems like she will be a perfect person to speak to us; she obviously really enjoyed her time at Columbia and has been extremely successful since her days here. Just because people have never heard of her does not make her a poor choice.

  33. Will no one

    start the Columbia/Barnard comment war for this post? Geez you guys must be really busy with finals or some other intellectual masturbation.

  34. Anonymous  

    A long time since we had a woman? When was the last time we had a scientist??? CC is not all humanities. I voted for Richard Axel (Nobel prize winner). He's a professor at the medical school and gives the best speeches that I've ever heard. Funny, inappropriate, and intelligent. Why didn't anyone vote for him? Now we have some random person. Lame.

  35. Wow  

    Why the f- is everyone so negative? Creed has been incredibly successful, and we should be proud to have her. Hopefully she'll give us some serious insight into the real world, and you idiots will stfu.

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