Pitt Alumnus and U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin to Speak at Commencement Ceremony May 1

Issue Date: 
March 28, 2011
Benjamin L. CardinBenjamin L. Cardin

U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (A&S ’64), a renowned national leader regarding such issues as health care, retirement security, the environment, and fiscal policy, will be the featured speaker at the University of Pittsburgh’s 2011 Commencement on May 1. The ceremony, which will include the presentation to the Senator of an honorary doctoral degree, will begin at 1 p.m. in the Petersen Events Center.

“Senator Ben Cardin began laying the foundation for a lifetime of leadership in public service during his years as a Pitt undergraduate,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “A respected national leader on many of the most critical issues of our times, Senator Cardin has worked tirelessly to shape legislation that affords more Americans with access to the American dream. It will be a privilege to welcome this distinguished Pitt honors alumnus back to campus as our University’s 2011 commencement speaker.”

Cardin was elected from Maryland to the U.S. House of Representatives (D-3rd District) in 1986 and to the U.S. Senate in 2006. Since 1993, he has been a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission), serving as chairman in the 111th Congress and cochairman in the 112th Congress. In the 112th Congress, he chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee’s (EPW) Water and Wildlife Subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Committee’s International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection Subcommittee. Cardin currently serves on the EPW, Finance, Foreign Relations, Budget, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees.

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Cardin brings with him the expertise he developed while serving for 17 years on the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House. During that time, many of his proposals were enacted into law, including increasing the amount Americans can save for retirement, expanding Medicare to include preventive benefits, and improving the foster care system.

During the 111th Congress, Cardin supported the Affordable Care Act and was successful in getting a guaranteed dental benefit included in the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The America Recovery and Reinvestment Act included his amendments to provide first-time homebuyers with an $8,000 tax credit and to raise the cap on surety bonds for small businesses from $2 million to $5 million. He also introduced the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act to give states and local governments new enforcement tools to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

In 2001, Worth Magazine named Cardin among the top “100 people who have influenced the way Americans think about money.” In 2004, he was named to Treasury and Risk Management’s list of “100 Most Influential People in Finance.” In the 110th Congress, he received an “A” grade from the NAACP and a score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign. In both the 110th and 111th Congress, Cardin received a 100 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

From 1987 to 2007, Cardin represented Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to serving on the House Ways and Means Committee, he served on the Judiciary and Budget committees, the Committee on Standards and Official Conduct (the Ethics Committee), and the Select Committee on Homeland Security. He also served as the senior Democrat on the Trade and the Human Resources subcommittees of the Ways and Means Committee.

In addition to receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) from Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, Cardin graduated first in his class from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1967. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Baltimore School of Law (1990), University of Maryland at Baltimore (1993), Baltimore Hebrew University (1994), Goucher College (1996), and Stevenson University (formerly Villa Julie College) (2007).

Cardin currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy and is a trustee of the James Madison Fellowship Foundation and the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs. He is a former trustee of St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Goucher College. In addition, Cardin has served on the St. Mary’s Center for Study of Democracy Advisory Board and on the Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Policy Studies’ National Advisory Board.

Cardin has received many awards, among them the Congressional Leadership Award, American College of Physicians; Legislative Leader Award, Humane Society of the United States; Anti-poverty Award, UNESCO Center for Peace, Frederick County Community Action Agency; Lifetime Achievement Award, University of Maryland School of Law’s Law & Health Care Program; Congressional Voice for Children Award, National PTA; Leadership Award, Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition; Congressional Champion Award, National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems; and Congressional Advocate of the Year Award, Child Welfare League of America.