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Speakers and Honorees Will Offer a Global Perspective at University of Hartford Commencement Ceremonies

Posted 04/24/2015
Posted by David Isgur

The University of Hartford’s 2015 Commencement Weekend will celebrate international philanthropy, business, culture, and careers, as more than 1,400 graduates and their guests gather for the conferring of degrees on Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17. Caryl M. Stern, who is leading efforts to protect children around the world as president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, will be the keynote speaker at the University’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17. Maria Cattaui, who helped shape international business and economic policy while secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, will be the speaker at the Graduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16.

About 1,050 students will receive bachelor’s and associate’s degrees at diploma presentation ceremonies at designated sites across campus following Sunday’s main ceremony. About 400 students will receive masters and doctoral degrees during Saturday’s main ceremony. Both events begin at 10 a.m. on the lawn outside the Gengras Student Union building on the University campus, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, Conn.

Stern will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the Sunday undergraduate ceremony, and Cattaui will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Sciences at the Saturday graduate Commencement ceremony. In addition, honorary degrees will be presented on Saturday to actor, singer, and composer Clifton Davis; internationally acclaimed architect Tai Soo Kim; and legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.

For photographs and more biographical information on the Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, click here.

Caryl M. Stern, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Fund for UNICEFSince joining the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 2006, Stern has spearheaded the organization’s efforts to aid children affected by disasters, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 East Africa drought, and the 2014 Ebola crisis. The U.S. Fund also administers the long-running “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” campaign, which has raised more than $170 million to support UNICEF's work, and the “UNICEF Tap Project,” which provides children around the world with access to safe, clean water. Prior to joining the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Stern served as the chief operating officer and senior associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League, the founding director of the Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, and dean of students at Polytechnic University.

Cattaui was secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) between 1996 and 2005, a position in which she championed the role of world business in the new economy. As secretary general, Cattaui helped establish a global partnership between business and the United Nations, leading to greater business input into United Nations economic activities. Prior to joining the ICC, Cattaui served with the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1977 to 1996, eventually becoming its managing director.

Saturday’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony will include presentations to two extraordinary graduating students: Anna Pan, of Burlington, Conn., a double major in chemistry-biology and accounting with a double minor in mathematics and actuarial science, will receive the John G. Lee Medal, which is presented to a graduating senior from Greater Hartford who has excelled academically while demonstrating a deep commitment to the community; and Jeremy Sickles of Mechanicsburg, Penn., a music theatre major in the University of Hartford’s Hartt School, will receive the Belle K. Ribicoff Prize, which is awarded for academic excellence. In addition, Ariella Torv, of Westport, Conn., a communication major, was chosen to deliver the Charge to the Graduating Class of 2015

Also honored will be faculty members Roger Desmond, professor of communication in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), who will be presented with the Roy E. Larsen Award for Excellence in Teaching; Nat Reeves, associate professor of music (jazz) in The Hartt School will receive  the James E. and Frances W. Bent Award for Scholarly and/or Artistic Creativity, Joan Pedro, associate professor of education in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP), will receive the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Award for Sustained Service to the University, Nicholas Ealy, associate professor of English and modern languages in A&S will be presented the Donald W. Davis All-University Curriculum Award; and Adam Goodworth, assistant professor of physical therapy in ENHP, will receive the Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize.

Two University staff members and alumni will receive the University Medal for Distinguished Service. Senior Advisor for External Relations John J. Carson ’65 and Associate Vice President and Treasurer Thomas J. Perra ’74, M’82 have a combined total of more than six decades of service to the University of Hartford.

The University’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Leonard Epps ’90, principal of the Hartford & Media Academy Magnet School. The 2015 Hartt School Alumni Award will be presented to Philip Boykin ’95, a Tony Award-nominated performer, teacher, and recording artist. The Distinguished Alumnus of Hillyer College award will be presented to David Pritikin ’94, Emmy Award-winning co-executive producer of The Deadliest Catch and numerous other reality television shows.