The Catholic University of America

May 18, 2009

Columnist Mark Shields to Address Columbus School of Law Graduates May 22

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Nationally syndicated opinion columnist Mark Shields will address graduates at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law's 120th annual commencement ceremony, to be held Friday, May 22, 2009, at 2 p.m. in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

"Mark Shields is no stranger to The Catholic University of America," says Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., university president. "He has participated in numerous campus programs over the years. Himself a committed Catholic, his values reflect the identity and mission of our university in a city where that is not always easy. I have long admired and enjoyed his political commentary."

One of the most widely-recognized commentators on social, legal and policy issues in the United States, Shields is best known for his work on CNN's "Capital Gang," and for his weekly appearances on the award-winning "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer."

"We are very pleased that Mark Shields has agreed to deliver this year's commencement remarks," says law school Dean Veryl V. Miles. "As a professional political commentator, he never lacks an opinion, nor does he ever lack humor, compassion and civility in sharing his views with others. His consistently high level of discourse sets a sterling example for how to conduct public dialogue. These are values that all legal professionals should strive for."

A native of Massachusetts, Shields first plunged into politics in 1968 when he helped to organize the California primary for Robert F. Kennedy's bid for the presidency. He worked on later presidential campaigns in 1972 and 1976.

In 1979, Shields joined the editorial staff of The Washington Post and a year later started writing his column, which is now syndicated weekly by Creators Syndicate. In addition to written commentary, Shields began regular appearances on television and radio in the early 1980s, including a nightly piece on ABC Radio's "Look at Today."

As one reviewer has put it, Shields "is the wittiest political analyst around, and he is frequently the most trenchant, fair-minded and thoughtful."

These days, Shields appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. He is a frequent public speaker, sharing his firsthand accounts and impressions of the major political events of the past few decades. He has also taught courses on American politics and the press at Harvard University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Shields will be awarded an honorary degree at the law school's commencement ceremony. Approximately 245 juris doctor degrees are expected to be conferred during this year's ceremony.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Tom Haederle in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5438.