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Journalist and UNC alumnus Frank Bruni to be spring 2022 Commencement speaker

<p>Class of 2018 graduates talk with each other during Commencement.&nbsp;</p>
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Class of 2018 graduates talk with each other during Commencement. 

New York Times columnist and bestselling author Frank Bruni will be the spring 2022 Commencement speaker, the University announced Thursday.

Bruni will address UNC graduates at the commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 8, at 9 a.m. in Kenan Stadium.

“The fact that Carolina is one of the country’s great universities and provides education at a reachable price for a lot of young Americans is important to me," Bruni said in a press release. "Any of us who have been as well-served in our lives by our alma mater as I have want to return that favor.”

Bruni was originally scheduled to speak at the spring 2020 Commencement, but the ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19, and he recorded a video message for the virtual celebration instead.

A UNC class of 1986 alumnus, Bruni has since served as a columnist, White House correspondent, Rome bureau chief and the chief restaurant critic for The New York Times.

Bruni has also written several books. His upcoming memoir, titled “The Beauty of Dusk,” focuses on finding optimism after partially losing his eyesight.

Bruni is the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. Last semester, he was keynote speaker for the 2021 Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture at UNC.

“Frank Bruni is one of my favorite writers, and he also happens to be one of Carolina’s many esteemed and accomplished alumni," Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a press release.  "He’s written extensively on higher education, civic engagement and public service, and I believe he is uniquely suited to address our graduates at this critical time.”  

Ahead of the ceremony, Bruni spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on the college experience and gave advice to graduating seniors.

“When you can’t do something according to the idealized script, you can improvise with ingenuity and resilience," Bruni said. "If the graduating class can look beyond what didn’t happen and focus on what they’ve learned about themselves, they’ll come to the conclusion that they had one of the most useful college educations imaginable.”


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