Chris Jansing Inspires
the Class of 2011
Otterbein University alumna and MSNBC news anchor Chris Jansing, a 1978 graduate of Otterbein, addressed over 450 members of the class of 2011 at the commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 12 (video). President Kathy Krendl presented Jansing with the honorary degree of doctor of public service.
Jansing also visited with communication students, alumni and invited guests on Saturday evening, for a discussion and an interview with communication student Jayme Detweiler '11 for the student-run television station, WOCC. Jansing praised Detweiler's skills during her commencement address, adding, "All the students I met last night were really impressive."
In her address, Jansing encouraged the Class of 2011 to be open to whatever the future holds. "Even as you walk across this stage to collect your diploma today, there is a life out there that is beyond your wildest imagination, that isn't even on your radar," she said.
To prepare them for the future, she presented a list of her wishes for the Class of 2011.
"I wish for you opportunity. I don't need to remind you that you graduate at a time of great challenges, economic and otherwise. We're in a rapidly changing job market. And yet one simple idea never changes - nothing substitutes for a work ethic and a positive attitude . . . Those qualities will always stand out and increase your value.
"I wish you a sense of adventure because you're going to need it to have that job maybe 10 or 20 or 30 years down the road that doesn't exist now.
"I wish for you something I know that you have had here - true friendship."
While acknowledging the role of technology and social media in modern relationships, even pausing to tweet a picture of the Class of 2011 to her Twitter feed at twitter.com/jansingco, Jansing stressed that "there is nothing that substitutes for a face-to-face conversation."
She then offered up a piece of advice as her next wish. "Few things pay bigger benefits…than a handwritten thank you note. So few people take the time anymore... So I wish for you some good stationery and life and work relationships that are not based mostly on email or text messages or cell phone calls.
"I also wish you failure. There are few lessons more profound than rejection; few events that reveal more about a person and teach us how to persevere." Jansing recounted a visit with some Navy Seals she recently interviewed and said, "Their mantra is 'Failure is not an option.' But they got to that place by learning from every single failure, not making the same mistake twice and…moving on. Wallowing in failure or letting a setback take over gets in the way of your next success.
"And beyond picking yourself up and forging ahead, I wish you…a sense of humor—always, but especially when things go wrong.
"I wish for you the confidence to trust your gut; a little common sense can go a long way.
"I wish you a sense of knowing who you are and to find what you're really meant to do.
"I also wish for you, as I am honored here today, the joy of volunteering. It's a cliché, but it is better to give than to receive. You always get back so much more than you put into it, and just because it's a cliché doesn't mean it isn't true."
Jansing ended her speech by reminding the Class of 2011 of the legacy of Otterbein graduates who went before them, a legacy that they will contribute to one day. "Otterbein graduates have gone on to Congress, the NFL, television and movie careers. One became a national stock-car champion, another one a Fortune 500 CEO, one of them invented the swim noodle. One of them (invented) the disposable gloves that are used in hospitals and doctors offices.
"But there are also countless more that have become teachers and influenced and enriched lives. How many theatre majors have entertained people? And how many volunteers have made their communities better places to live? Look around you and in every chair, in the life of every graduate, is the possibility to do great things, big and small.
"What do you do when your life surpasses your dreams? You find some more. And so for your graduation, I wish you dreams, and especially the chance on this glorious day of achievement to fulfill some that you cannot even imagine."
ABOUT CHRIS JANSING:
Chris Jansing is an MSNBC anchor and host of Jansing and Co., which airs weekdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on MSNBC. She also serves as a correspondent for Dateline NBC and as a substitute anchor for Weekend Today and the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News.
Jansing joined NBC News in June 1998 as an NBC News correspondent and MSNBC anchor. She covered the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as the events unfolded. She also reported on the Pope's March 2000 pilgrimage to the Holy Land live from Jerusalem and the 2000 Election from Tallahassee, FL.
Before joining the NBC News team, Jansing co-anchored the nightly news for WNYT-TV Albany, where she started as a general assignment reporter in 1981. While there, she was honored with numerous awards for excellence in journalism, including an Emmy for her coverage of the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta, and a Best Documentary award from the New York State Broadcasters Association for In The Land of Plenty, a report on hunger in New York state. She has also received many community service awards for her commitment to children. From 1980 to 1981, Jansing was a radio anchor and reporter for WTRY-AM in Schenectady. Prior to that, she was an anchor for WOKO-AM in Albany and WIPS-AM in Ticonderoga, NY.