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Bill O'Reilly Biography as printed in 2001.
Commencement Program - May 19, 2001.

Bill O'Reilly, member of the Marist Class of 1971, today we honor you for career achievements as a national figure in broadcast journalism and acclaimed author. The passion for history, political science and current events you exhibited in the Marist classroom is exemplified to millions of viewers nightly on the FOX News program The O'Reilly Factor, the number-one rated cable news program in the country. From your start with the Marist student newspaper, you have written a number one best seller lauded for its analysis of the issues confronting contemporary America.

Known for your hard-hitting journalistic style, you have risen through the ranks to become, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, the person who "is changing the landscape of the cable-TV news business." Your ratings have rocketed past all competitors by giving viewers, as you have phrased it, "genuine information instead of calculated spin."

Born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island, you came to Marist in 1967 and were active as a columnist for The Circle and a member of the football team. You spent your junior year abroad, studying at the University of London, returning to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.

The Marist Brothers and your professors made an impact on you. Upon graduation, you took a job teaching at a Marist Brothers high school, Monsignor Pace in the Miami area. After two years, you returned to college and earned a Master of Arts in broadcast journalism from Boston University. You also earned a Master of Arts in public policy in 1996 from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Your lifelong career as a journalist has taken you to 52 countries and all 50 states, and earned you accolades from your peers. Your first television news post was at WNEP-TV in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. You then took a position at WFAA-TV in Dallas, where you won a Dallas Press Club Award for excellence in investigative reporting. From Dallas, you went to KMGH-TV in Denver, where you won an Emmy. Two years later, it was back to the East Coast, working for WFSB-TV in Hartford before landing a job at WCBS-TV in New York, where you won a second Emmy. You were then promoted to the CBS network, where you reported on the wars in El Salvador and the Falkland Islands from your base in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

You were an anchor at CBS and ABC affiliates in Boston, then continued at KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon, before joining ABC News as a correspondent in 1986. While at ABC, you received a National Headliner Award for excellence in investigative reporting. In 1989, you took over for David Frost as the anchor of Inside Edition, reinvigorating the nightly national broadcast, which was rarely out of the top 10 in syndicated ratings during your tenure.

You wrote an opinion column in the Boston Herald for seven years, with other articles appearing in such publications as Newsweek, the New York Times and Parade magazine.

Your skill as a writer is evident in your first two books. Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Murder and Television, is now in its second printing. Your most recent book, The O'Reilly Factor: the Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life, was ranked number one on the New York Times Book Review's "Best Sellers" list and remained in the top 10 for 32 weeks. We all await the sequel and your second novel.

In recognition of your distinguished career as a journalist, commentator and author, and your dedication to your alma mater, Marist College proudly confers upon you the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
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