CNN Anchor Jake Tapper to Address Graduates at UMass Amherst Commencement on May 11

Jake Tapper
Jake Tapper

AMHERST, Mass. – CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper will be the featured speaker at the Undergraduate Commencement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday, May 11 at 4:30 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Tapper, who joined CNN in 2013, currently hosts a one-hour weekday program, “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” which debuted in March 2013, and has hosted CNN’s Sunday morning show, “State of the Union,” since June 2015.

Tapper imparts his political expertise on “State of the Union” by conducting interviews with top newsmakers on politics and policy, covering Washington, the country and the world. “The Lead” covers headlines from around the country and the globe with topics ranging from breaking news in politics and world events, to politics, money, sports and popular culture. Most recently, Tapper moderated a town hall discussion in the wake of the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Tapper lent his political expertise to CNN’s 2016 election coverage and moderated two presidential primary debates. On election night, Tapper played a lead role in the network’s coverage of the race and provided analysis on projections throughout the evening.

“We live in an era when press freedom is increasingly under attack,” says UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “Jake Tapper’s steadfast commitment to fact-based debate and responsible journalism in our tumult-filled times has rightly earned him widespread praise and respect. I know our graduating class will be keenly interested in his insights about the changing nature of the media and the American political and cultural landscape.”

Tapper has been a widely respected reporter in the nation’s capital for more than 15 years. His reporting on the 2016 election was recognized with a number of awards, including a 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, the Los Angeles Press Club’s Presidents Award for Impact on Media, and the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Tribute to Exemplary Journalism. Tapper has also earned the coveted Merriman Smith Award for presidential coverage from the White House Correspondents’ Association an unprecedented three consecutive times.

In addition to his reporting, Tapper has also authored three books, including “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor,” published in 2012, “Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency,” which was published in 2001, and “Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Story,” which was published in 1999. His most recent book, “The Outpost,” debuted in the top 10 on the New York Times bestseller list. Tapper’s book and his reporting on the veterans and troops were cited when the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awarded him the Tex McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism. Tapper is currently working on his debut novel, “The Hellfire Club,” slated to publish in late April.

Tapper joined CNN from ABC News, where he served as senior White House correspondent, a position he was named to immediately following the 2008 presidential election. He also played a key role in ABC News’ Emmy award-winning coverage of the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama and its Murrow Award-winning coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden.

In his more than nine years at ABC News, Tapper covered a wide range of stories, visiting remote corners of Afghanistan, covering the war in Iraq from Baghdad and spending time in New Orleans to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the levee system. In 2008, he served as a lead political reporter for the coverage of the presidential election.

Prior to joining ABC News, Tapper served as Washington correspondent, then national correspondent, for He began his journalism career at the Washington City Paper and his reporting has been published in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Weekly Standard, among others. He has drawn caricatures and illustrations for the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and his comic strip “Capitol Hell” appeared in Roll Call from 1994 to 2003. In 2001, he hosted the CNN show Take 5, a weekend program that featured young journalists talking about politics and pop culture.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1991 and lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, daughter and son.