Announcing our Commencement Speaker

Dear Tulane Community:

Of all the traditions unique to Tulane, none have delighted and inspired me more than our annual commencement ceremony. As someone who has spent most of his adult life in higher education, I have seen a lot of commencements – the good, the bad and the unending – and I can honestly say that no one does commencement better than Tulane. Our blending of traditional graduation pageantry with the distinct New Orleans flavor of live jazz, Mardi Gras beads and second-lining sends our graduates off in memorable fashion.

It's only fitting that such a celebration of academic success and achievement should include a nationally renowned speaker who truly knows and loves our great city and university. That is why I am so pleased to announce that Hoda Kotb, the beloved former New Orleans anchor and Emmy-winning co-host of NBC's "Today" show, will deliver the keynote address at Tulane's Commencement 2016 at 9 a.m., May 14 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Most people know Hoda from her co-hosting role with Kathie Lee Gifford during the fourth hour of "Today." But Hoda, who is also a correspondent for "Dateline," has covered some of the most gut-wrenching, dangerous and important assignments of our times, from child soldiers in Burma to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the 2004 Tsunami and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Hoda has survived personal battles as well, including breast cancer, and now works to raise awareness of this disease that has affected each of us either personally or through someone we love. Hoda is also a bestselling author and an unabashed fan of our city and its people. I am hoping for the biggest attendance and the best send-off ever for our graduates this year.

I hope you will join us!