By CONNOR RYAN and KELLY KULTYS
Richard Engel, the Chief Foreign Correspondent for NBC News, will deliver the keynote address to the Class of 2013 at Fordham’s 168th Commencement on Saturday, May 18, the University announced Monday afternoon.
“Richard Engel is the model of what a commencement speaker should be,” Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University, said in a press release. “He is highly accomplished, engaged with the world’s great events, and well able to convey his experiences and insights to our students, their families, and our faculty. We very much look forward to his address on 18 May.”
Engel has been the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News since he joined the staff in 2003.
His name made headlines last December when he and his production crew were captured and held for five days by soldiers in Syria.
“We weren’t physically beaten or tortured,” Engel said in an interview with Reuters. ”It was a lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed. It was a very traumatic experience.”
Engel began his career as an undergraduate at Stanford University after he graduated in 1996 with a degree in International Relations. He put this degree to use when he left for Cairo, Egypt to become a freelance reporter. He moved around the Middle East from Cairo to Jerusalem to Iraq, as a freelancer for ABC News before he was hired by NBC as a foreign correspondent.
As a correspondent there, he covered the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in 2006. In 2008, Engel conducted a widely publicized interview with former president George W. Bush. Most recently, prior to the kidnapping, Engel was a primary reporter covering the Egyptian revolution and the civil war in Libya in 2011.
Besides working as foreign correspondent, Engel has written two books, A Fist in the Hornet’s Nest and War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq, both of which cover his time in Iraq.
In his relatively short broadcasting career, Engel also has won numerous awards.
He became the first broadcaster to be awarded the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism, for his report entitled “War Zone Diary.” He also won the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for his Baghdad report in 2006. In 2008, Engel received the Peabody Award for his coverage in Afghanistan on the US Army’s Viper Company. Most recently, Engel won the David Bloom Award for Excellence given by the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association for his embedded journalism work in Afghanistan.
Brian Williams, also from NBC, delivered Fordham’s commencement address in 2011.