Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, host of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” and the network’s leading voice on U.S. foreign policy and international diplomacy, will deliver American University’s keynote address for its fall commencement. Mitchell will speak to approximately 1,000 summer and fall graduates receiving degrees from across the university’s eight schools, including the Washington College of Law. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during AU’s 140th commencement.
“At this moment of national and international change, Andrea Mitchell’s unique perspective and her experience as one of the first women to cover five presidents, congress, and foreign policy is sure to inspire our graduates as they take the next step in their journey as changemakers,” said American University President Sylvia M. Burwell. “Having had a front row seat to so many blockbuster events in recent history, Mitchell will share those lessons with our graduating Eagles at another inflection point in our history.”
AU’s online commencement celebration will air on Sunday, December 13. All eight schools will also produce separate school-based commencement celebration videos to honor all 2020 graduates.
A pioneer in her field, Mitchell is known for her tenacity and insightful analysis as she pursues answers, interviews newsmakers, and traverses the globe to report on the State Department. Since joining NBC News in 1978, Mitchell has covered seven presidential administrations. In November 2019, she co-moderated the fifth Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, Ga.
“American University students are known for their activism, their commitment to public service, and their passion for changing the world for the better,” said Mitchell. “I am delighted to share their special day of commencement as they enter a changing world with an opportunity to impact our future.”
Mitchell’s extensive reports over the years include all of the Reagan/Gorbachev arms control summits, a series of exclusive interviews with Cuba’s late President Fidel Castro, coverage of the diplomatic normalization with Havana, the Iran nuclear negotiations, conflicts in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, as well as assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. She has also covered every presidential campaign for NBC News since 1980 and was the lead correspondent assigned to Hillary Clinton throughout 2016.
Mitchell has served as a political analyst, NBC News’ chief White House correspondent, and the network’s chief congressional correspondent. She was a panelist in the second Bush-Dukakis presidential debate.
Mitchell is the recipient of numerous lifetime achievement awards, The International Radio and Television Society Foundation’s Giant of Broadcasting and Electronic Arts Honor, and many other awards.
Because of the pandemic, in May, AU held its first-ever online commencement celebration for spring 2020 graduates. The university had hoped to hold in-person, make-up ceremonies for spring 2020 graduates along with the fall ceremony for August, September, and December 2020 graduates this December. The university is determined to host in-person ceremonies to celebrate the achievements of all 2020 graduates when health and safety conditions permit.