Manu Raju, a 2002 University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, will be the 2021 winter commencement speaker, the university announced in a press release on Wednesday.
Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Raju earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from UW-Madison and has since gone on to become CNN’s chief congressional correspondent.
Prior to starting at CNN in 2015, Raju was Politico’s senior correspondent on Capitol Hill for seven years, previously reporting for The Hill, Inside Washington Publishers and Congressional Quarterly.
In 2018, Raju was a recipient of the Forward Under 40 award, a prestigious commendation given by the Wisconsin Alumni Association to alumni with significant achievements following their graduation from UW-Madison.
Raju earned a White House Correspondents award for his reporting in 2012, and in 2017 he was awarded first prize from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association for his congressional coverage.
“To me, the University of Wisconsin is not just my alma mater. It’s part of my identity,” Raju said in 2018.
During his time at the university, Raju got his start in reporting through organizations including WSUM and NBC-15 Madison, where he took his first job after college. In his Forward Under 40 essay, Raju cited his hard work and dedication as key pillars of his success.
“I learned that success is dependent on hard work — whether it’s in the workplace, classroom or at home — and to succeed, you need to learn from your errors and persevere, even when things may be looking grim,” he wrote.
“Raju has a remarkable first-generation American experience to share, and he is a fantastic example of Wisconsin’s global excellence,” said Pranav Srivastava, senior class president. “As a high-profile journalist in polarizing times, his perspective will be tremendously interesting, and I look forward to hearing his insights.”
Winter commencement will take place at the Kohl Center on Dec. 19.