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Chris Matthews to give Commencement address

February 27, 2014
Chris MatthewsChris Matthews.

Chris Matthews, highly respected political news commentator, will deliver the 164th College commencement address at the University of Rochester on Sunday, May 18. He will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree at the ceremony, pending formal Board of Trustees approval.

“I am thrilled that Chris Matthews has accepted our invitation to speak,” said University President Joel Seligman. “He is a respected voice in American politics, as well as a presidential and Washington historian. He provides insights and perspectives that enrich our understanding of current issues, including the challenges our May graduates will face.”

As a teenager, Matthews became enthralled with the historic rivalry of John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon, and would ultimately go on to write two books about Kennedy. Early in his career and following his service with the Peace Corps in Africa, Matthews served as a U.S. Senate staffer, a presidential speechwriter, and was top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill in the 1980s.

In the late 1980s, Matthews switched to full-time journalism, serving as Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner. Matthews began his career on television in 1994 as host of a two-hour nightly program on the America’s Talking network. Three years later, he launchedHardball, now on MSNBC, which was the title of his popular 1988 book on America’s imperfect political system. He is on the air every weeknight as Hardball host, and has also conducted exclusive primetime interviews with government leaders, including President Obama.

Matthews (@hardball_chris) is the author of seven bestselling books, with his most recent beingTip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked (2013). His other books are Jack Kennedy: Elusive HeroHardball: How Politics is Played, Told by One Who Knows the GameKennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar AmericaNow, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think; American: Beyond our Grandest Notions; and Life’s a Campaign.

“Chris Matthews’ credibility as a news host and journalist has given him access to interview our world’s top leaders and officials on critical issues,” said College Dean Richard Feldman. “And his research and books on our national government and its figures have provided meaningful contributions to the national political debate.”

Additional information about University commencement ceremonies and related activities is available at The May 18 ceremony will be webstreamed live.

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