CNN Host Michael Smerconish Tells the Class of 2018, ‘Be Good Citizens’
May 19, 2018
When Michael Smerconish addressed Delaware Valley University’s Class of 2018 on Saturday, May 19, he urged the graduates to vote, volunteer and get involved in their communities as citizens.
“Pay attention to public affairs, get out of your bubble and sample a variety of news outlets, be active in your communities, vote, volunteer, take ownership of the country, because it’s your watch now,” said Smerconish. “The fate of the nation is literally in your hands.”
Smerconish, who was born in Doylestown, is currently the host of “The Michael Smerconish Program” on SiriusXM Channel 124 and CNN’s “Smerconish.” He writes a Sunday column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, which is reprinted by newspapers across the nation. Smerconish is also the author of several books, including two New York Times bestsellers.
Smerconish told the graduates about his experience being the first radio host to interview former President Barack Obama live from the White House and other highlights from his career.
With an impressive list of career achievements, Smerconish said his role as an engaged citizen is most important to him. He said the freedoms he enjoys as a U.S. citizen enabled him to have a career as a talk show host and writer and that without those freedoms, he would not be able to cover the stories and topics he discusses.
“If you asked me what qualifies me to be your Commencement speaker, I wouldn’t rattle off my affiliations on radio, television or print,” said Smerconish. “Instead, I would boast of the fact that since I turned 18 in 1980 and registered to vote, I’ve never missed an election for which I’ve been eligible.”
According to Smerconish, “42 percent of Americans don’t believe that their engagement can influence the government very much.” He said there is a national problem of a “lack of participation” and that knowledge of the government is on the decline.
Smerconish spoke of meeting Registrar Emeritus Oskar Larsson ’52, a DelVal alumnus, who shared that students at the University once received a letter grade for citizenship, along with their grades in courses. Civic engagement is still emphasized today at DelVal through Experience360, the University’s experiential learning program.
“In anticipation of today, I’ve spent some time acquainting myself with your curriculum,” said Smerconish. “I was impressed to read about the Experience360 Program. That real-world experience is going to serve all of you well. I was gratified to see that civic engagement is one component of E360.”
DelVal awarded Smerconish an honorary Doctor of Letters at the ceremony for his work to help millions of Americans make sense of a complicated political landscape.