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.