‘Today’ host Savannah Guthrie tapped as 2019 Commencement speaker

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Donna Armstrong | Contributing Photo Editor

Savannah Guthrie, a co-anchor of NBC News' morning show "Today," will serve as this year's keynote speaker at Commencement.

Savannah Guthrie, a co-host of the NBC News morning show “Today,” announced on air Wednesday that she will serve as the keynote speaker at Commencement this year.

Donning a GW hat, Guthrie joked that she is not quite ready to deliver the address yet because “I still have to write the speech. I wrote some thoughts, but I haven’t done it yet.”

“But I will be ready,” Guthrie said, standing outside her New York studio. “I can’t wait. It’s such an honor.”

Guthrie, who also serves as NBC News’ chief legal correspondent, first joined “Today” in June 2011 as a co-host of the program’s third hour. Before working at the news show, Guthrie covered the 2008 presidential election and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s vice presidential campaign for the network.

From 2008 to 2011, Guthrie served as NBC News’ White House correspondent, where she broke previously unknown details about Osama bin Laden’s death.

Prior to joining NBC, Guthrie worked as a reporter for local network affiliates in Missouri, Arizona and the District, where she covered the 9/11 attacks. After receiving her law degree from Georgetown University in 2002, she joined Court TV – now called TruTV – as a national trial correspondent while working at the D.C. law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Officials chose Guthrie as Commencement speaker this year after receiving backlash for selecting Marcia McNutt, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, to speak the year before. Students criticized the choice, saying McNutt was not as well-known as previous speakers and came from a science background even though many students study social sciences.

University President Thomas LeBlanc defended McNutt’s selection after an interview with WRGW last year, saying he could “live with” the criticism because it came from “privileged” non-science majors.

Guthrie will be joined by alumna Christine Darden, one of the former NASA engineers who inspired the film “Hidden Figures,” and Cindy McCain, a philanthropist and the widow of former Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Both women will receive honorary degrees, the University tweeted Wednesday morning.

Commencement will take place on the National Mall on Sunday, May 19. Previous Commencement speakers have included 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., in 2016 and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., in 2017.

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