Tim Russert ’72, one of John Carroll University’s most beloved graduates, passed away June 13, 2008, at the age of 58. A well-known face of NBC’s political talk show, Meet the Press, Russert was a trusted figure in the media. As a tribute to his legacy, in 2009 John Carroll renamed the Department of Communication and Theatre in his honor.
“An institution in both news and politics for more than two decades.”
-President George W. Bush
Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Russert quickly became an integral part of the John Carroll community. During his time at John Carroll he was elected Student Union President. Russert also won the Robert Beaudry Man of the Year Award in his senior year. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1997. His dedication and support for John Carroll and Cleveland were always evident. Russert created The Tim Russert Endowed Scholarship at John Carroll. This scholarship is awarded annually to a high school student from the Buffalo or western New York area.
Beyond renaming the department, John Carroll has also honored Russert’s memory in other ways. One included the introduction of the exciting and highly sought after NBC/John Carroll University Meet the Press Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to one graduating senior who is pursuing a career in political journalism. The fellow works with Meet the Press for nine months following graduation.
“He had done his homework, so we didn’t have to do ours. We longed to hear what his take on world events was.”
After graduating from John Carroll in 1972, Russert received a law degree (Juris Doctor) with honors from Cleveland State University’s Marshall College of Law in 1976. Before becoming the host on Meet the Press,Russert was special counsel to U.S. Sen. Daniel Moynihan, then became chief of staff. In 1983, he became counselor to Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York. NBC News’ Washington Bureau hired Russert in 1984, and by 1989 he became chief of the bureau. In 1991, Russert was asked to host Meet the Press and despite having no on‐camera training, he proved to be a natural presenter.
In 2008, TIME magazine named Russert one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, writing that he was “among the most astute, discerning and relentless pursuers of truth in the nation.” (TIME, 2009)
“He really was the best political journalist in America, not just the best television journalist in America.”
-Al Hunt (Washington Bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal)