Monday, April 19, 2010

Journalist John Harwood to Address 2010 Washington College Graduates on May 16

CHESTERTOWN—John Harwood, Chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC and political writer for The New York Times, will address graduates at Washington College's 227th Commencement ceremonies Sunday morning, May 16. Harwood will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Letters. Also being honored is Dr. Richard A. Meserve, president of the Carnegie Institution and former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Dr. Meserve will be awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Science.

The highly anticipated announcement of the winner of the Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest undergraduate literary prize in the nation, will be made during the ceremonies, as well. This year the winning senior will receive a check worth $64,243.

Commencement ceremonies will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Campus Lawn. (Rain location is the Benjamin A. Johnson Lifetime Fitness Center, by invitation only.)

Chosen to speak by the Senior Class, Harwood not only covers Washington for CNBC, but also offers political analysis on MSNBC, NBC's "Meet the Press" and "Nightly News," and on the PBS show "Washington Week in Review." He has covered each of the last seven presidential elections. He grew up in the Maryland suburbs near the nation's capital, where his father, Richard L. Harwood, was a long-time political reporter for the Washington Post.

Harwood studied history and economics at Duke University and graduated magna cum laude in 1978. He subsequently joined the St. Petersburg Times, eventually moving into roles as Washington Correspondent and Political Editor. He spent the 1989-90 academic year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and in 1991 joined The Wall Street Journal as White House Correspondent, covering the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He went on to cover Congress and to serve as the Journal's Political Editor and Chief Political Correspondent. Harwood joined CNBC as Chief Washington Correspondent in March 2006. The following year he also joined The New York Times, where his duties include writing the "Caucus" column.

A resident of Silver Spring, Md., Harwood helps curate the Richard L. Harwood Endowment Fund at Washington College, established in memory of his late father to sponsor campus lectures and colloquys on American journalism and national affairs. The Harwood Fund also underwrites internship opportunities for student journalists.

Dr. Richard A. Meserve became the ninth president of the Carnegie Institution in April 2003, after serving on its board of trustees for 11 years. Prior to that, he chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for four years, from 1999 to 2003. As NRC Chairman under Presidents Clinton and Bush, Meserve was the principal executive officer of the federal agency, responsible for ensuring public health and safety in the operation of nuclear power plants and the use of nuclear materials. He led the NRC in responding to the terrorism threat after the 9/11 attacks.

Meserve received his undergraduate degree from Tufts University in 1966. Early in his career, he served as legal counsel to the President's science advisor and was law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Before joining the Commission, Meserve was a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling. With a law degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford, he devoted his legal practice to technical issues arising at the intersection of science, law, and public policy. This work involved nuclear licensing, environmental and toxic tort litigation, and counseling scientific societies and high-tech companies.

Meserve has served on numerous legal and scientific committees over the years, including many established by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. He is currently chairman of the International Nuclear Safety Group (chartered by the International Atomic Energy Agency) and of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and Phi Beta Kappa and is a member of the governing Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Also being honored at the 2010 Commencement is alumnus Dean G. Skelos ’70, a New York State Senator now in his 13th term. The author of Megan’s Law, requiring sex offenders to register, he more recently has championed laws enforcing fiscal responsibility. Skelos, who as Republican Leader is the highest ranking Republican in New York State government, majored in history at Washington College and earned his law degree at Fordham University. He will receive the Washington College Alumni Citation in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a legislator.

This commencement for 275 graduating seniors marks the conclusion of Baird Tipson’s six-year presidency, which brought about a dramatic transformation of Washington College’s physical campus. The Tipson legacy includes the renovated and expanded Gibson Center for the Arts and the brand new Hodson Hall Commons, both of which opened in Fall 2009, plus ongoing improvements in plantings and landscaping.

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