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 Arts 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 became an integral part of the John Carroll community when he began his studies in Political Science. 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 of 1972 and received an honorary doctorate in 1997. His dedication and support for John Carroll and Cleveland was always evident.
Beyond renaming the department, John Carroll has also honored Russert’s memory in other ways. One includes the introduction of the exciting and highly sought after NBC/John Carroll University Meet the Press Fellowship. This is awarded to one graduating senior who is looking to pursue a career in political journalism and provides them with a position at Meet the Press for nine months.
Before his death, Russert began The Tim Russert Endowed Scholarship at John Carroll. This annual award is awarded to a high school student from the Buffalo or western New York area.
“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 a host on Meet the Press, Russert was special counsel to U.S. Sen. Daniel Moynihan before being promoted to chief of staff. In 1983 he became counselor to Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York. Russert was hired to NBC News’ Washington Bureau in 1984 and by 1989 he had become 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 in recognition of him being “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)