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Quick facts about the University of Hartford’s 2018 Commencement Weekend


Posted 05/18/2018
Posted by Mildred McNeill


More than 1,200 University of Hartford students will celebrate the completion of their degrees during the University’s Graduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19, and Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 20.

Both ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on the lawn outside the Gengras Student Union on the University campus, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, Conn.

  • University President Gregory S. Woodward is presiding over his first spring Commencement ceremony at UHart. He became the University’s sixth president on July 1, 2017.

Graduate Commencement, 10 a.m., Saturday, May 19

  • About 350 graduate students will receive master’s and doctoral degrees.
  • Alumnus Charles “Chuck” Pagano ’84, M’07 will deliver the keynote address. Pagano is the retired executive vice president and chief technology officer at ESPN. Pagano joined ESPN a month before it actually signed onto the air in 1979—and long before it became the global sports multimedia juggernaut it is today. Starting as a technical director, Pagano spent 35 years at ESPN, guiding it to become a leader in sports television technology and expanding its technological footprint across the globe. He retired in Feb. 2015. Pagano was awarded the University of Hartford’s Distinguished Alumni Award during the 2017 Commencement Weekend.
  • An Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be presented to Linda J. Kelly who served as president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving from 2005 until her retirement in 2017. During her tenure, the foundation, which is among the oldest and largest community foundations in the country, reached a record of nearly $1 billion in assets; set grant-making records; expanded outreach to communities of color; and collaborated with businesses, public policy leaders, and local and national nonprofits to improve equity, access, and opportunity for residents. She was the first female and first person of color to lead the organization since its establishment in 1925. Read more about Pagano and Kelly here.

Undergraduate Commencement, 10 a.m., Sunday, May 20

  • Nearly 900 undergraduate students will receive bachelor’s and associate degrees.
  • Members of the undergraduate Class of 2018 come from 31 states, Puerto Rico, and 17 countries. Sixty percent are from Connecticut.

  • The top four majors for this year’s undergraduates are psychology, communication, mechanical engineering (tie for 2nd), and civil engineering.      
  • Three exceptional students will be honored during the ceremony. They are Yonathan Shavit from Brookline, Mass., Scott Veilleux from Newington, Conn., and Jarrett Lagler from Zionsville, Penn. Read about their award-worthy accomplishments here.
  • The Class of 2018 is moving on to noteworthy employment and studies. Read about some of their plans here.
  • Five outstanding faculty will receive awards of recognition. The faculty awardees are Caryn Christensen, associate professor of psychology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Lillian T. Kamal,  Associate Professor of Economics in the  Barney School of Business; Deborah Kidder, professor of management and chair of the Department of Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship in the Barney School of Business; Yingcui Li, assistant professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences; and  Alan Rust, Director of the Theatre Division in The Hartt School. Read more about their awards here.
  • Stephen M. Mulready M’77, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award that is presented to an alumna or alumnus who has demonstrated excellence in his or her professional endeavors, as well as in personal and civic involvement. Mulready holds an MBA in management systems from the Barney School of Business. He is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Crum & Forster, a leading property and casualty company with more than 2,000 employees across the United States. His civic affiliations include serving as president of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and on the boards of Jubilee House, the Hartford Symphony, and St. Augustine School.
  • Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Garvey Pitts Jr. will be the keynote speaker. He writes one of the most popular newspaper columns in the country and has written a series of critically acclaimed books, including his latest, Racism in America: Cultural Codes and Color Lines in the 21st Century, a collection of his articlesHis lifelong devotion to the art and craft of words has yielded stellar results, chief among them the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. 
  • An honorary Doctor of Letters will be awarded to keynote speaker Leonard Pitts.
  • An honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be presented to Walter Harrison, president emeritus of the University of Hartford. Beginning in 1998, he oversaw a period of growth, vitality, and transformation of the University before retiring in June, 2017. As the University’s longest-serving president, his tenure covered a period of dramatic improvement in the University’s financial stability; growth in the University’s endowment, which almost tripled during his presidency; and the construction or renovation of 17 University buildings. He oversaw significant growth in the undergraduate and graduate student population, new professional programs in architecture and health sciences, and improvement in the quality of the University’s academic offerings. The University’s libraries are named for him to recognize his devotion to the life of the mind. Read more about Pitts and Harrison here.

(Media information)