Young taps McCullough as commencement speaker

By Rochelle McConkie, News Editor

Renowned author David McCullough, of John Adams and 1776 fame, will deliver the 2009 commencement address, U President Michael Young announced to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

McCullough, who has received a number of awards for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize, two National Book Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will address U graduates at the commencement ceremony on May 8, 2009 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

“To have an educator of Mr. McCullough’s excellence and stature speak at our commencement celebration is a profound honor for the U and one that will resonate deeply for our graduates,” Young said in a statement. “His incomparable talent for painting the remarkable beginnings of our great nation and showing us the inspired leaders who helped shape its foundations will set the perfect stage for a graduating class ready to make its own indelible mark on society.”

Laura Snow, a special assistant to Young, said it is the president’s prerogative who speaks at commencement, but he must get the approval of the Board of Trustees to give the speaker an honorary degree, which is the custom for commencement speakers. The trustees will decide whether to approve McCullough’s honorary degree at their March meeting, along with four other potential honorary degree recipients.

“I think the reasons for choosing him are quite obvious8212;he’s a world-renowned author and a very interesting man,” Snow said. “The board was very receptive.”

McCullough has sold almost 9 million copies of his books, which also include Truman, Great Bridge, Johnstown Flood and Path Between the Seas. McCullough graduated from Yale University and has been awarded more than 40 honorary degrees.

Rochelle McConkie

[email protected]