Tom Brokaw graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1964. Though he traveled the world as the anchor of the NBC Nightly News, he always came back to his alma mater.
As a student at the University of South Dakota, Tom Brokaw can remember watching the Dakota Days parade, but didn't dream of ever leading it. Tom Brokaw, USD Alumnus said, "I did have kind of a checkered career here. I did make a recovery."
Brokaw admits spending more time at "The Varsity" bar downtown, than at the library, in his first year on campus. Tom Brokaw, USD Alumnus said, "A lot of my friends look at me and say, 'He gets to come back as the marshal?'"
Brokaw credits two people with putting his life back on the "straight and narrow". His future wife, Meredith Auld, and William "Doc" Farber, the head of the political science department at USD. His statue still stands on campus, today. Tom Brokaw, USD Alumnus said, "He said, "Go get it out of your system. Get outta here for a while." And, Brokaw said, Farber didn't mince words. Tom Brokaw, USD Alumnus said, "At one point said, 'I don't want to hear from you again. Don't show your face because you're going nowhere.' That was a big turnaround moment for me."
And, turn around Brokaw did. Just a few years later, he landed a his first full-time job at KMTV in Omaha... with a little help from "Doc". Tom Brokaw, USD Alumnus said, "I had the inkling of a job in Omaha. Farber said to me, 'We're going to Omaha. You can drive my car, but I'm going with you.' He went to the Joselyn Museum, and I went and interviewed for the job. When I got back in the car with him, I said ' I got it.' That's the kind of guy he was.
From Nebraska... to the NBC Nightly News. Brokaw says he couldn't have gotten there without the start he got, here. Tom Brokaw, USD Alumnus said, "That was really the launching pad for my interest in doing political reporting. And, wanting to see the world."
Brokaw legacy lives on at USD. In 2010, he, and wife Meredith, pledged $100,000 for a scholarship program at the school. Those who are graduates of a South Dakota high school, and enroll in U-S-D's College of Arts and Sciences or the School of Education, are eligible.
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