DALLAS TWP. — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein will be the keynote speaker at Misericordia University’s commencement exercises in May.
In 1972, the reporting of Bernstein and fellow Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.
Bernstein, now 69 and living in New York, was among a group of investigative journalists last April at the school taking part in a roundtable discussion on the media. He was also a featured speaker as part of the inaugural Dr. Midori Yamanouchi Lecture Series, and he addressed students during his two-day visit that also included a book signing and meeting with the campus community.
Though he’s best known for his role in the Watergate scandal and “All the President’s Men,” the book he coauthored with Woodward that was made into a Robert Redford/Dustin Hoffman movie, he also delved into religion when he wrote the 1996 book, along with author Marco Politi, titled “His Holiness: John Paul II & the History of Our Time.”
“As a writer, Carl Bernstein’s ability to capture important information and put it in a format that readers can not only understand but internalize represents an attribute that a good liberal arts education should instill in every student,’’ Misericordia University President Michael A. MacDowell said. “These abilities, coupled with his place in American history, make him an ideal commencement speaker.”
Misericordia’s 87th commencement ceremony will occur at 2 p.m. May 18 in the Anderson Sports and Health Center on the college’s campus. A baccalaureate Mass will precede the ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in the Anderson Center.
During the commencement ceremony, Misericordia will also present Bernstein and the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.
This will be the second such honorary doctorate bestowed upon the bishop. In 2011, Bambera received one from King’s College.
“I am proud and most grateful that the university has chosen to bestow this honor on me. In this very generous honor, Misericordia University affirms the intimate relationship that it has with the local Church of Scranton as a Catholic institution of higher learning,” the bishop said in an emailed statement.
The event also marks the final time MacDowell will oversee a Misericordia University commencement as the school’s president. MacDowell is stepping down June 30 after 15 years at the helm. Thomas J. Botzman will become the 13th president in the history of Misericordia on July 1.
“It is hard to believe that this will be Mike’s 15th and last commencement ceremony as president of Misericordia,’’ said John Metz, chairman of the Misericordia University Board of Trustees. “He hit the ground running when he took on the presidency and has not stopped since.”
Graduation class size has been setting records each year and the growth that MacDowell has shepherded is given credit. When MacDowell arrived in 1998, Misericordia enrolled 1,050 full-time students. This year, total full-time enrollment exceeded 1,850.
“I get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I look out over our expanding campus today,’’ added Metz, of Dallas. “In the last 15 years, Mike and (his wife) Tina have rebuilt Misericordia and have set it on a path of continued success. And I would like to thank them for that from the bottom of my heart.’’