The University of Southern Maine is pleased to announce that award-winning journalist David Brancaccio will deliver the keynote address at the 2017 Commencement Ceremony.
"USM is honored to bring one of journalism's most respected voices to speak at our 2017 commencement," USM President Glenn Cummings said. "We are especially proud since David Brancaccio, an Emmy and Peabody award winner, is also a Maine native."
Honorary degrees will be conferred upon both Brancaccio and Mary L. Bonauto, the Civil Rights Project Director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. In 2015, she successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the historic case Obergefell v. Hodges, establishing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide.
The ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 13 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
Brancaccio is the host of American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report, now a regular segment on NPR's Morning Edition. The show has the largest audience of any U.S. business program. His reporting focuses the future of the economy, financial and labor markets, technology, the environment and social enterprises.
Brancaccio served as London bureau chief for Marketplace and reported from London for the radio service of the Christian Science Monitor. He hosted Marketplace's evening program from 1993 to 2003. He anchored the statewide public television news program California Connected from 2001-2003. He later co-anchored the PBS television news magazine program NOW with journalist Bill Moyers, before taking over as the program's solo anchor in 2005.
His feature-length documentary film, "Fixing the Future," appeared in theaters nationwide in 2012.
He also hosts the Esquire Classic podcast with Esquire magazine. His book, "Squandering Aimlessly: My Adventures in the American Marketplace," was published by Simon & Schuster in 2001."
Brancaccio has a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and a master's degree in journalism from Stanford University. He also attended schools in Italy, Madagascar and Ghana.
He is a native of Waterville, Maine. Last year's keynote speaker, former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, also grew up in Waterville.
Bonauto, who lives in Portland, has been recognized with numerous awards, including most recently the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship. She is the Shikes Fellow in Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, serves on an advisory board for the American Constitution Society, and has served as co-chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the American Bar Association's Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities.
Bonauto and two Vermont co-counsel won a 1999 ruling in Baker v. State of Vermont which led to the nation's first civil union law. She was lead counsel in the groundbreaking case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could legally marry in 2004. She was also co-counsel in Kerrigan v. Department of Public Health, in which the Connecticut Supreme Court also ruled for marriage; advocated in state legislatures for marriage; and served on the Executive Committee of the 2009 and 2012 Maine ballot campaigns.