Award-Winning Journalist and NBC News Anchor Lester Holt to Deliver Villanova University’s 2023 Commencement Address

Holt will be awarded an honorary degree at the May 19 Commencement Ceremony


 Award-Winning Journalist and NBC News Anchor Lester Holt to Deliver Villanova University’s 2023 Commencement Address

VILLANOVA, Pa. (April 26, 2023) – The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President, announced that award-winning journalist and NBC News anchor Lester Holt will address the Class of 2023 as the University’s commencement speaker. Holt will also receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. The University’s 180th commencement will be held Friday, May 19, at 2:30 p.m., in Villanova Stadium. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be held indoors in the Finneran Pavilion.

Note: For the livestream of Commencement, click here.

Holt is an award-winning journalist at NBC News, serving as the anchor and managing editor of the network’s flagship broadcast "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt," which won a 2022 Edward Murrow Award. Additionally, he anchors “Dateline NBC” and was named the “most-trusted television news personality in America” by The Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll. Holt has spent the past four decades in journalism and has reported and anchored breaking news events across the globe.
In 2015, Holt became anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” after anchoring the weekend editions of "NBC Nightly News" for eight years and co-anchoring "Weekend TODAY" for 12 years. Holt has served as principal anchor of "Dateline NBC" since September 2011.

Holt has conducted numerous exclusive and headline-making interviews with world leaders and newsmakers from around the globe. In addition to his many domestic and international journalistic credits, he anchors NBC News’ special primetime election coverage and, in 2020, anchored the network’s weekly special primetime coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Holt also launched “Nightly News: Kids Edition,” a digital newscast aimed at informing and educating children, which he still anchors weekly. While at NBC, Holt has covered every Olympics from the ground since the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He marked his 10th Olympics at the 2020 Tokyo games.

One of Holt’s trademarks is his on-the-ground reporting and his deep commitment to providing viewers with first-person accounts when disaster and tragedy strikes. Over the past few years, he has also distinguished himself as the leading broadcast journalist on criminal justice reform. In 2019, Holt led the Emmy-nominated and groundbreaking series, “Justice for All,” across all NBC News platforms.

Before becoming co-anchor of "Weekend TODAY” in 2003, he anchored "Lester Holt Live," a daily news show on MSNBC. Holt served as a primary anchor for MSNBC's coverage of major news events, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan, and he was the lead daytime anchor for MSNBC's coverage of Decision 2000. Holt started at NBC News in 2000, anchoring “Newsfront.”

Holt has been recognized with numerous honors, including multiple Emmy Awards and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award. Most recently, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2021, he was honored with the prestigious National Press Club Fourth Estate award and the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement award. Two years prior, in 2019, he was honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. In April 2016, Holt received several notable designations: he was featured on TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” list and was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit