Joseph M. McDade was born in Scranton on September 29, 1931. He attended St. Paul's School and Scranton Preparatory School. He graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 with a B.A. in political science and received his LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956. He is married to the former Sarah Scripture and has five children.
After serving as city solicitor of Scranton in 1962, Mr. McDade began his tenure in Congress in 1963, serving six continous terms as a representative for Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District. He retired in January 1999 as the ranking Republican in length of service in the House of Representatives.
During his years of public life he served as the vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, vice chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on National Security, and as a member on the Subcommittee on the Interior.
Regionally, Mr. McDade was the principal advocate for the Tobyhanna Army Depot and was instrumental in establishing the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, the Steamtown National Historic Site, and the National Fishery Laboratory in Wellsboro.
Mr. McDade is a long-time supporter of The University of Scranton. From 1989 to 1998, Mr. McDade helped the University obtain four federal grants totaling $28 million, which helped create the Center for Technology Transfer, the Institute for Molecular Biology and Medicine (1996), and the Electronic Commerce Resource Center. He served on the University's Board of Trustees from October 1977 to September 1983 and was named one of the University's two trustees emeriti in 1999. With his wife, he established the Congressman and Mrs. McDade Program for Public Service Scholarship, which provides financial aid to local students interested in pursuing government service.
The University has recognized Congressman McDade by naming the McDade Center for Literary and Performing Arts (1993) in his honor and by awarding him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (1969).
The Weinberg Memorial Library has designated a third floor room as the Joseph M. McDade Study Room. This room contains a portrait, photos and memorabilia from the Congressman's career, including a University of Scranton pennant taken into space by Senator John Glenn on the shuttle Discovery in 1998.