‘Do what you love,’ journalist says. Nearly 500 students receive diplomas at the arena on Sunday.

Last updated: May 19. 2013 11:34PM - 2665 Views

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WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Guest speaker Anne Thompson, NBC News chief environmental affairs correspondent, told members of the King’s College Class of 2013 to follow their passion in life during the school’s 64th annual commencement Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Thompson also was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from the college during the graduation ceremonies for the nearly 500 students.

In her address, Thompson told the graduates, “Do what you love, because in the real world there is no substitute for passion.”

The award-winning journalist told them to expect setbacks and disappointments but to learn from it.

“Most lives zigzag like a water park,” she said.

“They are not without failure. Failure makes you better,” she pointed out, recalling her own struggles early in her career.

Thompson urged the class to have faith in themselves as they pursue new lives.

“Believe in what you do,” she said. “You are our future — make it great.”

Thompson has been with NBC News since 1997. Among the many highlights of her career, in 2010, she led the coverage of the Gulf oil spill and fire. She won the Gerald Leob Award and was part of the Nightly News team that won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award in 2006 for Hurricane Katrina coverage. She also was honored with a Leob award for distinguished business and financial journalism for a series of reports on the jobless economic recovery.

In his speech, Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera quoted words of King’s College’s founding president, the Rev. James Connerton: “King’s teaches students not only how to make a living, but how to live.”

Bambera told the graduates to remember the values set by the Congregation of Holy Cross when the school was formed in 1946.

“Whatever path in life you pursue, always look beyond yourself, and serve your brothers and sisters generously,” Bambera said. “In doing so, your life will be a success and filled with purpose and meaning.”

While sharing college memories during his salutation remarks, Class President Ian Oakley jokingly threatened to sing a song titled “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney. “It’s about learning to be thankful for everything you have, because in a blink it’s gone.”

Oakley said the Class of 2013 shared a lot of adventures together from being evacuated during Tropical Storm Lee, breaking in the new gymnasium and moving into off-campus housing. “We had to clean our own bathrooms and kitchens and found out that electricity and water are not free.” Pausing a moment to look across the sea of smiling faces, Oakley added: “People often say that your college years are the best. If these are the best years of my life, then I’m one lucky kid.”

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