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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Broadcaster and Minnesota Native Aaron Brown is
Macalester Commencement Speaker

May 13, 2006 at Macalester

St. Paul, Minn. - Aaron Brown, the longtime broadcaster and Minnesota native, will be the keynote speaker at Macalester's 117th Commencement at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, on the lawn outside Old Main.

Brown is perhaps best known for his coverage of the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Within an hour of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, Brown was anchoring on CNN from a rooftop in New York. It was his first day as a CNN anchor. His coverage later became Newsnight with Aaron Brown, until he left the network late last year. He is widely respected for his compelling, concise and thoughtful approach to the news.

Since Sept. 11, he has anchored coverage of the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster and fallout from Hurricane Katrina. He has won three Emmy Awards, a duPont-Columbia Award and a New York Film Festival World Medal, among other honors.

Brown has said he has "great respect for viewers; if you give them good information, they'll figure it out."

Prior to anchoring at CNN, Brown anchored ABC's World News Tonight Saturday and reported for World News Tonight with the late Peter Jennings. He also was an essayist for ABC. Before that he was a reporter and anchor in Seattle. A native of Hopkins, Minnesota, Brown attended the University of Minnesota. He began his broadcasting career as a radio talk show host in Minneapolis and later in Los Angeles.

Honorary degrees at Commencement will be presented to two alumni: writer Charles Baxter'69 and theologian Beverly Wildung Harrison'54. They will both receive Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.

Baxter has written four novels, including Saul and Patsy (2003) and The Feast of Love (2000), four books of stories, three books of poetry, two books of essays, including Burning Down The House (1997). He has edited many books of criticism, contributed to dozens of anthologies of non-fiction, fiction and poetry. He was a finalist for a National Book Award in fiction in 2000 and a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award in fiction in 2004 Baxter taught English at the University of Michigan from 1989-2002 and became the Edelstein-Keller Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota in 2003.

Harrison is Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she taught for more than 30 years. Her academic work has been in Christian ethics and liberation studies. Her groundbreaking books include Our Right to Choose: Toward a New Ethic of Abortion (1983) and Making the Connections (1985). A collection of her essays, Justice in the Making: Feminist Social Ethics, was published in 2004. She says that she is most proud of the more than 60 theological and religious studies professors she advised and who are still active in their fields.

"I am extremely pleased to have a speaker and two outstanding honorary degree recipients who represent the best in their professions," said President Brian Rosenberg. "They are fine examples to our seniors and their families of how talented and committed individuals can make a difference and bring about change."

Neely Anne Crane-Smith '06, a political science major from Albuquerque , N.M., is the senior speaker.

Commencement ceremonies will include an academic procession led by the Macalester Pipe Band, flag bearers representing 34 countries of the 64 graduating international seniors plus the U.S. and U.N. flags, faculty in academic robes and 405 seniors.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,841 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.