CNN anchor shares experience

He has hosted presidential debates, won praise for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and traveled to more than 50 countries, and on Monday night CNN anchor Anderson Cooper made a special visit to the University of Miami for Senior Convocation 2008.

About 2,000 students and other guests attended “A 360-Degree Look at World Events,” hosted at the BankUnited Center and sponsored by Northern Trust Bank.

Cooper was welcomed by Sheldon Anderson, president of the Miami-Dade County Northern Trust Bank, and President Donna E. Shalala, as a “media rock star” and a “storyteller of the 21st century.”

“Anderson takes his obligations as a journalist seriously,” Shalala said. “He asks hard questions, and gives honest answers.”

Cooper, 40, kept the lecture lighthearted and conversational for the most part while discussing his beginnings, his hardships and his memorable stories. He said that he was always supported by his mother, famed actress, artist and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, whom he described as “remarkable,” but “not practical.”

“When I asked my mom for advice [before an interview]she told me to wear vertical stripes because they were slimming,” Cooper joked.

Cooper also told the story of his first war zone coverage. Leaving high school early to explore southern Africa, Cooper eventually snuck into the jungles of Burma where he was using a fake press pass that a friend made on a computer. Cooper said places such as Burma, Somalia and Sarajevo exposed “the dark parts of the human heart where all is open for everyone to see.”

During his 15 years of experience, Cooper said that the biggest lesson he has learned is that “the line between the living and the dead, [and]the rich and the poor is as thin as the walls of the human heart.”

Before the lecture, Cooper spoke with various members of student media and said that public speaking isn’t something he does often, but when he does, he usually goes to college campuses.

“I really like the exchange with young people,” Cooper said. “I try to make [the lectures]conversational with the question and answer sessions.”

The “young people” in the audience seemed to enjoy the exchange as well – after the lecture at least 20 students waited in line to ask questions ranging from coverage of Cuba to the 2008 election.

Cyrus Girson, a senior studying finance, said that Cooper’s speech made it easy for students to relate to him.

“He actually had a personality,” Girson said. “He talked like a kid; one of us. He wasn’t some boring news anchor.”

Anthony Minerva may be contacted at

April 17, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.