May 1979: Everything was in place for Drew University’s annual commencement. Efforts to secure a compelling speaker had been successful. The Reverend Jesse Jackson was slated to give the address. His name appeared in each brochure. But Jackson became ill. The night before the ceremony, he called and put Drew in a difficult predicament: he couldn’t make the event.

What was to be done? Fortunately, a Drew alumnus was able to convince his neighbor, Mr. Alan Alda, star of the television show M*A*S*H, to speak. Alda’s television persona, the combat surgeon Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, was used to handling emergencies. How would Alda fare on such short notice? Discover for yourselves on Friday, May 16th at 1 p.m. when Drew radio WMNJ celebrates commencement week by re-broadcasting Alda’s 1979 commencement address.

Listen online at or attend the live broadcast over the PA system of the Drew University Ehinger Center. The broadcast is sponsored by the Department of Special Collections and University Archives of the Drew University Library.