STORRS, CT — UConn officials are putting the finishing touches on arrangements for Commencement weekend, May 10-11, when 11 of the University’s 14 schools and colleges will celebrate the graduation of students in the Class of 2008. The three other schools – law, medicine, and dental medicine – will celebrate their students’ achievements May 18.
This year, nearly 7,000 students will receive associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, juris doctor, dental or medical degrees during the events, the first time the University has held separate ceremonies for all the schools and colleges. Additionally, at 3 p.m. on May 10, the Army and Air Force ROTC programs will hold commissioning ceremonies.
“Three schools – education, fine arts, and pharmacy – agreed to experiment with individual ceremonies last year, and all three thought it was a success,” says Michael Darre, chair of the Commencement Committee and University Marshal. “So this year we extended the idea across the board. Our student population has outgrown the dual ceremonies we’ve held in Gampel Pavilion in the past, and holding individual ceremonies in different locations has been successful at a number of other universities. It’s much more intimate, especially for the smaller schools.”
Only the graduate ceremony, which will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 10 in Gampel Pavilion, will remain the same, although the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ (CLAS) Commencement, which takes place at Gampel Pavilion at 4 p.m. May 11, will closely resemble those of previous years. CLAS is the largest of the University’s schools and colleges.
Graduating students will hear from a wide range of speakers, including a legislator, an engineer, a pharmacists, an artist, a business executive, and a judge.
The master’s and doctoral students will be addressed by Garry Wills, an author and historian who has written more than two dozen books. His works include Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America (1992),which won a Pulitzer Prize; and Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man (1970). Wills will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters.
Joining Wills May 10 will be philanthropist Gary Gladstein, CLAS ’66, who will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Gladstein, retired chief operating officer of Soros Fund Management, currently serves on the boards of several leading global companies and a number of high-profile hedge funds. He has been a member of the University of Connecticut Foundation Board of Directors since 1998.
With gifts made independently and through the Marsha Lilien Gladstein Foundation, Gladstein has supported human rights, Hillel, the UConn Health Center and the School of Business at UConn.
Also during the ceremony, Charlotte Bunch, a women’s and human rights activist, author and organizer for 40 years, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. Bunch, the founder and executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, was instrumental in the development of feminist studies as an academic discipline.
On Sunday, May 11, at 4 p.m., more than 2,400 students who have studied in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will receive their bachelor’s degree. The students will be addressed by UConn trustee Rebecca Lobo, who played on UConn’s undefeated and national champion 1995 women’s basketball team and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of CLAS. Lobo also won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics, and played for three Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) teams. She is currently a women’s basketball analyst for ESPN.
Other ceremonies and speakers include:
Saturday, May 10, at 9 a.m. in the Lewis B. Rome Ballroom: School of Pharmacy (D.Pharm.). About 100 Doctor of Pharmacy graduates will be addressed by Gerald Gianutsos, an associate professor of pharmacology at UConn, coordinator of the pharmacology/toxicology graduate program, and director of the pharmacy honors program. Gianutsos was named speaker by virtue of being voted Teacher of the Year by the graduating class.
Saturday, May 10, at 10:30 a.m. in Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts: School of Social Work. Nearly 150 students will receive master’s degrees and will be addressed by Gary Bailey, past president of the National Association of Social Work (NASW), a member of the NASW Board of Directors, and chair of the National Social Work Public Education Campaign. Bailey, who was named national and Massachusetts Social Worker of the Year in 1998, is an associate professor at the Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work.
Saturday, May 10, at 5 p.m. in Jorgensen: School of Fine Arts. Joseph Volpe, the first person to advance from a technical position to general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, will address more than 130 bachelor’s degree candidates. Volpe is credited with managing the opera company’s re-entry into the commercial recording field and for expanding the Met’s international touring activities. In 1998, he launched a project that promotes direct experience with music and opera for New York City elementary school children. Volpe now works for Theatre Projects Consultants.
Saturday, May 10, at 5 p.m. in Rome Ballroom: School of Pharmacy (undergraduate). More than 100 students will be addressed by Samuel Kalmanowitz, an entrepreneur and UConn School of Pharmacy graduate (1961) who started his own community pharmacy in 1963 (Kaye’s Pharmacy). In 1998, it was named the top independent pharmacy in the United States by the national publication Drug Topics. Kalmanowitz is a University Medal-winner.
Sunday, May 11, at 9 a.m. in Gampel Pavilion: School of Business. More than 600 business school graduates will be addressed by Denis J. Nayden, managing partner of Oak Hill Capital, a private equity firm, and a UConn trustee. Nayden, who earned his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from UConn, was chairman and chief executive officer of GE Capital before joining Oak Hill in 2003.
Sunday, May 11, at 9 a.m. in Jorgensen: Neag School of Education. U.S. Rep. John B. Larson (D-1st District), will address nearly 200 graduates of the Neag School of Education. Larson, a high school history teacher before moving into politics, served 12 years in the Connecticut State Senate, beginning in 1982, including eight as Senate President Pro Tempore. In 1994, he was named a senior fellow at the Yale Bush Center for Child Development. Since being elected to Congress, he has supported a number of key educational programs, including Head Start and the College Cost Reduction Act.
Sunday, May 11, at 12:30 p.m., in Gampel Pavilion: College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture: Roger Newton, a UConn graduate best known as co-discoverer of the cholesterol-reducing drug Lipitor, will address nearly 400 bachelor’s and associate’s degree candidates. Newton is former senior vice president of Pfizer Global Research and Development and chairman of the atherosclerosis drug discovery team at Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis (now Pfizer). He is now managing director of Esperance BioVentures and an adjunct associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Michigan. Newton earned a master’s degree in nutritional biochemistry from UConn’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1974. He and his wife, Coco, are generous supporters of the University.
Sunday, May 11, at 12:30 p.m., in Jorgensen: School of Engineering. More than 300 engineering undergraduates will receive their degrees. The speakers will be Kevin Bouley, president and CEO of Nerac Inc. of Tolland, a global technology and IP advisory research firm, and Paul Adams, vice president of engineering at Pratt & Whitney. Bouley, a 1980 graduate of UConn’s business school, joined Nerac in 1981 and acquired the company in 1999. Since then, he has doubled the company’s revenues, and the firm has been recognized as among the 50 fastest growing technology companies in Connecticut. Adams has more than 20 years of leadership in management and engineering, and global experience in the aircraft engine industry. In his current position, he has developed the technical globalization strategy for Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies. Bouley and Adams both serve on the advisory board of the School of Engineering.
Sunday, May 11, at 2:30 p.m., in the Rome Ballroom: Center for Continuing Studies. More than 350 students who have earned the Bachelor of General Studies degree will be addressed by Valerie Lewis, former Connecticut Commissioner of Higher Education. Lewis worked for many years in the Department of Higher Education, including more than seven years as commissioner. In 2003, she was elected national president of the State Higher Education Chief Executive Officers organization.
Sunday, May 11, at 4 p.m. in Jorgensen: School of Nursing. Internationally renowned nurse theorist Peggy Chinn will address nearly 140 students earning degrees. Chinn is the founding editor of Advances in Nursing Science, which since 1978 has been the premier journal for cutting-edge scholarship in nursing. A UConn professor emerita of nursing, Chinn has written books and articles on nursing theory, feminism and nursing, the art of nursing, and nursing education.
Sunday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m. on the lawn of the law school in Hartford: School of Law. Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers will address more than 220 students receiving either a juris doctor or master of laws degree. Rogers, who became Chief Justice in 2007, was previously a state Superior Court judge, with assignments that included serving as the presiding judge for juvenile matters in Bridgeport and being assigned to the regional Child Protection Session in Middletown. She also had a long career with Cummings & Lockwood, where she specialized in commercial and employment litigation and was elected a partner of the firm.
Sunday, May 18, at 1:30 p.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford: Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine. Physician and author Dr. Pauline Chen will address nearly 125 future doctors and dentists. Dr. Chen, a transplant surgeon, specializes in end-of-life patient care. Her recent book, Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality, looks at death and dying from the perspective of a health care provider.