Campus News

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, ESPN executive will address graduates at fall Commencement

Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham, a biographer and journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book about President Andrew Jackson, will deliver the fall undergraduate Commencement address Dec. 16 in Stegeman Coliseum. The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the graduate ceremony to follow at 2:30 p.m. They will be streamed live at

The graduate Commencement will feature UGA alumna Tonya H. Cornileus, vice president of learning and organizational development at ESPN. The student speaker for the undergraduate ceremony will be Caleb Stevens, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in business management from the Terry College of Business.

For the undergraduate ceremony, Commencement candidates are allowed six tickets per student. Tickets are not required for the graduate exercise.

Meacham is the author of two No. 1 New York Times best-sellers, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power and Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. Meacham was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his book American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

“We are honored that Jon Meacham will serve as the University of Georgia’s undergraduate Commencement speaker this December,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “He is an accomplished author whose writing has shed new light on some of the most important and complex figures in our nation’s history. I look forward to welcoming him to campus and hearing his insightful comments to our graduating students.”

A contributing editor of Time magazine, Meacham is a former editor of Newsweek and has ­written for The New York Times and for The Washington Post. He is a distinguished visiting professor of political science at Vanderbilt University and of history at The University of the South, his alma mater. While at Sewanee, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

A former trustee and regent of Sewanee, Meacham, a Fellow of the Society of American Historians, currently serves on the boards of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Andrew Jackson Foundation, the McCallie School and the Harpeth Hall School.

Cornileus serves as an integral ­member of the ESPN senior human resources leadership team. She is responsible for the learning, talent management and organizational development strategies for ESPN employees around the world. She also serves as an adviser to senior management at ESPN on all matters pertaining to her field.

Prior to joining ESPN, ­Cornileus served as director of executive development and ­organizational effectiveness for Turner­ ­Broadcasting System Inc. from 2004 to 2009 and vice ­president of training and organizational development for Aegis Communications Group Inc. from 1998 to 2004. She began her career as an educator in various K-12 school systems from 1985 to 1996.

Cornileus earned her doctorate in adult education, human resources and organizational development from UGA in 2010. In 2004, she earned her master’s degree in human resources and organizational development from UGA. She graduated with a ­bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida in 1985. She is a current member of the UGA College of Education Board of Visitors.

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