Welcome to the Loyola University Newsroom

Print this page

Loyola announces Bob Woodward as 2015 commencement speaker

Loyola press release - March 20, 2015

Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, celebrated for his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting with Carl Bernstein on the notorious Watergate scandal in the 1970s, will address the Class of 2015 during Loyola University New Orleans' spring commencement ceremony. Woodward will receive an honorary degree along with New Orleans news icon Angela Hill; former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue; and Phyllis M. Taylor, chairwoman and president of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. Loyola's College of Law commencement speaker will be alumna Justice Jeannette Theriot Knoll ’66, J.D. ’69, associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Kenneth Allen Polite Jr., U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, will receive an honorary degree at the College of Law ceremony.

Both commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, May 9, and will be held in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in downtown New Orleans. The undergraduate and graduate ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m., and the College of Law ceremony starts at 5:45 p.m.

Since 1971, Bob Woodward has worked for The Washington Post where he is currently an associate editor. He and Carl Bernstein were the main reporters on the Watergate scandal for which The Post won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Woodward was the lead reporter for The Post's articles on the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks that won the National Affairs Pulitzer Prize in 2002. In 2004, Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, "Woodward has established himself as the best reporter of our time. He may be the best reporter of all time."

Woodward has authored or co-authored 17 books, all of which have been national non-fiction best sellers. His most recent book, “The Price of Politics” (September 2012), is based on 18 months of reporting and is an intimate, documented examination of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress attempted to restore the American economy and improve the federal government’s fiscal condition. Drawn from memos, contemporaneous meeting notes, emails and in-depth interviews with the central players, the book addresses the key issue of the presidential and congressional campaigns, the condition of the American economy and how and why we got here. Providing verbatim, day-by-day, even hour-by-hour accounts, the book shows what really happened, what drove the debates, negotiations and struggles that define and will continue to define the American future.

Woodward’s other books include: “All the President’s Men” (1974) and “The Final Days” (1976), both Watergate books, coauthored with Bernstein; “The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court” (1979), coauthored with Scott Armstrong; “Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi” (1984); “Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987” (1987); “The Commanders” (1991); “The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House” (1994); “Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate” (1999); “Bush at War” (2002); “Plan of Attack” (2004); “State of Denial: Bush at War Part III” (2006); and “Obama’s Wars” (2010).

Woodward was born in Illinois. He graduated from Yale University in 1965 and served five years as a communications officer in the U.S. Navy before beginning his journalism career at the Montgomery County (Maryland) Sentinel, where he was a reporter for one year before joining The Washington Post.

Angela Hill, former Crescent City news anchor and one of South Louisiana’s most beloved personalities, has been a journalist since 1972. Prior to joining WWL-TV in 1975, she worked as an anchor and assistant news director at KGBT-TV in Texas. First hired as a consumer reporter at WWL-TV, Hill would become the CBS affiliate’s first female anchor in 1975. From 1975 to 2013, Hill co-anchored the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. She also created and hosted the “Angela Show,” a local daily talk show that ran from 1989 to 1996. Hill interviewed notable actors, authors, musicians and politicians, including Oprah Winfrey, Anne Rice, former President Bill Clinton, Willie Nelson and John Goodman. Hill retired from daily reporting at WWL-TV in 2013 and currently hosts her own radio talk program on WWL-AM 870.

Paul Tagliabue has been the chair of Georgetown University’s Board of Directors since July 2009, having joined the board in 2006. Tagliabue also engages in a range of endeavors, including in business, law and higher education. He previously served as the commissioner (CEO) of the National Football League (NFL) from 1989 until 2006. As NFL commissioner, Tagliabue presided over an extended period of labor peace, league expansion and growth of fan interest and revenue in professional football. His leadership of the NFL has been featured in national and international journals, including The Economist, Fortune, Business Week, Time, and the China Daily. Tagliabue is senior of counsel in the law firm Covington & Burling LLP in its Washington, D.C. office and advises clients on strategic matters in the communications and media, crisis management, and international sectors. Born in 1940, Tagliabue graduated in 1962 with honors from Georgetown College, where he was the senior class president and captain of the basketball team. He received his law degree in 1965 with honors at New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar, and he has since received honorary degrees from several universities.

Phyllis M. Taylor is chairwoman of Endeavor Enterprises LLC, a management company that oversees the various Taylor operations. She is also chairwoman and CEO of Taylor Energy Company LLC. In 1985, she started the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation with her late husband, Patrick F. Taylor, to work toward their vision of providing a meaningful educational opportunity to every child. Taylor also continues her late husband’s legacy, TOPS, or the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, seeking to ensure students have the opportunity to receive merit-based, state-paid college tuition scholarships. This program now exists in 22 other states and is modeled after the TOPS of Louisiana. Additionally, the foundation supports advances in law enforcement, the military, community charitable organizations and humanitarian efforts. In 2013, the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation pledged $1.26 million in scholarship support to Loyola for academically talented, first-generation college students who resided in Louisiana and demonstrated financial need.

Justice Jeannette Theriot Knoll took office in the Louisiana Supreme Court on Jan. 1, 1997. Prior to her election to the Supreme Court from the Third Supreme Court District, she served as a judge of the Court of Appeal, Third Circuit. She was elected to the Third Circuit in 1982 and was re-elected in 1993. Knoll, one of 10 children from Vermilion Parish in Louisiana, received her bachelor’s degree in political science in 1966, with a minor in history, from Loyola and her Juris Doctor from the College of Law in 1969. She also received a master of laws degree in the judicial process from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Va., in 1996. In 2000, she was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame and named the Louisiana Crimefighters' Outstanding Jurist of the Year. She was inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame in 2007. She is an emeritus member of the College of Law Visiting Committee and a former member of Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts Visiting Committee.

Kenneth Allen Polite Jr., a New Orleans native, was nominated by President Barack Obama in June 2013 to become the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He was unanimously confirmed and sworn in that September. Polite oversees the investigation and litigation of all criminal and civil cases brought on behalf of the U.S. in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Prior to becoming U.S. attorney, Polite was a shareholder at Liskow & Lewis, where he headed the white collar criminal defense group and served as the firm's hiring partner. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted federal crimes, including organized crime, public corruption and identity theft. Polite was an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, first in the Delaware office's corporate litigation practice from 2000 to 2001, and later, in the New York office's white collar criminal defense group from 2002 to 2006. He received his undergraduate degree in 1997 from Harvard University and his Juris Doctor in 2000 from Georgetown University Law Center.