Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and human rights advocate Ronan Farrow told graduating students to stay strong and brave enough to make the right choices in life at Loyola Marymount University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday.
“You will face a moment in your career where you have absolutely no idea what to do,” said Farrow, chronicling his own uncertainties while chasing an important new story. “Where it will be totally unclear to you what the right thing is for you, for your family, for your community. I hope in that moment, you’ll be generous to yourself, and trust that inner voice. Because more than ever we need people to be guided by their own senses of principle — and not the whims of a culture that prizes ambition, and sensationalism, and celebrity, and vulgarity, and doing whatever it takes to win.”
Farrow may be best known as an investigative reporter for NBC News, and his reporting on human rights and foreign policy has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other publications. More recently, his game-changing work in The New Yorker about former film producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual abuse shared the Pulitzer for Public Service this year and helped spark the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
A Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale Law School, Farrow is also a former diplomat who worked for the State Department in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2008, he was awarded the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award by Refugees International, for “extraordinary service to refugees and displaced people.”
“If enough of you listen to that voice, if enough of you prove that this generation isn’t going to make the some old mistakes as the one before, then doing the right thing won’t seem as rare, or as hard, or as special,” he said.
In addition to his speech, Farrow was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University for his lifelong commitment to social justice.
More than 1,300 bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees were conferred at the ceremony.
Farrow’s full speech is below.