When Tom Brokaw takes the stage in the Alumni Memorial Building's Cox Auditorium Wednesday afternoon, he could talk about anything.
After all, he's covered everything.
Once known as America's most popular news personality, Brokaw will deliver the third installment of the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy's Baker Distinguished Lecture Series.
In Fall 2012, former U.S. Senator Robert Mitchell delivered a talk on the state of national affairs and bipartisanship; spring 2013 brought U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss the nation's school systems, specifically in Tennessee.
Nissa Dahlin-Brown, associate director of the Baker Center, said Brokaw fulfills the purpose of the Baker Distinguished Lecture Series: to honor people who have impacted society and reflect Sen. Baker's values.
"We still have somewhat of a focus on the media; Senator Baker is always very interested in keeping that in our mission," Dahlin-Brown said Monday. "We didn't want to always have politicians."
After graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1964, Brokaw worked in Omaha, Neb., Atlanta and Los Angeles before earning his network start covering Watergate in 1973 for NBC. From there he went on to cover the Challenger disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hurricane Andrew and the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
The broadcast he delivered during the terrorist attacks garnered praise from Dr. Sam Swan, a UT professor in broadcast journalism.
"He went on the air, I believe, at about 10 o'clock in the morning and stayed on for 14 or 15 hours," Swan said, "reporting to the American people with the skyline of New York City behind him."
Swan said the event is valuable to more than just students of journalism, because Brokaw is one of the leading figures in American history.
"Not because he made history, but because he reported history," Swan said. "He was the face of news for millions of Americans."
Since his retirement from the anchor's chair in 2004, Brokaw has written several books, including the best-selling "The Greatest Generation" about Americans who grew up in the Great Depression and fought during World War II. He remains the only anchor to host all three major NBC News programs: The TODAY Show, NBC Nightly News and Meet the Press.
Doors open at 1 p.m. and Brokaw begins his lecture at 1:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.