© 2021 WRVO Public Media
Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Oprah Winfrey cuts ribbon on SU's Newhouse 2 building

Ellen Abbott
Oprah Winfrey was on hand to cut the ribbon to SU's Newhouse 2 building, which will house the school's journalism program.

Syracuse University showed off an $18 million renovation of the Newhouse 2 building on campus with arguably one of the most successful television personalities in the country cutting the ribbon.

"Let the new generation of innovation come forth," said long-time talk show host Oprah Winfrey to those standing beside her. "One, two, three. Cut!"

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO
A glance inside the renovated Newhouse 2 school.

Winfrey was among the dignitaries slicing the ribbon to open the state-of-the art Newhouse 2 School; home of the department’s broadcast journalism department. Built in 1974, it’s now updated with the latest in broadcast and communication technology, including the Dick Clark Studios and the Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation.  

Winfrey spoke to the students in the audience.

"You are so lucky," Winfrey explained. "Do you even know how lucky you are? I’m going to tell you how lucky you are. My definition of luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity. There is no luck unless you’re prepared."

Winfrey told students that these kinds of facilities will help them learn their craft.

“I think the world is in great need of knowing the truth and being able to discern what is the truth," Winfrey explained. "And I think that you all are the ones to prepare them to hear it.”

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO
Oprah Winfrey pauses to take a selfie with an attendee of the ribbon-cutting.

The talk-show icon also told the students to always do their best work.

“The most important thing I feel, is to operate from the interior of your soul," She said. "And allow the passion of your heart to lead you to do the good and great work.”

The idea of the new facility is to make students more prepared to go into a world where communication innovations are coming fast and furious. Among the bells and whistles inside Newhouse 2 is an immersive media gesture wall.

"Just put your hand in and tell it now, there you go," said Lorne Covington, who installed this wall in Newhouse 2, where hand gestures pull up websites that seem to float in the air.

He says this is the kind of technology that will be in everyone’s home in the not too distant future, but right now no one knows how to utilize it.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO
Lorne Covington demostrates how to use the gesture wall at Newhouse 2.

"So a lot of that is the advantage, is to be able to experiment and discover," Covington said. "Cause it could be any one of these students, or anyone here, that really figures out how to do it right and starts the company that sort of becomes ubiquitous with this media.”

And students, like junior David Soberman, are excited.

"Media and communications absolutely is always growing and moving forward, and looking for the next big thing," Soberman said. "This will allow Newhouse students specifically to dream big and find the next big thing.”

Others, like Newhouse student Jasmine Vickers, appreciated Winfrey’s advice.  
“We don’t know a world without Oprah, so we are trying to follow in her footsteps, follow in the ground that she paved for us," Vickers said.

Credit WRVO
Oprah Winfrey visited the Mary Nelson Youth Center on Syracuse’s south side and made a $100,000 donation

After the dedication, Winfrey made a surprise stop on Syracuse’s Southside, and wrote a $100,000 check for the Mary Nelson Youth Center, which offers programs for residents who live in that part of Syracuse. The organization is known for a massive back-to-school backpack giveaway, and offers a place for kid and families to go in the midst of a crime ridden community.