'60 Minutes' correspondent Steve Kroft gives advice to Ball State University graduates

May 7th, 2011

’60 Minutes’ correspondent Steve Kroft gives advice to Ball State University graduates

The Kokomo native spoke to the grads just days after talking to President Obama about the killing of Osama bin Laden
10:43 PM, May. 7, 2011 |
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MUNCIE — The announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s death Sunday night almost prevented 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft from delivering Ball State University’s spring commencement speech.

On Wednesday, Kroft conducted the first interview with President Barack Obama since bin Laden was shot and killed by American Navy Seals in Pakistan. That interview with the president continued Thursday morning.

Speaking to a crowd of about 2,900 students and their friends and family, Kroft hinted that BSU alum and CBS colleague David Letterman helped with last-minute travel arrangements allowing Kroft to keep his appointment as the featured speaker at Saturday’s graduation ceremony at Worthen Arena.

“You’ve got some people here who have done well enough to have their own private jet,” he said. “I know I’m thankful of it. Not just the ones in Indiana, but also that other guy with CBS in New York that has his name on all these buildings here.”

Kroft, a Kokomo native, first talked of his “tumultuous and exciting week,” but later shifted his focus to telling graduates how he left his modest Indiana surroundings to find himself traveling the world doing what he loves.

“If you see an opportunity, pursue it. If you have a great idea, pursue it,” Kroft said. “Become involved. Be creative. Stay informed, and get ready, because before you know it, you’re going to be running the place.”

Kroft, who was given an honorary doctorate in human letters, was one of two distinguished honorees at the ceremony. The other was Kent C. “Oz” Nelson, associate of U.S. presidents, business titan, philanthropist and 1959 BSU graduate, who was honored with the President’s Medal of Distinction.

Commencement moved inside

The threat of a thunderstorm moving through the area Saturday morning forced BSU officials to move the spring commencement from its usual outdoors location on the Arts Terrace of the quad into the 11,500-seat Worthen Arena.

Tony Proudfoot, Ball State associate vice president for marketing and communications, commended the Ball State facilities staff and those in charge for making the move a “smooth transition.”

“Everything really worked very smoothly,” Proudfoot said. “The facilities crew and everybody it takes to pull off an event for 12,000 or more people really did a great job.”