May 4, 2018

Mike Wong, director of career services at the Cronkite School, helps students launch into post-college life in more ways than one

Mike Wong is always there for Cronkite school students, and he has been for over 30 years.

After several years’ experience in radio and television news as a producer, he took the opportunity to teach some courses at the then-named Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication. Wong continued to progress with the school and most recently has guided students to exciting post-graduation paths in journalism as the director of career services at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

But Wong is also there for all Arizona State University students — at least during graduation. For over a decade, Wong has been the voice of university commencement ceremonies.

He started his career working as a radio announcer at KTKT top 40 in Tucson while studying one year at the University of Arizona. (Ignore that tidbit, Wong said: “Yes, I am a Sun Devil and I bleed maroon and gold.")

“Did I want to be an announcer? Kind of. You know, I grew up with Casey Kasem and the American top 40," Wong said. "I was in a few church plays as the narrator; after the performances parents would come up to me and say, ‘You should do that, you sounded pretty good,’ and that kind of inspired me to pursue it.”

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

His part-time ASU voice career started with auditioning for Sun Devil Athletics to announce a variety of different sporting events.

“I had an audition at Wells Fargo Arena, because I was interested in sports and wanted to be a public-address guy. They asked me if I could do this sport or that sport, so that was the start of my announcing career,” he said.

About 15 years ago, Christopher Callahan dean of the Cronkite School wanted to do something special for the school’s spring graduation ceremony and asked Wong to announce. Commencement producer Melissa WernerWerner is director of university ceremonies and protocol officer at ASU in the Office of University Events and Protocol. heard him at that event and asked him to repeat the gig for the university the following fall. He has been doing it ever since.

It's always a special day for Wong.

“I am flattered to be able to help out the university in this unique way. It’s so special to see the students walk across the stage," he said. “I always get a little butterfly in my stomach before announcing, but I have a very capable producer, Melissa Werner. She coaches me; as long as I have a road map, I am fine.”

Wong has had many Cronkite School students come up to him after the ceremony to thank him for being a part of their academic career and for helping them get a job. Most don’t realize he was part of their graduation day as well.

Top photo: Mike Wong awaits his next announcing cue at fall 2017 undergraduate commencement. Photo by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

Ken Fagan

Videographer , ASU Now

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