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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Robin Roberts takes over Tate on Tuesday night

Roberts meets with faculty and students at reception. Courtesy of SMU Tate
Roberts meets with faculty and students at reception. Courtesy of SMU Tate

As 8 p.m. approached on Tuesday night, the McFarlin Auditorium began to fill up with students, staff and Dallas residents all in attendance to see Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” as a part of the sold out Tate Lecture Series at SMU.

Roberts was introduced to the stage by R. Gerald Turner, President of Southern Methodist University.

“I just want you to get to know me a little bit better than what you see in the mornings,” said Roberts. “I am just a humble little pigtailed girl from Mississippi.”

Roberts talked about her childhood experiences and said the key to her success was her parents. While being the youngest of four children, her parents taught her the fundamentals of her life which included the “three D’s.”

“Determination, Drive, and ‘Da Lord,’” said Roberts. “I am so grateful they instilled that in all four of us.”

Roberts fought a battle with breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2007. Five years later she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Her story triggered a 1,800-percent spike in donors joining the Be The Match registry.

“The day I announced on television that I had cancer, I slept like a baby that night,” said Roberts. “I felt all the prayers and blessings of my well wishers.”

One of the reasons Roberts said she loves to accept opportunities like speaking at the Tate Lecture Series is to say “thank you” for the good messages and prayers at the times she really needed them.

Prior to the lecture, there was a Tate Lecture Reception, dinner and photo opportunity held in the Mack Ballroom which brought together Dallas residents, SMU faculty and SMU Hunt Leadership Scholars.

“After the picture, we had a little extra time and a bunch of us got to talk to her about her job,” said Meredith Carey, Hunt Scholar. “She was super nice and funny and gave us advice about being journalists.”

Roberts continued to talk about her influences and how her job inspires her everyday.

“I like to see what other people are doing and it is very important to stay true to who you are,” said Roberts.

Roberts recalled getting to talk to a sanitation worker who was doing great things with the homeless, and another story where a family had fostered 92 children. She believes it’s important to put a spotlight on people like that.

“I really enjoyed listening to her,” said Parrin Griffin, Mechanical Engineering major and SMU President’s Scholars. “Her authenticity really draws you in, it felt like she was really talking to me as opposed to just giving a lecture.”

Roberts ended the night with a piece of advice to the SMU students in the audience.

“Be the leading lady or the leading man in your own life story, don’t be a supporting actor,” said Roberts. “It’s your life, its your life story, figure out who you want to be and get yourself to that happy ending.”

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