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Entertainer, scientist, CEO of human rights group to speak at commencement (Released: 4/19/96)

by Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications.

  • A well-known entertainer, the president and chief executive officer of a major human rights organization, and a research scientist will address undergraduate and graduate students during the University of Connecticut's 113th Commencement Exercises, May 18-19.

    Bill Cosby, one of the most influential celebrities in America today, will address undergraduates during the University's morning ceremony, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Cosby, whose fame and humor extends well beyond his records, books and television shows to his efforts as a role model and philanthropist, has a long-standing commitment to education, and regularly addresses commencement exercises to discuss his beliefs.

    At 3 p.m., during the afternoon portion of UConn's traditional twin undergraduate ceremonies, Sanford Cloud Jr., president and chief executive officer of The National Conference, a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry and racism, will deliver the keynote address. Cloud, who was born and raised in Hartford, has devoted much of his career to human rights. He served as vice president of corporate public involvement and executive director of the Aetna Foundation at Aetna Life and Casualty before moving to The National Conference, which was founded in 1927 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

    Cloud's address is especially fitting, says UConn President Harry J. Hartley, coming during a year which the University has dedicated to 50 Years after Nuremberg: Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

    On Sunday, Carol Ann Fowler, president and director of research for Haskins Laboratories and an expert on language and linguistics, will address more than 1,250 master's and doctoral degree candidates during a 3 p.m. ceremony May 19 in Gampel Pavilion. Fowler, who earned her master's and Ph.D. degrees at UConn, is also an adjunct professor of psychology at Yale University in New Haven.

    Earlier Sunday morning, Martha Minow, a law professor at Harvard University and author of Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion and American Law, will address 220 graduates at the UConn Law School on Elizabeth Street, Hartford, in ceremonies scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. And at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Margaret Caroline Heagarty, director of pediatrics at Columbia University-Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, and a leading researcher into pediatric AIDS and the effect of cocaine abuse in unborn children, will address 118 UConn School of Medicine and dental medicine graduates.

    During the various ceremonies, UConn officials will also award honorary degrees to Cosby, Cloud, and seven other authors, humanitarians and a scientist. They are:

  • BARBARA CHASE-RIBOUD, an author, poet and sculptor, who has produced four novels, several volumes of poetry and dozens of sculptures, currently held in major collections in Europe and the United States. Her historical fiction, discussing the travails of slavery, has been celebrated with the Janet Heidinger Kafka prize for best novel by an American woman. She has also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the John Hay Whitney Fellowship, and the Carl Sandberg Poetry Prize. A graduate of Temple and Yale universities, Chase-Riboud recently won a commission to create the African Burial Ground Memorial Sculpture for the Federal Building in New York City. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters;
  • SANFORD CLOUD JR., is president and CEO of The National Conference, founded in 1927 as The National Conference of Christians and Jews, a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry and racism in America. Born and raised in Hartford, Cloud served two terms in the Connecticut Senate, was a partner in the Hartford law firm of Robinson and Cole, vice president of corporate public involvement and executive director of the Aetna Foundation at Aetna Life and Casualty. He earned his master's degree in religious studies in 1992 from Hartford Seminary, and currently serves as chairman of the board of The Children's Fund of Connecticut. He is also on the board of the Hartford Seminary, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, Advest Group Inc., and Yankee Energy Systems Inc. He will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters;
  • WILLIAM H. COSBY JR., is well known for his commitment to education, he emphatically believes that the best assurance for a satisfying and rewarding life begins with knowledge. Cosby himself went back to college, long after he had achieved much of his success, to obtain a master's degree as well as an Ed.D. He and his wife have donated funds to a wide range of universities and delivered commencement addresses to further emphasize the importance of learning. He will receive the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts;
  • QUINCY JONES, the winner of 26 Grammy Awards as a composer, producer, arranger, conductor, and instrumentalist. Since 1963, Jones has also been involved in film and he was co-producer of The Color Purple, which won 11 Oscar nominations. In 1991, he helped launch NBC's hit television series, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as an executive producer. As co-CEO and chairman of QDE (Quincy Jones- David Salzman Entertainment), Jones also produced the 68th Annual Academy Awards program that aired March 25. Jones is chairman and CEO of Qwest Records and Qwest Broadcasting, one of the largest minority-owned broadcasting companies in the United States, which he helped build. He is also the founder of Vibe, a three-year-old urban music and culture magazine . He will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts;
  • SIMON KONOVER, a survivor of Nazi labor camps, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Holocaust. Konover has created and built one of the largest real estate development companies in the nation. He has been recognized on both an international and national level by being the recipient of the Scopus Award, the Distinguished New Life Award, which was presented at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and the 1986 National Conference of Christians and Jews Award. He has shared his success with many, including Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the University of Connecticut, the University of Hartford, the Greater Hartford Jewish Community center and many other groups and institutions throughout the world. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters;
  • PATRICK A. MCKEOWN, one of the world's leading experts in the field of high precision manufacturing. McKeown is the former chairman and CEO of Cranfield Precision Engineering Ltd. He now consults in advanced manufacturing technology, precision engineering, and nanotechnology. An emeritus professor at Cranfield University in England, he is a Fellow of the British Royal Academy of Engineering, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1991 for his national and international work in high precision engineering. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Science;
  • HELEN ROGOW, is a tireless volunteer for charitable causes, including Meals on Wheels and the American Red Cross. Rogow grew up in Manchester and now resides in Avon. As half of a philanthropic team with her late husband, Louis, Rogow has helped many causes, including Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Newington Home for Crippled Children, the Greater Hartford Jewish Federation and, last year, the University of Connecticut Health Center, where her $1 million gift will create an endowed fund supporting cancer research. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters;
  • LAUREL T. ULRICH, the winner of a 1991 Pulitzer Prize in history for her book, A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812. Ulrich is a professor of early American history and women's studies at Harvard University. She also authored Good Wives in 1982, and has penned numerous articles and essays on early American history. She was professor at the University of New Hampshire for 15 years before moving to Harvard. She will receive a Doctor of Letters;
  • FRANCES M. VISCO, the first president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and a member of its board of directors. Visco is a recognized leader in the field of women's health and is, herself, a breast cancer survivor. She was appointed to the President's Cancer Panel by President Bill Clinton on May 14, 1993, and sits on the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Integration Panel. A lawyer who previously was a partner at the firm of Cohen, Shapiro, Polisher, Shiekman, and Cohen of Philadelphia, Pa., she resigned her position in March 1995 to devote herself to National Breast Cancer Coalition activities. She will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters.

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