Tom Brokaw, a 50-year veteran of television news, announced yesterday that he will donate his papers and memorabilia to the University of Iowa Library.
“I spent one year there and I had a double major: beer and coeds,” Brokaw said of his time at the university during an interview segment on the NBC Today Show.
Brokaw attended the university for his freshman year from 1958-59. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1964, but has remained a donor and supporter of the UI. He received the UI Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996 and an honorary degree in 2010. He became the co-anchor of the Today Show in 1976 and anchored NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004.
He said the idea to donate his memorabilia came from the university libraries, which he praised as being world-class. At first he said he wondered if he had “enough important stuff.”
“Then I started going through my material and, my God, I was absolutely astonished by how much I had and how important it was,” he said.
The camera panned over some of his memorabilia, including pictures of Brokaw with Nancy Reagan and with Nelson Mandela, pieces from his coverage of people tearing down the Berlin Wall, which he called the “highlight of my career in so many ways,” and a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio.
The segment also included a brief discussion of the recent election outcomes and the public reactions to the selection of Donald Trump.
“Yesterday when I saw those young people weeping, I thought to myself, ‘I hope they stay in the hunt.’ I hope that they say that, ‘Political and public service is very important to me,'” Brokaw said. “We went through this a lot in 1968 when Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey and a lot of people were giving up on the system, but they’ve got to stay in it if you’re going to change it.”
Brokaw will be in Iowa City for a speaking engagement with the Hoover Presidential Foundation this weekend, Nov. 12–13.