Joseph Olzacki was honored on October 2 at the 2010 Anchor Awards ceremony, part of Hawktober Weekend. He received the Humanitarian Service Award.
Olzacki, who is director of visual and performing arts for the Bloomfield (Conn.) Public Schools, holds four degrees from three different schools at the University of Hartford. Olzacki earned a BA in politics and government in 1985 from the College of Arts and Sciences; a Bachelor of Music in 1986 from The Hartt School; a Master of Music Education in 1994 from The Hartt School; and a doctorate in educational leadership in 2001 from the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions.
In addition to his successful careers in music and education, Olzacki has devoted a great deal of time and energy to The Identity Project, which he founded in 2007. The Identity Project examines the lessons of genocides and teaches students to stand up for their beliefs. With help from the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut, the Hartford Symphony and the Bloomfield community, he raised funds to send groups of teachers and students to Washington, D.C. for advanced study in genocide awareness.
Olzacki has received many awards for his work with The Identity Project. Earlier this year, he was one of 100 young leaders in the field of human rights worldwide invited to take part in the Global International Leadership Training Programme in Kigali, Rwanda. He was asked to speak on human rights and genocide at the regional forum, hosted by the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights, in collaboration with the National Commission for Human Rights in Rwanda.
This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding meritorious contributions of state, national, or international significance to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of human welfare. Recipients have demonstrated exceptional dedication to selfless service and have taken personal responsibility for serving the communities in which they live.
A single Humanitarian Service Award is presented by the University of Hartford Alumni Association. Individuals must be a graduate of one of the schools/colleges, or predecessor institutions of the University of Hartford. This award is presented at the Anchor Awards Ceremony during Fall Weekend.