Anne Garrels, veteran reporter and former National Public Radio (NPR) foreign correspondent, will deliver the keynote address at the University of Hartford’s 54th annual Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 15. Garrels will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University during the ceremony. The University will also present honorary degrees to professional dancer Peggy Lyman Hayes, real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist Simon Konover, and award-winning saxophonist, bandleader, and composer Paul Winter. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the lawn in front of the University’s Gengras Student Union building. An estimated 1,300 students will receive degrees on that day.
Until her retirement in 2010, Garrels was NPR’s senior foreign correspondent. She covered Iraq under Saddam Hussein's regime and through the U.S. invasion and its aftermath, earning international recognition in 2003 for being one of 16 U.S. journalists to remain in Baghdad during the U.S. bombing.
From Tiananmen Square to the battle grounds of Chechnya, from Bosnia and Kosovo to Israel and Iraq Garrels has put a human face on conflict, combining experience in the field with a sharp understanding of the policy debates in Washington.
Before joining NPR in 1988, Garrels was State Department correspondent for NBC News. She also worked for ABC News for 10 years, serving as Moscow bureau chief and correspondent until she was expelled in 1982. From 1984-85 she was ABC’s Central American bureau chief. Currently, Garrels is a regular contributor to Human Rights Watch and a board member for the Committee to Protect Journalists and Oxfam International.
Paul Winter will receive an honorary doctorate of music during University of Hartford’s commencement ceremony. Winter’s music has long embraced the traditions of many of the world’s cultures, interweaving widely diverse instruments and elements with the extraordinary voices from what he refers to as “the greater symphony of the Earth,” including wolves, whales, eagles, and several dozen other species of “wilderness musicians.” After starting his professional career as a jazz saxophonist, Winter formed the Paul Winter Consort in the late 1960s and started the Living Music Foundation in the mid-70s to “awaken a spirit of involvement in the preservation of wildlife and the natural environments of the Earth.” The Consort’s celebrations of the summer and winter solstice at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York are popular annual traditions. The Consort and the Living Music label have won numerous Grammy Awards.
Simon Konover will receive an honorary doctor of commercial science degree. He is the founder and chairman of The Simon Konover Company. Established in 1959, the company has developed, constructed, owned, and operated properties throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States. He was instrumental in the creation of the Konover Campus Center on the University campus which provides grocery and dining options as well as space for lectures, movies, dances and other events on the residential side of campus. Konover is a Junior Achievement Laureate and a member of its Business Hall of Fame. He is a founder of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and served as president and chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.
Peggy Lyman Hayes will receive an honorary doctor of fine arts degree. Having been instrumental in creating the University of Hartford’s Hartt School Dance Division in 1994, Lyman Hayes currently is a company regisseur and on the faculty of the Martha Graham Dance Company. As a principal dancer with the company, she danced leading roles in many of the most famous Graham ballets and had three classic solos—Frontier, Lamentation, and The Incense—re-created for her by Martha Graham. As choreographer/director of her own Peggy Lyman Dance Company, Lyman Hayes produced concerts at the Joyce Theater, the Space at City Center, the Riverside Theater, and at Prospect Park’s SummerFest. Internationally her company performed at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris and at the Theatre Choreographique de Rennes. Her latest choreography was created with The Hartt School’s John Feierabend, director of music education, to help elementary music teachers introduce young children to music through movement.