Chris Matthews to receive honorary degree at Temple University’s 2011 Commencement
Chris Matthews, the Philadelphia native who has built a national reputation as host of “Hardball” on MSNBC and “The Chris Matthews Show” on NBC, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Temple during the 124th Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 12, in the Liacouras Center.
“Chris Matthews has distinguished himself as a broadcast journalist, newspaper bureau chief, presidential speechwriter and bestselling author,” said President Ann Weaver Hart. “Through it all, he has been an enthusiastic advocate for the city of Philadelphia, its people and its institutions.”
This will be Matthews’ second visit to Temple this academic year. The host also broadcast his “Hardball” show live from Main Campus in October as part of the show’s “College Tour” election coverage. The telecast was fueled by the energy of hundreds of Temple students, the Diamond Marching Band and the Spirit Squad, who were featured prominently in cut-away shots of the set constructed at the corner of Liacouras and Polett walks. Several Temple students were interviewed during a feedback segment of the show, during which Matthews referred to Temple as “one of the great universities of the Northeast.”
A television news anchor with significant depth of experience, Matthews covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa, the Good Friday Peace Accord in Northern Ireland, and the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He has covered every American presidential election campaign since the 1980s.
Matthews worked for 15 years as a newspaper journalist, 13 of them as a Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner and two as a national columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Before that, he had a 15-year career in public service: in the White House for four years under President Jimmy Carter as a presidential speechwriter and on the President’s Reorganization Project, then for six years as the top aide to Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. Prior to that he served the U.S. Senate for five years for Sens. Frank Moss of Utah and Edmund Muskie of Maine.
Matthews has received the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism and the Gold Medal Award from the Pennsylvania Society. He was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics. He holds numerous honorary degrees.
In 2005, Matthews was awarded Temple’s Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award and was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the School of Communications and Theater. The award is presented to a distinguished member of the media outside of the Temple alumni community whose outstanding achievements and commitment to service bring honor to the profession.
Matthews is the author of five best-selling books: Hardball (1988), Kennedy & Nixon (1996), Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (2001), American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions (2002) and Life’s a Campaign (2007).
He is a graduate of La Salle College High School and Holy Cross College, and did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Matthews also served for two years with the U.S. Peace Corps as a trade development advisor in Swaziland, Africa.
He is married to Kathleen Matthews, executive vice president of Marriott International.