Brian Williams Makes First Public Appearance Since Suspension From ‘NBC Nightly News’

He isn’t letting the bad press get him down. Brian Williams made his first public appearance Saturday night since his suspension as anchor for NBC Nightly News. Williams attended a fund-raising gala for the high school he graduated from. Page Six reports that Williams donated $50,000 to Mater Dei Catholic High School in New Monmouth, New Jersey. The institution needs more money to stay afloat.

Williams is a 1977 graduate from Mater Dei. The school was honored in a Save the Seraphs Gala at Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands. The news anchor was accompanied by his wife, Jane.

“This is Mater Dei. It’s been a very, very important part of my life. It’s a wonderful school, and it should be open for a long time, for everybody,” Williams told The Two River Times at the gala.

Brian Williams is suspended without pay for six months after fabricating stories about being aboard helicopter that was shot down during the Iraq war twelve years ago. His future with NBC is unknown, but he seemed happy to help a school that meant so much to him. Everyone at the fund-raiser welcomed the embattled anchor with open arms. Fund-raiser co-chair, Maria Buzzanco, said he had several friends who were pleased to see him there.

“He had a lot of friends he went to school with. He was happy to come back to the Shore Casino because he went to proms there. He was greeted with warm hugs. Everyone was telling him how much they support him as well, and thanked him for coming.”

Williams was reportedly upbeat throughout the whole event. He posed for several pictures with guests — surely a nice feeling after watching his star lose some of its shine following the Iraq war scandal.

Lester Holt is currently holding the news anchor seat on Nightly News during Williams’ suspension. There are no definite plans as to what’s ahead for the news program. A list of names have surfaced on who’ll take Williams’ anchor position, should NBC choose to fire him. Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, and even Savannah Guthrie have been rumored to take over. If Brian Williams leaves for good, it’s not a given that Lester Holt will still be in the position.

NBC is re-airing its evening broadcasts of the Nightly News during later hours so those who aren’t able to watch the news program at its regular time can view it at a more convenient time. An NBC spokesperson says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]