Richard Gephardt

Richard Gephardt, Former U.S. House Majority Leader, to Deliver Iona University Commencement Keynote

Former United States Congressman and House of Representatives Majority Leader Richard (Dick) Gephardt will deliver the keynote address and be awarded an honorary degree at Iona University’s 80th annual Commencement ceremony on May 17, 2024.

“Iona University is pleased to welcome Dick Gephardt as this year’s keynote speaker,” said Iona President Seamus Carey, Ph.D. “Throughout his career in Congress and beyond, Dick has demonstrated the highest commitment to democratic citizenship and integrity. He has been an influential supporter of Iona University, and I can see his address will be well-received by our students, faculty, and Iona community.”

Gephardt served for 28 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 2004, representing Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District, home to his birthplace of St. Louis. He was elected to serve as House Democratic leader for more than 14 years, including as majority leader from 1989 to 1995 and minority leader from 1995 to 2003.

In his leadership roles, Gephardt emerged as one of the leading strategists of the Democratic Party’s platform and chief architect of landmark reforms ranging from health care, pensions, education, energy independence and trade policy. He also ran as a Democratic presidential candidate twice, in 1988 and 2004.

Gephardt retired from the U.S. Congress in 2005 to establish the Gephardt Group, a privately held labor relations consulting and government affairs firm.

“I am honored to be named Iona University’s keynote speaker at this institution of higher learning’s 80th commencement ceremony,” Gephardt said.

Most recently, Gephardt was a member of the Board of Directors of the Centene Corporation, the Ford Motor Company, Spirit AeroSystems, the U.S. Steel Corporation and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars and was chair of the Board of Trustees of the Scripps Research Institute, a private, nonprofit research organization engaged in basic biomedical science.

In addition, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is the founder of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Widely known for his advocacy for international human rights, Gephardt served as chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit organization that endeavors to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts, from 2009 to 2013.

Gephardt earned his Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in 1962 and his juris doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School in 1965.

Iona University will host its 80th annual Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17, 2024, at 10 a.m. on Iona’s New Rochelle campus. Visit