Excerpts from Journalist Judy Woodruff's
Commencement Speech at Smith College, May 16, 2004
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Distinguished
broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, who has worked for CNN
since 1993 and anchors "Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics," gave
the commencement address at Smith College's 126th commencement
ceremonies on Sunday, May 16.
Following are excerpts from
politically, militarily and socially, America is the world's
leader, the trendsetter. American products and American culture
"Yet, at the same time, American policy, and even Americans, are increasingly
reviled around the globe. America, not terrorism, too often is seen as the greatest
threat to world peace.
"In moderate Arab countries, supposedly our allies, Osama Bin Laden, a demonstrable
murderer, is more popular than George W. Bush; a recent Pew study found the percentage
of people in Muslim countries who feel that suicide bombings are justified, has
"American cannot lead -- and you will have more difficulty in playing a
prominent role in any international field you pursue -- if this persists. A "Field
of Dreams" international policy -- do it and they will follow, irrespective
of what the people believe -- is a fantasy."
me two asides. One, do not let my profession elude its responsibilities:
the number of foreign correspondents on the three commercial
networks has been cut in half over the past couple of decades
and on September 11, 2001, there was not a single CBS, ABC
or NBC correspondent in a predominately Muslim country; and
then we wonder why we don't understand one another.
"Also, whatever your views on the Iraqi war, don't make the mistakes that
were made in Vietnam, where we condemned the warriors as well as the war. This
way may prove to be a tragic mistake, as Vietnam did. But we should honor those
brave young men and women -- most from working-class families -- who are serving
their country in uniform."
those of you so inclined, there's the issue of combining
career and family. Can you do it? Of course. Women have been
doing it for centuries, and, thanks to the feminist movement,
there are more possibilities for you today. Over the past
40 years, women have gone from making 59 percent of what
men make to 77 percent; although that's welcome, it is also
"Yet in the past few years, corporations and other institutions are making
it more difficult, cutting back on flex-time and job-sharing and other arrangements
that disproportionately help working mothers. The first child today lowers earnings
for a mother by 7.5 percent; the second child by another 8 percent. That is unacceptable.
"It also is unacceptable that our family and medical leave policies are
so limited; this imposes a special burden on lower- and middle-income working-class
families; over three-quarters of low-wage workers have no paid sick leave. These
burdens fall heaviest on women.
"Don't accept these trends. Use your voice and the skills you acquired here
to change them."
"You know -- much better than do the troglodytes of
my generation -- the value of technology to enrich our lives.
But the "information highway" has never tutored
an underprivileged young child, taken meals-on-wheels to
an infirm senior citizen, transported people with disabilities,
or played ball or watched a movie with an at-risk teenager.
Those experiences enrich your lives too; they fashion your
character, which forms your destiny."
Smith College is
consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts
colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60
other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's
college in the country.
Office of College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174
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