Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb has been through a lot in her career.
The NBC journalist was turned down by countless news stations, only to find a home in 1986 in Greenville, Mississippi, after driving cross country in search of work.
After that Kotb grew through the ranks to become a respected journalist, covering the Iraq war, the Southeast Asian tsunami and the debacle that was Hurricane Katrina. With an impressive resume like that, one would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving commencement speaker, but the student body of Tulane University in New Orleans begs to differ.
Kotb was scheduled to speak at Tulane’s 2016 commencement. Then came the ultimate slap in the face, as a group of Tulane students started an online petition claiming that Kotb was not worthy to speak at their graduation. The case against Kotb was summarized in the petition:
“We all feel cheated. Given the amount of money, work and passion we have poured into our educational careers at Tulane, we think we deserve better than this. Hoda Kotb is hardly an inspirational figure, and despite the fact that she has had a successful career in journalism, we feel that we deserve a more recognizable and more prominent figure than her. Commencement speeches are supposed to inspire students before they are thrown into the real world. Hoda Kotb spends her time sipping wine on talk shows and discussing which dog breed is trendiest in 2016. There’s hardly anything inspirational about that. This is an embarrassment not only to the entire class of 2016, but also to the school as a whole.”
Those are some tough words. The petition has reached only 240 signatures. No word yet if the university or Kotb has responded, but for the seasoned wartime journalist and breast cancer survivor, smart money is on Kotb pulling through this.