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Former LEGO President Peter Eio to Speak at Commencement
Alan Hassenfeld, former chairman of Hasbro, Inc., will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science.
Saxophonist Donald Sinta, chair of the Winds Department at the University of Michigan, will receive an honorary Doctor of Music.
Eio, a regent and longtime friend and counselor to the University of Hartford, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science during the May 17 Commencement ceremony.
Also receiving honorary degrees at Commencement will be Alan Hassenfeld, former chairman of Hasbro, Inc.; Donald Sinta, a gifted saxophonist, former Hartt School faculty member, and chair of the Winds Department at the University of Michigan; and Louise Blalock, who recently retired as chief librarian of the Hartford Public Library.
Peter Eio has more than 40 years of business experience in both marketing and general management with leading global consumer brands including Alka-Seltzer, Brillo, Playtex and LEGO. He spent the last 20 years of his career building LEGO into one of the world’s leading toy companies, first in the United Kingdom and then in the U.S. He retired in 2001 as president of LEGO in America, leading an organization with 1,100 employees and annual sales of $500 million. A member of LEGO’s Global Management Team, he delivered annual growth of 12 percent over the course of his career with the company.
Eio is currently chairman of Reflexite Corporation, a global specialized technology company based in Connecticut, and serves on the board of Heska, a publicly quoted veterinary diagnostics business.
Eio was chair of the Toy Manufacturers of America from 1998 to 2000. He currently serves on the governance board of the International Council of Toy Industries CARE Foundation, an organization dedicated to ensuring that toy factories around the world operate lawfully and guarantee the health and safety of their workers. In 2007, he testified about the organization’s ongoing programs and progress before a U.S. Senate subcommittee.
Alan Hassenfeld, who also will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science, is currently chairman of the executive committee and former chairman of the board of Hasbro, Inc., a $4 billion company and a worldwide leader in leisure time products for children and families. Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, GI Joe and Transformers are among the company’s well-known and highly regarded products.
Donald Sinta, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Music, is an accomplished saxophonist and gifted teacher who spent six years on the faculty of The Hartt School. He currently is chair of the Winds Department at the University of Michigan, where he is the Earl V. Moore Professor of Music. Sinta has performed across the U.S. and internationally. His influential recording, American Music for the Saxophone, is known around the world.
Louise Blalock retired as chief librarian of the Hartford Public Library at the end of 2008. Her 14-year tenure in that role was a period of unmatched expansion and recognition for Hartford’s library system. In 2001, Blalock was named the National Librarian of the Year by the Library Journal, and in 2002 the Hartford Public Library won the National Award for Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Service. Among her many accomplishments, Blalock shepherded the library’s $42 million project to revamp and revitalize the downtown location and to strengthen the library’s neighborhood branches.