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@Knox: GraduationSpeech-dot-Lamb
C-SPAN Founder snaps back at students
June 07, 2000

C-SPAN chief Brian Lamb turned the focus from himself to the graduating seniors and a retiring faculty member at Knox College, in his remarks at Knox's 2000 commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 3.

Brian Lamb"There's something that we have to do together," Lamb said as he started to speak, pulling out a pocket-sized camera and taking several snapshots of the crowd that included the 260-member graduating class, their families, friends and guests.

"I knew that I'd have a hard time getting a copy of this picture to each one of you here today, so I've made a deal. I've established a web site, and if you go there on Wednesday this picture and others will be there, just for you."

"What we all want in life..."
Lamb also acknowledged athletic director Harley Knosher, retiring this year after four decades at Knox. Lamb said he heard about Knosher from four graduating seniors with whom he spoke -- Nikki Chambers, Todd Lanser, Andrew Mauck, and Mary Moravek.

Brian Lamb and Harley Knosher"I spent a lot of time talking on the phone [with the students, so I could] get a sense... of what it is about this place that they like," Lamb said. "And I think it can be summed up in two words -- an individual who represents what we all want in life... This is his last year [at Knox]... You all know him far better than I will ever know him -- Harley Knosher."

"This is a bit unusual, because I've never met him, and I want to meet him," Lamb said, interrupting his remarks and calling Knosher to the podium.

"Let me tell you why I wanted to [recognize Harley Knosher]," Lamb continued. "I look back on my life and think of all the things that made a difference... I want you to remember one thing, and that word is commitment."

"Everybody that I've talked to -- from President Rich Millman, to the trustees, to the students -- have all talked about Harley Knosher as someone first and foremost who was committed."

Politics in Action
"In my own life, people have said 'How in the world did you get involved in what you're doing, why did it succeed?' And it turns out that it's commitment." When Lamb started C-SPAN, he said, people told him, "Nobody wants to watch those politicians in Washington..." C-SPAN's success took Lamb's commitment to a belief that Americans in fact did want to watch politics in action -- "a lot of Americans, and a lot of people from other countries," he said.

"You were committed to getting your degree today, and here you are. It worked. But this is just the beginning, and the rest is a lot harder. People who succeed in life never tell you how many times they've failed. You're going to have to go from door to door, from situation to situation, to get what you want. There's no way in the world that you're going to have a straight shot."

"You've had an absolutely spectacular place to go to school. Could this day be more beautiful? Your parents are here, your family, your friends. It's never going to be more beautiful than this. So as you go from here -- stop worrying about what other people think."

"I only want you to remember these things," Lamb concluded. "That your picture will be on [my web site]. And I want you to remember that for the rest of your life, if you can demonstrate that you're committed -- 102% committed -- to whatever you want to do, you've got a fair shot at succeeding."

Honorary Degrees and Awards
President Richard Millman presented Lamb with an honorary doctorate, in recognition of his contributions to news and public affairs reporting. Knox also awarded honorary doctorates to philanthropist Andrew McKenna, Jr.; conservationist Victoria Post Ranney; and historian Cullom Davis.

Alumni Achievement Awards were presented by Debra Banks, chair of the Knox College Alumni Association, to theatre designer Richard Hoover, surgeon Paul Black, and author Richard Kiraly.

Also at the ceremony, the Caterpillar Faculty Achievement Award was presented to Isabel Livosky, professor of modern languages. The award, given annually to a member of the Knox faculty for outstanding achievement in teaching and research, is supported by a gift from the Caterpillar Foundation of Peoria.


Peter Bailley
309 341 7337