Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein to deliver Commencement address

Bishop Bambera will receive an honorary doctorate from MU.
Famed journalist and author Carl Bernstein will be the keynote speaker when Misericordia University holds its 87th annual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18 at 2 p.m. in the Anderson Sports and Health Center on campus. A baccalaureate Mass will precede the ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in the Anderson Center.

“Misericordia is fortunate to have a commencement speaker who captures the spirit of a country dedicated to the freedom of the press,’’ said Misericordia University President Michael A. MacDowell, who will be awarding his last diplomas to MU graduates. “As an accomplished writer and as someone who helped change the course of American history, Mr. Bernstein is signaling, by his participation in our commencement, that small universities and colleges continue to play a significant role in educating the future leaders of our region and our country.”

The May ceremony will also mark President MacDowell’s last as president of the oldest four-year, private college in Luzerne County. President MacDowell and his wife, Tina, will retire June 30 at the end of the academic year, ending 15 remarkable years in which Misericordia became nationally recognized and regionally acclaimed.

“It is hard to believe that this will be Mike’s 15th and last Commencement ceremony as president of Misericordia,’’ said John Metz, chair of the Misericordia University Board of Trustees. “He hit the ground running when he took on the presidency and has not stopped since. His contributions to Misericordia, higher education and to northeastern Pennsylvania have been nothing short of extraordinary. He has provided unparalleled leadership to the University and challenged me and others on the Board of Trustees to do the same. It will be hard to imagine Misericordia without him.

“I get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I look out over our expanding campus today,’’ added Metz, who has been a Trustee since 1988. “Mike and Tina have also brought a sense of community and togetherness to our University, which has been reflected in many other worthwhile efforts, like our capital campaigns. In the last 15 years, Mike and Tina have rebuilt Misericordia and have set it on a path of continued success. And I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.’’ During the Commencement ceremony, Misericordia University will also present Mr. Bernstein and the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Bambera to be the 10th Bishop of Scranton on Feb. 23, 2010 after serving numerous Diocesan positions. He was ordained into the Priesthood on Nov. 5, 1983 by the Most Rev. John J. O’Connor, former Bishop of Scranton. Bishop Bambera was made a Prelate of Honor by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II in March, 1997.

Bishop Bambera has held various pastoral assignments, including at the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, Scranton; the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton; the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Scranton; the Church of Saint John Bosco, Conyngham; the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dickson City; and the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Archbald; and the Church of Saint Mary of Czestochowa, Eynon.

Bishop Bambera has served as Episcopal Vicar for the Central Region of the Diocese of Scranton; Canonical Consultant for Pastoral Planning for the Diocese; the Diocesan Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs, Vicar for Priests and Diocesan Director of Continuing Education for Priests. He was Director of Formation at the former Saint Pius X Seminary, Dalton; a member of the College of Diocesan Consultors; and Chairman of the Presbyteral Council. He also was moderator of The Diocesan Annual Appeal for 2001, 2002 and 2003.

In addition, Bishop Bambera was an Auditor in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Scranton, Diocesan Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary, Campus Minister at Lackawanna Junior College and Diocesan Director of Pilgrimages.

He is a past member of the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, the Diocesan Seminary Admissions Committee, the Diaconate Advisory Board, the Office of Continuing Education for Priests Advisory Board, the Diocesan Independent Review Board, the Priests’ Retirement Board, the Vocations Advisory Board and the Diocesan Liturgical Commission. He is a past president of the Board of Pastors at the former Bishop Hafey High School, Hazleton and Bishop O’Hara High School, Dunmore. He is a former Trustee of the University of Scranton and the former St. Michael’s School, Hoban Heights.

Bishop Bambera holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., and a Master of Divinity degree from Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, Pa. In 1991, he was awarded a Licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada, and a master’s degree in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa, Canada. He also attended the University of Scranton, pursuing courses in theology and philosophy. “Bishop Bambera has taken a special interest in the Catholic colleges and universities in the Diocese,’’ said President MacDowell. “His leadership in many ways, the obvious care he has expressed for the region’s college students and his willingness to present on Misericordia’s campus on special occasions have made him very much a part of our campus community.’’ Mr. Bernstein is returning to campus after being the guest lecturer for the inaugural Dr. Midori Yamanouchi Lecture Series last April in which he made a presentation about Pope John Paul II in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall. He also participated in an intimate question-and-answer session with communications students in which they talked about Watergate and the current culture in Washington, D.C.

“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,’’ President MacDowell said. “These abilities, coupled with his place in American history make him an ideal commencement speaker.’’

Few journalists and authors in American history have had the impact on their era and their craft as Bernstein. He has written, among other works, the definitive accounts of the lives of three of the dominant figures of the past half century: President Richard Nixon, Pope John Paul II and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In the early 1970s, Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post and set the standard for modern investigative reporting, for which they and newspaper were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Since then, Bernstein has continued to build on the theme he and Woodward first explored in the Nixon years — the use and abuse of power, in books, magazine articles, commentary, television reporting and as editor of an award-winning website.

Together, they also wrote two classic best sellers: “All the President’s Men,’’ which was turned into a movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, about the coverage of the Watergate story; and “The Final Days,’’ that outlined the denouement of the Nixon presidency.

In the 1990s, Bernstein turned his attention to one of the towering figures of the age, Pope John Paul II, resulting in the ground-breaking papal biography, “John Paul II and the History of Our Time.’’ Bernstein’s most recent book is the national bestseller, “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton,’’ published in 2007.