Brian Williams Makes First Public Appearance Since NBC News Suspension

The former “NBC Nightly News” anchor appeared at a fundraiser for old prep school Mater Dei

Last Updated: March 23, 2015 @ 8:39 AM

Still in the early stages of a six-month suspension from NBC News, Brian Williams made his first public appearance Saturday at a fundraiser for his old prep school.

“This is Mater Dei. It’s been a very, very important part of my life,” Williams told weekly newspaper The Two Rivers Times. “I had four great years here. I did not know it then, but it was the last degree I’d ever earn.”

“It’s a wonderful school, and it should be open for a long time, for everybody,” he added while appearing at a New Jersey casino for the Mater Dei fundraiser.

The paper reported Williams and his wife Jane were received warmly by the crowd of 455 people.

“He had a lot of friends he went to school with,” fundraiser co-chair Maria Buzzanco said. “He was greeted with warm hugs. Everyone was telling him how much they support him as well, and thanked him for coming.”

Williams has been off NBC News’ air for over a month following his suspension for exaggerating a story of being on a helicopter shot down by RPG fire in Iraq in 2003.

Once the story came out, a media tsunami ensued, with NBC News suspending him less than a week after his exaggerations were revealed.

Lester Holt has filled in for Williams, holding Nightly News’ lead in total viewers, although narrowly holding the lead last week, beating “World News Tonight” with David Muir by just 11,000 viewers amid controversy regarding Nightly re-airing its broadcast in the morning in 10 to 30 cities to gain more viewers.

As TheWrap reported, new Chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, Andrew Lack, will have to resolve the Williams saga quickly as his first order of business.