Wednesday, May 9, 2007

DeFrank, Santos to speak at commencement

Talk about your distinguished speakers: Tom DeFrank '67 speaks to the liberal arts, science, medical and Council of Deans grads at 9 a.m. Friday, and Rolando Santos '78 has the architecture, engineering and George Bush School grads at 2 p.m. Friday.

Santos is CNN's vice president for international relations and DeFrank is Washington bureau chief for the New York Daily News.

Details in Rick Rojas' story for the Batt include why you may not want to play cards against Santos.

Also, DeFrank bears the distinction of having been canned by General Rudder when he was editor of the Batt:

Before a career spanning nearly four decades covering presidents and politics, DeFrank, Class of 1967, was the editor in chief of The Battalion - and a controversial one at that.

After working in various positions for three years, he became the top editor in the fall of 1966. But President Rudder wasn't pleased with his work, because - as DeFrank said - The Battalion did actual journalism, not public relations for the University as Rudder wanted.

"(Rudder) wanted a student newspaper that only reported good news," he said. "Any self-respecting journalist wouldn't do that."

So, Rudder fired him.

"Each year, the censorship and repression got worse," DeFrank said.

Though, he said he understood why Rudder acted the way he did: The University was in the midst of an evolution, and the stalwart president represented a dictatorial generation.

"It was a different time, a different era; it was a time of transition for A&M," DeFrank said. "President Rudder was a great man, but of a different generation."