Kenneth Wernick '70
"I am very grateful for the education that I received at Bucknell, where I was nurtured by a caring and awesome faculty and surrounded by classmates who were never afraid to express their ideas and thoughts for social justice in a very turbulent time."
The EPA's conscience
Kenneth Wernick '70can certainly be considered a product of the times, both of the world and Bucknell. He bore witness to the political and social unrest that occurred on college campuses across the country during the 1960s and '70s.
The former managing editor for The Bucknellian was a senior when some classes and finals were canceled in reaction to the Kent State shootings in May 1970, and also was on hand when Vice President Hubert Humphrey made a controversial visit to campus in 1968.
"I am very grateful for the education that I received at Bucknell, where I was nurtured by a caring and awesome faculty and surrounded by classmates who were never afraid to express their ideas and thoughts for social justice in a very turbulent time," says Wernick.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in history, he went on to earn his juris doctorate at Washington and Lee University. His career spanned 30 years as a civilian attorney in the federal government in Washington, D.C., and 20 years in the Army Reserve in its Judge Advocate General's Corps.
Wernick's career involved many exciting appointments including Army court-martial trial judge, assistant general counsel (ethics) for the Department of the Navy, and most recently, senior counsel for ethics at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from which he retired in 2006. There, Wernick managed the EPA's ethics program and advised senior political appointees and career officials on ethics matters such as conflicts of interest, acceptance of gifts, preferential treatment and post-government employment.
In 2004, he was recognized for his years of service in executive branch ethics by being honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
Retirement hasn't diminished his dedication to public service. Wernick and his wife, Sharyl, have moved to Lewisville, N.C., where he tutors a 5th grader at an inner city school, prepares tax returns for low income individuals and serves on the town's Parks and Recreation Board.
"I have always tried to take that spirit of public service with me in my career in the federal government," says Wernick.
Posted Summer 2009