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Scott Harshberger to Deliver Commencement Address at Graduation Ceremony

May 5, 2011

 BOSTON, MA – May 5, 2011 – Scott Harshbarger, former Massachusetts Attorney General and Senior Counsel at Proskauer Rose LLC, has been selected to deliver the commencement address at Bay State College’s 65th graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

 Scott Harshbarger’s distinguished career began with stints as a public defender, civil rights attorney, and Middlesex County district attorney, where he won the ABA’s Livingston Hall award for advances in juvenile justice.  Elected Massachusetts Attorney General (A.G.) in 1991, Mr. Harshbarger led the state’s successful litigation effort against the major tobacco companies to recover costs of health care associated with tobacco use.  Mr. Harshbarger was the first A.G. in the nation to engage the health care community in developing hospital and HMO benefit guidelines. In leading Massachusetts’ efforts against Big Tobacco, Mr. Harshbarger was among the first AGs nationally to recover the costs of health care associated with tobacco use, resulting in payments by the tobacco companies to the Commonwealth totaling $300 million per year over the next 25 years.

 “The Bay State College community is delighted to welcome Scott Harshbarger as our commencement speaker,” said Craig Pfannenstiehl, President of Bay State College. “His leadership skills, commitment to public service and legal expertise make him a true inspiration to our pending graduates, twenty percent of whom are leaving Bay State with degrees in Human Services.”

As the leading law enforcement officer of Massachusetts Mr. Harshbarger also led major initiatives against white collar crime, public corruption, insurance and Medicaid fraud, environmental abuses, and high-tech crime, and was the first state A.G. in the nation to use consumer protection and safety regulations to address the widespread availability of handguns.  His Conflict Resolution/Violence Prevention Project (SCORE) earned a Ford Foundation Excellence in Government Award.  While he was A.G., he served a term as president of the National Association of Attorneys General.  He ran for governor of Massachusetts in 1999, almost but not quite defeating incumbent Paul Cellucci.  He then served as national president of Common Cause from 1999 to 2002, leading the charge for what became the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (“McCain-Feingold”); he also launched the group’s corporate governance project and expanded its national agenda to include election reform and executive agency monitoring. 

Now senior counsel at Proskauer in Boston, Mr. Harshbarger represents public and private sector officials under investigation, as well as a diverse array of other clients in litigation, corporate and not-for-profit governance, and strategic counsel.  He is an acknowledged expert in fiduciary responsibilities, governmental inquiries and regulation, fraud investigations, compliance, ethics issues and crisis management.  He also chairs his firm’s national Pro Bono Initiative.  In 2008-09 he famously conducted an independent investigation into the governance and performance of the public interest advocacy group ACORN, and last December issued a comprehensive report of his findings (available at ).

Mr. Harshbarger taught professional responsibility and legal ethics at B.U. Law School for 20 years, was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School for three years, and has been a Hadley Distinguished Professor at Northeastern Law School and College of Criminal Justice.  He is a frequent visitor to Washington, and blogs at

About Bay State College

Bay State College is a private college whose mission is to provide students with a quality education that prepares them for professional careers and increasing levels of higher education. Bay State College accomplishes this mission by providing a learning environment where teaching excellence and student services are blended to support the uniqueness of individual students, preparing them to achieve their full potential as ethically and socially aware citizens. For the second consecutive year, Bay State College has been named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

About 65th Graduation Ceremony

Where: Berklee Performance Center

When: 11:00 A.M., Sunday, May 22, 2011