Alumni Brokaw and Legvold Return to USD for Public Forum

Photo of Tom Brokaw, David Earnest and Robert Legvold. USD alumni Tom Brokaw and Robert Legvold receive cheers from a packed Aalfs Auditorium crowd.

VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota alumni Tom Brokaw, distinguished journalist, and Russian policy expert Robert Legvold were met by a full capacity crowd for a public forum hosted in Aalfs Auditorium on the USD campus Oct. 18.

The event, sponsored by the USD Department of Political Science, showcased a moderated discussion between Brokaw and Legvold as they answered questions from audience members on a range of topics about the United States’ relationship with Russia. The event was titled “The New Cold War: The United States, Russia and a World of Differences.”

In addition to the public forum, Brokaw and Legvold met with USD students earlier in the day for private small group discussions and took a tour of USD facilities.

“Tom and Bob are among the most distinguished alumni of USD,” said David Earnest, chair of the political science department at USD. “Their return to campus, and their engagement with our students, builds upon the University’s commitment to educating tomorrow’s civic leaders.”

Brokaw, a native of Yankton, South Dakota, is a 1964 graduate of USD. As anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" for 21 years, Brokaw received numerous honors, including the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and he was inducted as a fellow into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His insight, ability and integrity have earned him a dozen Emmys and two Peabody and duPont awards for his journalistic achievements. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from USD awarded in 1980.

Robert H. Legvold is one of the country’s foremost experts in Soviet Union and Russian policy and has published numerous articles and books on the subject. He is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, specializing in the international relations of post-Soviet states. He served as a director of Columbia’s Harriman Institute and also as a director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace-sponsored Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative from 2009-2012. He is a member of various advisory boards, including those of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, the Center for Global Politics at the Freie Universität Berlin, and the Foundation for International Peace and Democracy, led by Mikhail Gorbachev. He is a 1962 graduate of USD, and was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 1989.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News