Kathleen M. Behrens '85 of Irvington, N.Y. was honored at the University of Hartford's 53rd annual Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 16, with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
As executive vice president of social responsibility and player programs for the National Basketball Association (NBA), Behrens oversees a group that manages league and player social responsibility efforts, supports player growth and development, and enhances marketing opportunities for current and former players.
Behrens joined the NBA in 2000 as vice president of community relations. Her responsibilities at that time included overseeing all of the NBA's public service initiatives, community outreach, and employee volunteer programs. Behrens played a crucial role in developing NBA Cares, the league's global outreach initiative.
Before joining the NBA, she served as executive director of New York Cares, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes volunteers to help New York City's neediest residents. During her tenure, the volunteer corps and revenue base more than doubled, making New York Cares one of the most respected and recognizable nonprofit organizations in the city.
In 1995, Behrens served in the administration of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and was executive director of the Friends of Cuomo Campaign Committee during the 1994 gubernatorial race. Currently, Behrens serves on the board of directors for New York Cares, the Ad Council, March of Dimes and ihoops, the official youth basketball initiative of the NBA and NCAA.
At the University of Hartford Behrens was a special education major who played basketball and tennis and was president of the Student Government Association. She graduated from the University's College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions in 1985.
Chartered in 1957 with the mission to be a "private university with a public purpose," the University of Hartford offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in the arts, the humanities, business, engineering and technology, education, and the health professions. The University's student body of 7,300 represents 48 states and more than 40 countries. For more information, visit www.hartford.edu.