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A Diverse Group of Honorary Degree Recipients
A U.S. senator, a writer and cultural critic, a champion of the Hartford riverfront, an expert on Russia, and the leader of a massive project honoring American Indians will be awarded honorary degrees during the University of Hartford's Commencement Weekend, May 19 and 20.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will be the keynote speaker at the University’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 20, and poet and cultural critic Lewis Hyde will speak at the graduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19.
In response to growing enrollment, the University is expanding Commencement this year from a one-day event to two days of ceremonies. Both the graduate and undergraduate Commencement ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. on the University Green. For complete information about Commencement Weekend, visit www.hartford.edu/commencement.
During the May 19 graduate Commencement ceremony, honorary degrees will be presented to Hyde and to Marshall Goldman, an economist and internationally recognized authority on Russia. At the May 20 undergraduate Commencement ceremony, honorary degrees will be presented to Blumenthal and to Joseph Marfuggi, president and chief executive officer of Riverfront Recapture in Hartford, and Ruth Ross Ziolkowski, president of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Speaker and honorary degree recipient, undergraduate Commencement, Sunday, May 20)
Blumenthal, who will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws, is serving his first term as a United States senator from Connecticut. He previously served five terms as Connecticut’s attorney general. During his term as attorney general he was a key player in the national fight against tobacco companies, which resulted in a $246 billion settlement for the 46 states involved. Blumenthal also was a leader of a coalition of all 50 states that won historic agreements with social networking sites to better protect children from Internet predators.
Early in his political career, Blumenthal was administrative assistant to U.S. Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff, aide to former U.S. Senator Daniel P. Moynihan when Moynihan was an assistant to President Richard M. Nixon, and a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. From 1977 to 1981, Blumenthal served as a U.S. attorney for Connecticut. He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984 to 1987, and the Connecticut State Senate from 1987 to 1990. He also has served as a volunteer attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Lewis Hyde (Speaker and honorary degree recipient, graduate Commencement, Saturday, May 19)
Hyde, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters, is a poet, scholar, essayist, translator, and cultural critic whose work focuses on the public life of imagination and creativity. His 1983 book, The Gift, is an inquiry into the situation of creative artists in a commercial society. Hyde has edited the essays of Henry D. Thoreau and a volume of critical responses to Allen Ginsberg's poetry. Milkweed Editions has published a book of his poems, This Error is the Sign of Love. His most recent book about art and culture, Trickster Makes This World, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1998.
Hyde has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lannan Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1991 he was made a MacArthur Fellow. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including the Kenyon Review, the American Poetry Review, the Paris Review, and the Nation. For six years Hyde taught writing at Harvard University where, in his last year, he was director of the creative writing faculty. Hyde teaches during the fall semesters at Kenyon College in Ohio, where he is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. During the rest of the year, he is a faculty associate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Marshall Goldman (Honorary degree recipient, graduate Commencement, Saturday, May 19)
Goldman, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters, is a professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley College and senior scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. An internationally recognized authority on Russian economics, politics, environmental policy, and the economics of high technology, Goldman is well known for his study of the careers of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin. He is the author of more than a dozen books, and his expertise is regularly sought by business leaders, diplomats, and government officials in Russia and the United States. He has interviewed Vladimir Putin and advised former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush on Russia.
Goldman is a frequent guest on news shows, including CNN’s Crossfire, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, PBS NewsHour, Face the Nation, The Today Show, and Nightline. In addition, he has been published in Foreign Affairs, Atlantic Monthly, the Boston Globe, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. He has served as a director of Century Bancorp, Inc. since 1972 and was a founding director of Century Bank and Trust Company in 1969. He is a trustee of Northeast Investors Trust.
Joseph Marfuggi (Honorary degree recipient, undergraduate Commencement, Sunday, May 20)
Marfuggi, who will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, is president and chief executive officer of Riverfront Recapture, the nonprofit organization credited with restoring public access to the Connecticut River in the Hartford metropolitan area. Over three decades, Marfuggi has championed the project that turned a long-neglected riverfront into an attractive destination for visitors and a catalyst for the economic development of neighboring properties.
Established in 1981, Riverfront Recapture built a public-private partnership that created a comprehensive plan for transforming an inaccessible riverfront into a network of four public parks and recreational facilities in Hartford and East Hartford. Marfuggi and the Riverfront Recapture team raised millions in private and public money to keep the project moving forward over the decades, overcoming the obstacles presented by an interstate highway and a flood plain. The award-winning public greenway and recreational space now draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the banks of the Connecticut River every year.
Ruth Ross Ziolkowski (Honorary degree recipient, undergraduate Commencement, Sunday, May 20)
Note: Ziolkowski's daughter, Jadwiga Ziolkowski, will accept the honorary degree on behalf of her mother.
Ruth Ross Ziolkowski, who will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, has dedicated her life to honoring the culture, traditions, and heritage of American Indians through the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. A Connecticut native, Ruth Ross was a student at Hartford College for Women in the mid-1940s (HCW became part of the University of Hartford in 1991). After helping Boston sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski create a statue of Noah Webster for the town of West Hartford, she followed him to South Dakota, where he was invited to create a memorial to American Indian heroes.
At the request of Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear, Korczak Ziolkowski in 1948 began carving the legendary monument depicting Crazy Horse, a chief of the Oglala Lakota tribe, on horseback. Ruth Ziolkowski took over leadership of the project in 1982 after the death of Korczak Ziolkowski, whom she had married in 1950. As president of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, Ruth Ziolkowski leads the educational and cultural progress of the project. The endeavor now includes the Indian Museum of North America; the Native American Educational and Cultural Center; the Indian University of North America; a scholarship fund that has awarded more than $1.5 million to American Indian students; and the construction of the Crazy Horse statue.
The monument is expected to be the world’s largest mountain sculpture when completed. Crazy Horse’s face, at 87½ feet tall, was commemorated in 1998 and work is currently being done on the horse’s 22-story-high head. The site attracts more than a million visitors a year. Admission fees and individual donations finance the memorial, which receives no state or federal funding.