Journalist Tom Brokaw to lead 2018 Imagine initiative to focus on power of telling Nashville’s story

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Lipscomb University's Imagine 2018 is set to feature distinguished journalist and author Tom Brokaw on April 17.

Brokaw_300Through Imagine 2018, the Lipscomb community will examine the power of telling Nashville’s story and will kick-off the year-long initiative with one of the nation’s most respected storytellers at the event.

“Nashville has distinguished itself as one of the most popular destinations in America,” said John Lowry, senior vice president for advancement. “Population growth is unprecedented. Tourism is at an all-time high. The engine of economic prosperity is operating in high gear. What better time to have a conversation of significance about the power of storytelling — telling Lipscomb’s and Nashville’s story — with someone who has been a leader at shaping and telling stories for nearly 50 years?”

Brokaw spent his entire journalism career with NBC News beginning in 1966 in the Los Angeles bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan's first run for public office, the rise of the Sixties counter culture, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign among other significant events in the nation’s history. 

From Los Angeles, Brokaw went to Washington, D.C., as the White House correspondent during Watergate and as the principal back up for John Chancellor as anchor of NBC Nightly News. He then was part of the Today team in New York before being appointed anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. He took over Meet the Press for the 2008 presidential campaign following the death of close friend and colleague Tim Russert, who had hosted the show. 

In addition to his daily news gathering responsibilities, Brokaw reported on more than 30 documentaries covering subjects ranging from AIDS, Los Angeles gangs, race, education, medicine, immigration and global warming. He has an impressive list of firsts, including the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev; the first network report on human rights abuses in Tibet accompanied by an exclusive interview with the Dali Lama; and the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin wall came down among others. Brokaw 1

In 1998, Brokaw published his first book, The Greatest Generation, a New York Times bestseller that focuses on the World War II generation. He followed that with five other books, including BOOM! Voices Of The Sixties and The Time Of Our Lives. He is also a popular essayist for publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone and a wide assortment of other periodicals and newspapers. Brokaw has won every major award in journalism, including the Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, Emmy Awards and lifetime achievement recognition. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Brokaw the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Brokaw's latest book is A Lucky Life Interrupted (Random House, 2015). In this powerful memoir of a year of dramatic change, Brokaw chronicles a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on his long, lucky life.

Lowry said the planning team searched nationally for a speaker whose story reflected the key areas to be examined in 2018. In 2016, Lipscomb launched its Imagine initiative to convene conversations of significance that bring leaders from around the world to Nashville to engage the community in topics of local and global importance and to share their stories and unique perspectives. President George W. Bush was the featured guest in February 2016 for the inaugural Imagine convening. At last year’s event, Magic and Cookie Johnson led a discussion of “Nashville” Prosperity for All Corners of the City,” through which the Lipscomb community will begin to examine the ideas of faith, redemption, entrepreneurship and community transformation.

Following each Imagine event, Lipscomb officials launched a series of discussions and working group conversations bringing community leaders together to examine critical issues and to develop solutions to impact communities in Nashville. The work culminates with a published report of recommendations produced by Imagine participants.

Imagine 2018 is a by-invitation-only event for Lipscomb Associates, donors of $1,000 or more annually. To become an associate visit or contact Debbie Haislip at or 615.966.6220.

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