Marcia Bloom Bernicat ’75, U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh, will be the principal speaker at Lafayette’s 183rd Commencement on May 19 and will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service.
Bernicat became ambassador to Bangladesh in February 2015, following her nomination by President Barack Obama and confirmation by the Senate. Other senior diplomatic positions she has held include U.S. ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, deputy chief of mission in the U.S. embassies in Malawi and Barbados, and principal officer in the U.S. consulate in Casablanca, Morocco.
Bernicat served as desk officer for Nepal and India in the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs from 1988 to 1990. Following a year of graduate study in South Asian affairs at University of California-Berkeley and a year of Hindu-language study, she served as deputy political counselor at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi from 1992 to 1995, then as principal officer at the U.S. consulate in Casablanca from 1995 to 1998.
She was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi, from 1998 to 2001, then deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 2001 to 2004.
From 2004 to 2006, she was the senior-level director and career-development officer in the Bureau of Human Resources. She served as office director for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bhutan in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs from 2006 to 2008.
She served as ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau from 2008 to 2011. Following that posting and before becoming ambassador to Bangladesh, she was deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Human Resources from 2012 to 2014.
A history major at Lafayette, Bernicat joined the State Department in 1981 after working at Proctor & Gamble for two years, then earning a Master of Science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Early in her career Bernicat was a political/consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali; consular officer in Marseille, France; and special assistant to John Whitehead, deputy secretary of state.
Bernicat is the recipient of numerous Department of State awards, including five Senior Foreign Service Performance Awards, two Superior Honor Awards, four Meritorious Honor Awards, and one Group Meritorious Honor Award.
Visit the Commencement website for additional information and schedules.