Editor’s note: This event has been postponed as a result of the statewide response to the global coronavirus outbreak.
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Former U.S. Rep. Charles W. Dent will be the featured speaker at Penn State Lehigh Valley’s 2020 commencement ceremony, to be held at 10:30 a.m. May 9 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.
Dent, of Allentown, serves as a political contributor for CNN; is a senior policy adviser at DLA Piper; and is the former representative of the 15th District of Pennsylvania to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served seven terms. Drawing on his diversified experience and background, Dent provides strategic advice and counsel to clients on the federal, state and local level on a variety of issues. Dent also serves as a distinguished adviser for the PEW Charitable Trusts and a visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree in foreign service and international politics from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts in 1982 and a master's degree in public administration from Lehigh University in 1993.
Dent was the recipient of the Friend of Penn State Legislative Award in 2016 for the significant role he has played in the continued improvement of Penn State. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019, which is the University’s highest honor presented to its alumni, after being selected by the Penn State Board of Trustees.
“I am honored that Penn State Lehigh Valley has asked me to be their commencement speaker, as the University played an important role in the lives and education of my family. My mother graduated from Penn State in 1952 and I followed her 30 years later. Two of my three children graduated from Penn State and took classes at Penn State Lehigh Valley,” Dent said. “These graduating students will appreciate the value of their Penn State degrees as they pursue their chosen careers and life’s calling.”
During his time in Congress, Dent served on the House Committee on Appropriations, where he chaired the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agency. He was vice chair of the Subcommittee on Appropriations for the State Department and Related Agencies. He also was the chair of the House Ethics Committee from 2015 to 2017.
Dent authored and shepherded the successful passage and enactment of the fiscal year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act; served as co-chair of the Biomedical Research Caucus; was the founder and co-chair of the Skin Cancer Caucus; prioritized providing necessary funding for veterans, service members and their families; advocated for improvement of the nation's aging infrastructure; and dedicated himself to combating pandemic diseases in the U.S. and abroad.