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Ted Koppel, anchor of the late-night ABC news program "Nightline," will be the keynote speaker at this year's graduating class' Commencement on May 21. Koppel, who was called "the best interviewer in America" by Time magazine, will also receive one of the honorary degrees presented at the ceremony, according to a University statement released yesterday. This year's announcement comes over two months earlier than last year's announcement of Barbara Bush as speaker. The speakers for Baccalaureate and Ivy Day as well as the other honorary degree recipients will be announced at a later date. Koppel, one of the best-known television news personalities, is also a familiar face to the University community. He moderated three colloquia on world changes at the University's 250th anniversary celebration last spring. In addition to "Nightline," Koppel also hosts "Viewpoint" and "The Koppel Report." Several students, some of whom were involved in the selection process, said yesterday that they are excited and pleased about the choice. Senior Gift drive Chairperson Jodi Krasilovsky called the choice "terrific." She and others said that Koppel is an especially timely choice because of the prominent role the broadcast media are playing during the Persian Gulf war. "He can tell us what he thinks the future of the world we are going to enter is going to be," Kravilovsky said. Graduate and Professional Student Assembly chairperson Susan Garfinkel said Koppel's ties to the University developed during the 250th celebration make him a good choice. However, Garfinkel said that Koppel was not her first choice. "My preference would be for someone who was a motivating force in society either intellectually or politically," Garfinkel said. "[That sort of person] would be more interesting to me than Ted Koppel." But Garfinkel said she expects that Koppel to be a good speaker and that his broad base of appeal will likely interest a broad range of students. College senior Alyssa Sepinwall, who was one of the two undergraduates on the committee to select honorary degree recipients, said Koppel was one of her committee's first choices. "We wanted someone who had a connection with the University and would appeal to students," Sepinwall said. "We didn't know the war would be going on at the time [we chose the candidates], but now he is a particulary timely choice," Sepinwall added. Undergraduate Assembly chairperson Duchess Harris, who was also a member of the selection committee, said that Koppel was not on her short list of choices. "Quite frankly, he was hardly in my top five," Harris said last night. "[Students will] probably be more pleased with him than with Barbara Bush, but I don't know if that is saying much," Harris said.

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