Ann Curry Flubs Wheaton College Commencement

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NBC News and Today Show anchor Ann Curry

Brendan McDermid/Corbis

Peppering in the names of distinguished alumni is an easy way to boost commencement speech. But TODAY show news anchor Ann Curry learned the hard way that the names have to be from the right schools.

Curry delivered Saturday’s speech to graduates at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, referencing the esteemed careers of a trio of alumni — reverend Billy Graham, film director Wes Craven and politician Dennis Hastert.

As the AP reports, the only problem was that each of those distinguished graduates went to another Wheaton College — in Illinois.

Graham, Hastert and Craven would have had great difficulty earning the East Coast education. Up until 1988, Wheaton (Mass.) was an all-girls institution.

Curry quickly copped to her mistake, releasing a statement on the university website: “I am mortified by my mistake, and can only hope the purity of my motive, to find a way to connect with the graduates and to encourage them to a life of service, will allow you to forgive me.”

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