Crossing Paths

thomas-doughertyIn fall 1971, Marcia Bloom Bernicat ’75 walked across the Quad as a first-year student on her way to history class. Sixteen years later, Thomas Dougherty ’91 walked across to his first ROTC drill with Lafayette’s “Leopard Battalion.” Both went on to careers in public service.

In January, their paths intersected on the other side of the world. Bernicat arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, where Dougherty had recently been named a legal adviser for the U.S. Department of Justice. Bernicat came to take up her post as U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh.

When Dougherty was promoted to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve in April, Bernicat presided at the ceremony held at the embassy. Bernicat (left) and Dougherty’s wife, Karyn Kenny, pinned on Dougherty’s “eagles” symbolizing his new rank.

In their remarks, Dougherty and Bernicat spoke with pride about their continuing engagement with the global Lafayette community. Dougherty noted that since his military career essentially began at Lafayette, having one of Lafayette’s most distinguished alumna pin on his new rank was a great honor.

“The Quad continues to serve as a pathway to public service, crossed daily by the future ambassadors and colonels of the United States of America,” says Dougherty.

In September, Dougherty became Asia regional legal adviser for cybercrime at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He designs and executes cybercrime capacity building programs in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

A government and law graduate, Dougherty received his law degree from University of Pittsburgh and spent six years active duty as a U.S. Army JAG Officer and 14 in the U.S. Army Reserve. He then served with the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor in Las Vegas and later as senior trial attorney. In 2013, Dougherty volunteered for active duty in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army legal adviser. After his tour, he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka.

—Stevie O. Daniels