Lisa Ling to address class of ’08

By on February 20, 2008

Students and staff at Quinnipiac are hoping for inspirational words from TV personality Lisa Ling when she speaks in May at the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony.

“Our time on Earth is so random. Try to accomplish things you have always dreamt of while you can. I know it sounds cliché, but the biggest lesson I have learned is that life is precious; enjoy it while it lasts, ” Ling said to Psychology Today magazine.

Some students are excited for her appearance.

“I think it’s pretty cool that Quinnipiac got someone so famous to come speak,” senior public relations major Dana Bizzaro said. “I used to watch her on ‘The View’ all the time and it’s great to have someone with such strong views come and share them with us,”

Senior media studies major Jared Zeidman does not share the same enthusiasm.

“Lisa Ling is an interesting pick for a speaker to just come talk, but a commencement speaker is supposed to motivate me for my future,” Zeidman said. “The people that do commencements are supposed to be legends, and I don’t view her as a legend.”

Ling has a rather impressive background. According to the National Geographic Web site the 34-year-old Ling is a special correspondent for the National Geographic Channel and the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”

For Oprah, Ling has been sent to cover the Lord’s Resistance Army and the crisis of AIDS orphans in Uganda, bride burning in India and gang-rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ling was the first woman host of National Geographic’s Emmy award-winning flagship series “Explorer,” where she investigated the increasingly deadly drug war in Colombia, examined the complex issues surrounding China’s one-child policy and explored the phenomenon of female suicide bombers in Chechnya and Israel’s occupied territories. She also examined the hidden and dangerous culture inside American prisons and the street gang MS-13.

Early on, Ling was known for revealing her “view” of the world to millions of Americans as co-host of Barbara Walters’ hit daytime talk show show, “The View”. While she was a member of the cast, “The View” won its first Daytime Emmy.

Ling got her start in television at age 16 when the Northern California native auditioned for and was chosen to be one of four hosts of “Scratch,” a nationally syndicated teen magazine show based out of Sacramento. By the time she was 18, Ling had moved on to become one of the youngest reporters for Channel One News, the network seen in schools across the country.

Ling is also a contributing editor for USA Weekend magazine and has produced eight documentaries for PBS. She also ran in and completed the Boston Marathon in 2001 and raised money for pediatric cancer and the Ali & Dad’s Army Foundation.

Ling has a diverse background but might be more inspirational to certain students.

“I am definitely excited to hear what she has to say but I am also a communications major, and I definitely think that she will offer more guidance to me and other communications students than to other majors,” senior media production major Brittany Severino said.

One thing that really seemed to stick with students was the fact that Ling attended the University of Southern California, but dropped out during her junior year.

“I wasn’t sure who she was so I looked her up online, and it looked like she did some really awesome stuff, but we are graduating college, which is something that she never did,” senior education major Kathlyn Johnson said, “When I read that, it really made me think, how is she going to give us advice for the future when she has never actually been in our position?”

Senior psychology major Jenn Faubert doesn’t mind about Ling’s college experience.

“I don’t think it really matters that she didn’t finish college,” she said. “After all, she is here to talk to us about the rest of our lives, because our lives as college students are over, and she is certainly qualified to do that. I think she will be a fine speaker, even if she just shares her experiences with us, it will be interesting.”

The commencement will be held on the University Quadrangle on May 18, 2008 at 11 a.m.


About Alyson McDermott