CNN journalist Jake Tapper to deliver this year’s undergraduate commencement speech

Tapper is the host of CNN’s ‘The Lead with Jake Tapper’ and ‘State of the Union’


(Courtesy of The Lead with Jake Tapper official Facebook page)

By Alvin Buyinza and Jackson Cote

CNN lead anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper will be delivering this year’s undergraduate commencement speech at the University of Massachusetts on May 11 at 4:30 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

The announcement was released from the UMass Alumni Association’s official Twitter account on March 22.

Tapper is the host of CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” which covers a variety of national and global news stories such as politics, money, sports and popular culture.

Additionally, Tapper is also the host of CNN’s “State of the Union,” a Sunday talk show where he interviews politicians, experts and newsmakers on politics and policy. Most notably in the past Senator Bernie Sanders, former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Hayley have all been interviewed on “State of the Union.”

During the past election Tapper moderated the presidential election debates and provided expert coverage of the race and analysis of the projections of several states on election night, according to a statement released from UMass News and Media Relations.

Most recently on Feb. 21, Tapper moderated a town hall in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, featuring survivors of the attack along with state politicians and gun-rights advocates.

“We live in an era when press freedom is increasingly under attack,” said UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy in a statement released from UMass News and Media. “Jake Tapper’s steadfast commitment to fact-based debate and responsible journalism in our tumult-filled times has rightly earned him widespread praise and respect. I know our graduating class will be keenly interested in his insights about the changing nature of the media and the American political and cultural landscape.”

In response to the recent news, graduating seniors at UMass were happy to hear the that the venerated journalist was coming to speak at the commencement.

“I was really excited to hear that Jake Tapper was going to be the speaker,” said graduating senior Eleora Pasternack. “I think that a lot of the work he does in reporting is really relevant right now. He is a very credible person and he has a lot of insight for all the graduates entering the workforce, and I’m personally a really huge fan!”

Serena Jethmalani, a senior double major in political science and sociology, is very excited that Tapper will be a featured commencement speaker, as she watches his broadcasts on CNN, including his show “State of the Union.”

“I’m an international student from India, so ever since I came here, I started watching—so the last four years now,” Jethmalani said.

“My parents are coming, so I texted them this morning as well, and my dad knew who he was, so I was quite excited about that too,” she said, noting that her parents are coming all the way from Mumbai for her graduation.

Nathaniel Johnson, a senior kinesiology major, watches Tapper occasionally and likes him as an anchor; he thinks Tapper will be a good speaker at commencement.

“He seems to interview well. He calls people out sometimes when he’s not liking their answers,” said Johnson.

Johnson noted one instance in which Tapper interviewed White House advisor Stephen Miller. Tapper and Miller got into a back-and-forth, and Tapper wound up cutting the interview short, telling Miller, “I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.

“He had him on, and he called him out for a lot of the lies he was spewing out,” Johnson said in reference to the heated moment between Tapper and Miller.

Alvin Buyinza can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at abuyinza_news. Jackson Cote can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at jackson_k_cote.