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Paul Tash, chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board, to speak at Medill convocation

Editor's note: Ndaba Mandela, grandson of former South African president Nelson Mandela, was also scheduled to speak at Medill's convocation. His appearance has been canceled in order for him to remain with his family in South Africa and spend time with his grandfather.

Paul Tash, the newly elected chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board, will serve as the Medill convocation speaker, Dean Brad Hamm announced today.

This year’s ceremonies will be held Saturday, June 22, at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston. The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and the graduate ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.

"We are honored to welcome Paul to Medill," Hamm said. "Paul is well-respected for the highest quality of journalism and his leadership within an innovative business model for the training institute, the newspaper and online media."

Tash is chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times and the Times Publishing Company, and is chairman of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a school for journalists and media leaders, which owns Times Publishing. He also serves on the boards of the Associated Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists. He is a member of the Florida Council of 100, a group of business leaders who advise the state's governor.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth won a Pulitzer last month for a series of editorials on fluoride in drinking water, and its writers Alexandra Zayas and Kelley Benham were finalists in two other categories. The Tampa Bay Times has nine Pulitzers.

“Paul Tash has stood for journalism excellence throughout his career,” said Dr. Karen Dunlap, Ph.D., president of The Poynter Institute. “As a student journalist, from intern to CEO at the Tampa Bay Times, as chair of the Pulitzer Prize board and of the Poynter Institute, he employs wise thoughts and energy in the interest of quality journalism.”

A native of South Bend, Ind., Tash was a Marshall Scholar at Edinburgh University in Scotland, before beginning his 35-year career with the Times as a local news reporter. He also has covered Florida state government and served as city editor, metropolitan editor, Washington bureau chief and editor of the Times. He also has served as editor and publisher of Florida Trend, a statewide business magazine owned by Times Publishing.

Brad Stewart (BSJ13), a journalism/political science double major, is the 2013 Medill convocation undergraduate student speaker. Stewart was executive vice president of Northwestern’s Associated Student Government (ASG) and president of his fraternity. He also served on the Interfraternity Council's executive board, as a peer adviser, as a campus tour guide and on the 2012 Homecoming Court.

Rafael Bernal (MSJ13) will be speaking on behalf of the graduate journalism class. Bernal graduated in Dec. 2012 with a concentration in Videography/Broadcast. After participating in Medill's Washington D.C. program, he was soon hired as the editor of United Press International's blog.

The Medill convocation will be available for viewing via livestream on June 22 starting at 9:45 a.m. CDT at www.medill.northwestern.edu.