Political Commentator E.J. Dionne Jr. to Give Commencement Address to Allegheny College Graduates

April 26, 2012 – Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. will deliver the Commencement address at Allegheny College’s 2012 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12. In the college’s 197th year, Dionne will be joining Arnold Palmer and Tom Ridge in receiving honorary doctorates.

“We are proud to have E.J. Dionne address our graduating class at the same time that he will receive an honorary degree,” said Allegheny College President James H. Mullen Jr. “Not only is E.J. one of the most respected political commentators on the national stage today, but he has been a particular friend to Allegheny through his service on the national panel that advises Allegheny on candidates for the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life. His remarks will surely inspire our newest graduates, as they always inspire me.”

At Commencement, Dionne will focus on how students can make a difference in the community, and reference the need for civility in our culture.

Last year, Dionne joined the advisory panel for the selection of the inaugural Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life, which was awarded to New York Times columnist David Brooks and nationally syndicated columnist Mark Shields in February 2012. By searching for exemplars of civility in its truest form and lauding them, Dionne and his advisory panel colleagues worked to help change the cultural norm of highlighting acts of incivility.

The Commencement ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. on Bentley Hall lawn. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place in the Wise Center Sports Forum. Tickets are required for admission only if the ceremony is held in the Wise Center.

A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University, Dionne has been named among the 25 most influential Washington journalists by the National Journal.

A nationally known commentator on politics, Dionne appears weekly on National Public Radio and regularly on MSNBC. He is a frequent contributor to MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” and has also appeared on PBS “NewsHour” with Jim Lehrer.

Dionne has received numerous awards including the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams Award, which honors a major journalistic contribution to the understanding of politics. His best-selling book, “Why Americans Hate Politics,” won the Los Angeles Times book prize and was a National Book Award nominee. His newest book, “Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent,” will be released in June.

Dionne graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University and received his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Media coverage of the ceremony is invited. For more information, contact Kathy Roos at 814-332-5950 or Mary Solberg at 814-332-6202.

About Allegheny College
Allegheny College is a national liberal arts college where 2,100 students with unusual combinations of interests and talents develop highly valued abilities to explore critical issues from multiple perspectives. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pa., Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope’s “Colleges That Change Lives” and is also featured in “Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You” and Peterson’s “Competitive Colleges, 400 Colleges That Attract the Best and the Brightest,” among many other guidebooks. One of the nation’s oldest liberal arts colleges, Allegheny will celebrate its bicentennial in 2015.