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Thornton and Nappier to Speak at Commencement
Also speaking at Commencement will be structural engineer Charles Thornton, whose firm was honored for its disaster response effort in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Thornton and Nappier also will receive honorary degrees at the University’s 49th annual Commencement ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, May 21, at 10 a.m., on the Gengras Lawn.
(Note: Links to an array of information about Commencement can be found on the UNotes Daily home page, www.hartford.edu/daily, just under the "Events Calendar" on the right side of the screen.)
Thornton is founding principal and consultant of the Thornton-Tomasetti Group Inc. Thornton-Tomasetti has been recognized with four national awards for excellence in civil engineering for its disaster response management effort in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. His firm also led investigations of the collapse of the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum in 1978 and the collapse of the New York State Thruway Schoharie Bridge in 1987.
Thornton’s firm built the 95-story Petronas Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur City Center in Malaysia, the tallest skyscrapers in the world, as well as a number of other noted structures, such as the 50-story Americas Tower in New York. Thornton has been involved in the design and construction of billions of dollars worth of projects in the U.S. and overseas.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Thornton has a history of educational outreach to urban youth. In 1995, he founded the ACE Mentor Program, which provides guidance and training in architecture, construction, and engineering to inner-city high school students in 57 U.S. cities. He is chairman of both the ACE program and the Salvadori Center, which annually educates more than 2,000 New York City middle school students in mathematics and science using architectural and engineering principles.
Denise Nappier is the first African-American woman elected to serve as a state treasurer in the United States, and the first African-American woman elected to a statewide office in Connecticut. Elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2002, Nappier is the only woman to be elected treasurer in Connecticut history. Nappier has served as a catalyst and advocate for financial education in Connecticut, working with the private sector and community-based organizations to expand financial literacy programs. She was a driving force in the establishment of the annual Money Conference for Women and the Youth Financial Education Conference, as well as the creation of Connecticut’s Individual Development Account program, a matched savings program designed to help families build assets.
A native of Hartford, Nappier served as city treasurer for nearly 10 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University and master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Corporate Responsibility Leadership Award from Citizens for Economic Opportunity (CEO), the PaceSetter Award from the National Association of Investment Companies and the Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government.