Dr. Bernie McCarthy

Dr. Bernie McCarthy ’71, ’74G forged his own financial path at Plymouth State in the late 1960s. Fending for himself prompted him to become a donor immediately after graduation. “It was important because I saw a lot of my fellow students were in Operation Bootstrap like me.”

Year after year over decades, Dr. McCarthy continued to give as he earned two master’s degrees and a PhD in criminology and pushed himself to become an international leader in his field. Now retired and living in Florida, he has made a planned gift that will one day launch the Bernard J. McCarthy ’71, ’74G Endowed Scholarship to provide an annual award for a PSU student majoring in the social sciences or criminal justice.

I’m committed to the success of public universities, particularly when it comes to promoting diversity and reducing inequality,” he says. “Universities can make a huge difference for students who need a step up. I wanted to provide some funds to assist people who need the money so they can establish a track record of being successful.”

Dr. McCarthy grew up in Salem Depot, NH, and was exposed to people from all walks of life. He chose education as the means to better himself and spent the early part of his career working for the New York State Department of Correctional Services, until he realized he would prefer working with students rather than felons. He then taught in several universities, developing academic programs for U.S. military, criminal justice, and social services students at all levels. He consulted with law enforcement agencies and received a grant from the U.S. State Department to teach Russian senior police officers, exposing them to best practices in democratic policing. He also worked with Turkish national police until Islamicists took over the government in the early 2010s.

With his wife Belinda, Dr. McCarthy has written more than 15 books and articles on community corrections, ethics, and justice. The 11th edition of their title, Justice, Crime, and Ethics, was recently published.

He retired in 2019 as professor of criminology and criminal justice at Missouri State University, where he was also director of the Center for Homeland Security and Defense, working with the National Guard, the miliary and civilian law enforcement agencies. Belinda served as the school’s provost.

After high school, Dr. McCarthy chose Plymouth State because he wanted to live, hike and ski in the mountains, and he wanted a smaller, more intimate educational experience. He quickly became a student leader involved on countless committees including as a residence hall director and Secretary General for the Model UN.

“Plymouth was a great proving ground for people,” he says. “It provided the environment to excel. The teachers were hands-on. You had the opportunity to engage in important questions of the time, and people took you seriously. You could problem-solve. You could have a sense of community.

He adds, “The foundation and preparation I received at Plymouth State enabled me to compete successfully with the best and the brightest, and so I say thank you to Plymouth for that.


Anyone can leave a legacy. Bernie has established a generous bequest that will support Plymouth State students in perpetuity. There are many ways to make an impactful gift that will shape the future with your legacy. For more information, visit plannedgiving.plymouth.edu or contact Director of Development John Scheinman ‘19P, ‘21PG by at (603) 535-2805 or email at jscheinman@plymouth.edu.