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University of Hartford Celebrates Graduate Students’ Successes at Commencement Ceremony

Posted 05/17/2014
Posted by David Isgur

Graduates celebrate after the ceremony.

Under a blue sky as bright as their futures, more than 425 students were presented their masters and doctoral degrees during the University of Hartford’s Graduate Commencement on Saturday, May 17. The 10 a.m. ceremony was held on the University Green on the Bloomfield Avenue campus in West Hartford, Conn.

“When you came to graduate school, we asked that you raise your game, and you did,” said Fred Sweitzer, associate provost and dean of graduate studies at the University of Hartford, in congratulating the graduates.

“I want to salute the main ingredient in your success,” Sweitzer added. “Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success is showing up, and show up is what you did. You showed up for classes at the end of a long day, sometimes a 12-hour day. You showed up to labs at 8 o’clock in the morning, you showed up to the studio because that design project wasn’t going to care of itself. Music students, you showed up to practice rooms when maybe you wanted to be somewhere else. So, thank you for sharing a piece of your journey, and thank you most of all for showing up,” he said.

The Graduate Commencement speaker was University of Hartford President Walter Harrison, now in his 16th year as the University’s leader. He told the graduates and their gathered family and friends who swelled attendance numbers close to 1,000, that “Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American poet, said to Walt Whitman, another great American poet, after he’d read his first book, Leaves of Grass, ‘I greet you at the beginning of a great career.’ And I feel today that I am greeting you at a great beginning,” Harrison continued. “I know you’re going to make it great. I know you’ll feel engaged in your work and I know you’re going to have very happy lives. That degree you earned today assures you of that,” he said with a smile.

“On behalf of the entire University of Hartford community, we congratulate you and we look forward with great anticipation to all the good you are going to do in the world,” said Harrison.

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin received honorary degrees.

Also during the festive Graduate Commencement, the University presented honorary degrees to Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund; and to world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin. Both were presented with a Doctor of Humane Letters. (For more information on these honorees, go to

See a photo gallery from the Graduate Commencement.

On Sunday, May 18, the University will present about 1,100 students with their bachelor’s and associate’s degrees at diploma presentation ceremonies following Sunday’s main ceremony. Joe Torre, who currently serves as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations and who is being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, will deliver the Commencement Address at that ceremony. For more details, go to