OU graduation speaker University of Oklahoma graduates will hear a familiar voice at commencement Friday night: television broadcaster Katie Couric.
Couric, who is leaving NBC's "The Today Show" to become anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News," has been a star of "The Today Show" since 1991, when most of OU's 2006 graduates were in elementary school.
"For the past three years, students have been asking to have Katie Couric as our commencement speaker," OU President David Boren said.
Couric will be the first female journalist to be sole anchor of a network evening newscast, chosen partly for the huge fan following and younger demographics she'll bring to CBS, said Joe Foote, interim dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at OU.
"She was the right person at the right time," Foote said. "Making an investment like this was a prudent decision for CBS."
She's interviewed many world and national leaders, won six Emmy awards and authored two children's books, he said.
Graduating broadcasting major Mitch Day said Couric is a role model for her profession.
"Couric has been through a great career as a broadcaster, and it would be great to hear her story and thoughts on life after graduation," Day said.
Commencement starts at 7 p.m. Friday at The Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are not required and the event is open to the public.
Most college convocations, when graduates will be honored individually and ceremonially bestowed degrees, will follow on Saturday, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
OU expects to confer about 4,158 bachelor's degrees, 1,672 master's degrees, 188 doctoral degrees and 626 professional degrees.