UW Bothell makes 2014 list of best graduation speakers

Published: August 4, 2014

ABC’s John Quiñones delivered the keynote address at UW Bothell’s 23rd Annual Commencement. He captured the hearts of the graduates, as well as their families and friends. Quiñones also captured a spot on a national list of the best commencement speakers of the season.

During his speech, Quiñones urged graduates to push past socio-economic barriers, be successful despite the naysayers, and do something when they see an injustice. Many of them could identify with the message. Nearly half of UW Bothell’s students are first-generation students, more than 40 percent are students of color from diverse backgrounds, and more than half of all undergraduates receive financial aid.

Quiñones credits his parents for helping him understand the importance of education and supporting him through adversity. He recounted stories of his family caravanning north from Texas to Michigan to pick cherries and tomatoes for as little as 75-cents a bucket, and his father telling him that that could be his future without an education.

In high school, Quiñones was told he should choose a trade over college. Upon graduating from college, he was told he had a great voice for radio, but would never make it in television. Quiñones proved everyone wrong. He is the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC’s Primetime and has been with the network nearly 30 years. He is the sole anchor of the Primetime series What Would You Do?, one of the highest rated newsmagazine franchises in recent years.

After overcoming barrier after barrier, Quiñones was able to stand before the UW Bothell graduating class of 2014 and tell the 1,600 students that they too have to stay strong and believe in themselves, even when no one else will.