Oprah: Innovation the future for Newhouse studio

The "Queen of All Media" helped dedicate the new Dick Clark Studios and Alan Gerry Center For Media Innovation.

A woman who needs no introduction – Oprah Winfrey, the “Queen of all Media,” came to Syracuse University and dedicated the Dick Clark Studios and Alan Gerry Center For Media Innovation today.

During her speech in the Goldstein Auditorium, Oprah reigned supreme. Shaking hands, acknowledging the screaming and swooning students with a wave, and taking selfies, she commanded the crowd.

Photo: Katy Beals
Oprah Winfrey eagerly greets students, faculty, press and other guests at the dedication of the Dick Clark Studios and Alan Gerry Center For Media Innovation.

“I picked out two orange dresses for today, but left them in a hotel room in NYC,” Oprah said, pointing to the blue dress she wore. “I was worried, ‘Will they accept me without the orange?”

A roar of audience cheers and applause forgave the faux pas.

Oprah thanked the Newhouse family, the Clark and Gerry families and the Newhouse Network during her speech.

“What they do, investing in the future of others, is what we are all supposed to do,” she said, "use what we have been given to impact others.”

Oprah spoke about her start in the industry and the importance of preparation when an opportunity arises. She stressed embracing the environments that offer the tools for honing a craft – environments like Newhouse.

She also urged students to use their time at Newhouse to create a vision for themselves.

“Being able to know who you are is the best gift,” Oprah said. “Have a sense of vision, sense of purpose, sense of passion, and sense of love.”

Professor Michael Schoonmaker spoke of that same sentiment in making the vision of Newhouse a lasting one.

“How do we surpass ‘just new’? How do we make it timeless?” he asked. “The answer: Dick Clark.”

As for the studio's look, Professor Dan Pacheco, the Newhouse Chair in Journalism Innovation, described it as “the top deck of the Starship Enterprise.”

With remarks form Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham and Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud to round out the dedication, the program remembered Dick Clark and looked toward the future of journalism.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony following the dedication, Oprah and the Newhouse faculty shared the celebration with hundreds of students, faculty and Syracuse. The sidewalks spilled over into the Sheraton Hotel parking garage as people waited for Oprah and the building's opening.

Nate Giammichele, a television, radio and film sophomore, said he waited outside Newhouse 2 for nearly four hours to take in the ceremony. He said he wasn’t disappointed about not getting a ticket to the luncheon.

“This is the real dedication,” he said, regarding the ribbon cutting. “It’s not just about Oprah, it’s also about Newhouse.”

Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham welcomed Kari Clark and Alan Gerry, who talked about what the school means to their familes. Donald Newhouse also spoke about the legacy of his father and the founding of the Newhouse school.

Two Newhouse students then marked the end of the event by bringing the ribbon to the stage, and Oprah made a final address to the students in the crowd.

“What matters now that you have received this extraordinary gift,” Oprah said, “is that you match the gift with your excellence.”

“Thank you Syracuse,” she yelled. “Thank you Newhouse family. Thank you Alan Gerry. Thank you Kari Clark.”

Newhouse 2 Virtual Tour

Check out a video virtual tour of the new Newhouse 2 filmed with Google Glass, plus the social media frenzy of dedication day.

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