Television host and journalist Meredith Vieira offered some memorable advice for Boston University's class of 2015: "Be the Left Shark."
Vieira, who said she was a "nervous wreck," delivered the address on Sunday for the university's 142nd commencement, encouraging students to challenge conformity and step out of their comfort zones.
“Don’t ever be a conformist for convenience's sake," she said. She offered up the example of the "Left Shark" -- one of the costumed dancers from Katy Perry's halftime performance at the 2015 Super Bowl. The dancer ad-libbed some of the choreography and quickly became an Internet sensation.
“You may be thinking of Tom Brady’s deflated balls right now, but I’m thinking of Katy Perry’s halftime performance," Vieira said as a person in a shark costume joined her on stage.
Earlier in her speech, Vieira encouraged the graduates to keep an open mind and to accept new possibilities. She said she never planned to be a journalist until a college course on radio reporting led to an internship with a Boston radio affiliate.
“So if you haven’t found a job or decided on a career path yet, don’t freak out," she said. "Don’t let fear or frustration or the fact that others around you seem to be all set immobilize you.”
She also challenged the stereotype that members of the millennial generation are unprepared for the workforce. She said employers perceive young people as "self-entitled, lazy, high-maintenance and disloyal."
"I know that's bull," she said, as a mother of three 20-somethings and the host of a show whose staff is 30 percent millennial. "Most of the young people I know are incredibly hard-working and extremely motivated."
Vieira is not a BU alumna, but she did graduate from nearby Tufts University. BU awarded the Rhode Island native an honorary degree at commencement.