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Vieira shares her view at Wilson

May 16, 1999

Meredith VieiraBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photos: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The co-host of a network talk show and mother of three, Meredith Vieira told Wilson College graduates Sunday the worst advice she ever heard: "Go for it. You can have it all."

"No, you cannot have it all, but you can drive yourself crazy trying," said Vieira, who appears five days a week on ABC's "The View."

"Please come up with a new slogan for your generation of women," she said to the 138 students receiving bachelor's and associate's degrees from the Wilson's College for Women and College for Continuing Education.

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Vieira received an honorary doctorate Sunday and was the keynote speaker at the 129th annual commencement. She told the graduates she wouldn't give them the standard platitudes of commencement addresses and good-naturedly kept the promise.

Vieira told the graduates they won't be getting much respect during their initial forays into the workplace, where older colleagues won't care want to hear their opinions.

Grads"If you still have smooth skin and look good in a bathing suit, you're annoying to us old people," she said. Vieira advised them that hard work and "a little humility" will take them a long way.

During her 24-year career in journalism, she has earned numerous awards, including five Emmys. She has been co-host "CBS Morning News" and a correspondent on that network's "60 Minutes" and "West 57th" news magazines programs.

"Then I decided to get off that fast track," she said. "I went from being someone to a has-been," she said about her decision to leave "60 Minutes" to devote more time to her family.

"A woman of success is not what counts. ... A woman of substance is what counts," Vieira told the graduates.

Vieira also dispensed the best advice she ever got, which came from her father after she'd been fired from her first television job in Providence, R.I.

"Do you believe in yourself?" he asked. When she said yes, he told her, "Then why do you care what anyone else thinks?"

"Now seize the day," Vieira said. "Come on. It's a commencement speech. You know I had to say something trite and stupid."

Students seemed to like Vieira's light-hearted approach.

"She was good. Not some fuddy-duddy that would have bored us," said Kelly Lynn Tracey, 22, of Hagerstown, Md. She had just received her bachelor of science degree in veterinary medical technology.

Wilson College also bestowed an honorary degree on Richard Cartwright Austin, an environmentalist and theologian who helped push for national strip-mining legislation in the 1970s.

Priscilla Tweed Van Looy, a longtime supporter of the college, was also presented with an honorary degree.

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