PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — David S. Rohde, a 1990 Brown University graduate and a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times, will deliver the 2010 Baccalaureate address at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29, in the First Baptist Meeting House.
In his address, titled “Our God,” Rohde will discuss his experience covering a world of clashing theocracies. Rohde has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, and the Balkans. In November 2008, he and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan, taken to the tribal areas of Pakistan and held captive for seven months. In June 2009, Rohde escaped from captivity.
Because the graduating class will fill the Meeting House to capacity on that Saturday, the Baccalaureate service will be simulcast to the College Green, where family and friends of the graduates may view the proceedings on a large-format video display.
Rohde is the author of Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica, Europe’s Worst Massacre Since World War II (1997) and co-author of the forthcoming A Rope and A Prayer: The Story of a Kidnapping (fall 2010), an account of his capture and seven-month imprisonment by the Taliban and his escape last June.
Rohde has been an investigative reporter for The New York Times since 2005 and served as the newspaper’s South Asia Bureau co-chief from 2002 to 2005. He joined The Times in 1996. He previously worked for The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and ABC News. The five-part series he wrote on his captivity was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and won George Polk, Michael Kelly, ASNE, and Medill awards. In 2009, Rohde was part of an eight-reporter team from The Times that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for its coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 1996 his Christian Science Monitor stories on the execution of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.
Rohde will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.) degree on Rohde and seven other candidates during the University’s Commencement exercises Sunday afternoon on the College Green.
The Baccalaureate Service
The Baccalaureate Service, with roots in medieval academic tradition, honors the achievements of the candidates for the bachelor’s (“bacca”) degree by presenting them with the laurels (“lauri”) of oration. Brown’s baccalaureate tradition derives from the immense range of religious, ethnic, geographic, linguistic, and musical traditions present within the campus community. The ceremony includes rituals, readings, and prayers from Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and animist traditions, as well as choral and instrumental music, the Chinese lion dance, poetry, dance, and Taiko and Senegalese drumming.
The service is conducted in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America, completed in 1775 “for the Publick Worship of Almighty God, and also for holding Commencement in.” Significant portions of the University’s Commencement ceremonies have been held in the church ever since.