3-21-2014

Contact: Amy Murray,

Spring commencement speaker brings 'Hardball' to Ohio Stadium

Chris Matthews is host of political talk show on MSNBC

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State University today announced that Chris Matthews, host of “Hardball” on MSNBC, will address graduates as the speaker for the spring 2014 commencement. Approximately 10,000 graduates will receive degrees during the ceremony, which begins at noon on Sunday, May 4, in Ohio Stadium.

A television news anchor with remarkable depth of experience, Matthews has distinguished himself as a broadcast journalist, newspaper bureau chief, presidential speechwriter, congressional staffer and best-selling author. He has followed American politics since the first Eisenhower campaign in the 1950s.

“On behalf of Ohio State, it is my pleasure to welcome one of the nation’s most experienced political journalists as our spring commencement speaker,” said Ohio State Interim President Joseph A. Alutto. “A longtime public servant, New York Times best-selling author and television news anchor, Chris Matthews will offer a unique perspective on our country’s history and future.”

Matthews began his television career in 1994 as host of a two-hour nightly program on the NBC-owned America’s Talking network. In 1997, he launched "Hardball," now on MSNBC. He has been on the air every weekday night since.

Matthews worked for 15 years as a newspaper journalist, including 13 as a Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner (1987-2000), and two as a national columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. In this capacity he covered some of the great historic events of the late 20th century, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the landmark 1994 South African election, where South Africans of all races could cast ballots.

Earlier, Matthews completed a 15 year career in public service, during which he worked as a presidential speechwriter during the Carter administration and top aide to longtime speaker of the house Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr.

He is the author of several best-selling books, including Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked (2013); Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero (2011); The Hardball Handbook (2009); Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success (2007); American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions (2002); Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America (1996) and Hardball: How Politics Is Played, Told By One Who Knows the Game (1988).
Matthews is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross College and has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics. He served two years in the Peace Corps in Swaziland.

Also during the commencement ceremony, Ohio State will award an honorary doctorate to Barry Bloom, the Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Professor of Public Health in the Harvard School of Public Health.

The university will confer Distinguished Service Awards on Mac A. Stewart, former vice provost for Ohio State’s Office of Minority Affairs, who was essential in promoting the creation of a diverse student, faculty and staff population; and John B. “Jay” Gerlach, Jr., a 1976 graduate and chairman and CEO of Lancaster Colony Corp., who provides highly engaged leadership to many Ohio State groups.

About The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University is a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 57,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.