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David Gregory, BA/SIS ’92, talks Meet the Press, time at AU

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David Gregory (Photo: Jeff Watts)

David Gregory (Photo: Jeff Watts)

When speaking with current students at American University, David Gregory urges them to keep an open mind regarding their college experiences. “I tell them that their time here is an open book, to have fun with friends, learn new things…it’s kind of like the idea of floating – let the current take you. AU took me in different directions and helped to inspire all kinds of interests that influence my work and life today.” Interesting words from a man who happily concedes that he has always known what he wanted to do with his life.

From a young age, Gregory was drawn to news, and from his first internship – at KGUN-TV in Tucson, Arizona, following his freshman year – to his current role as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, he has never looked back. Moving across the country from his hometown of Los Angeles to attend AU, Gregory placed himself in the country’s political and media nexus, and combined his love of news with a top-notch educational experience in the School of International Service.

In addition to high-quality classroom experiences, the proximity of AU’s campus to downtown D.C., and to the Capitol, meant that Gregory had clear opportunities to meet journalists and newsmakers. He remembers one of his first interviews, which was during his freshman year and with Lee Atwater, former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Gregory recalls Atwater exclaiming during the interview, “Can’t you just see this kid, in 15 years, in broadcast news?!”

Gregory especially enjoys his current role at Meet the Press because it enables him to ask thoughtful questions and probe guests to go beyond the basics. Different from the frenetic pace of the 24-hour news cycle, Gregory views Meet the Press as an opportunity for the public to gain greater insights into some of the nation’s most important questions. His favorite guests? “People who are straight talkers. People who will take on the premise of the question,” he says, remarking that any guest’s willingness to really engage can create a spirited exchange and, ultimately, reveal important truths.

At the heart of his work is Gregory’s dedication to the honest answer, lived out each and every Sunday morning as Gregory asks discerning questions and strives for accountability. “News captures a lot of great things,” says Gregory, “and I actually do a lot of listening in the course of an interview. The tough question – the follow-up question – that is what it is about for me.”

A dedicated family man, Gregory also revels time to listen to and follow up with the most important people in his life – his wife of eleven years and their three children – at home in Northwest Washington.

David Gregory will be on campus on October 22, 2011, to receive the 2011 Alumni Achievement Award. The ceremony will be held as a part of All-American Weekend: A Celebration for Alumni and Families.