Commencement Plans Announced

More than 7,000 students with degrees in dozens of specialties will graduate from the University of Connecticut during a succession of ceremonies in Storrs and Hartford May 8 through May 23.

The all-University graduate degree ceremony will be held on May 8, joined that afternoon by undergraduate ceremonies for the schools of pharmacy and fine arts, and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Students enrolled in the Center for Continuing Studies also will graduate Saturday, and the School of Social Work will have a recognition ceremony.

On Sunday, May 9, the largest group – bachelor’s degree candidates in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – will celebrate their graduation during twin ceremonies, at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Also graduating May 9 are students in the schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing.

More than 100 new physicians and dentists will receive their degrees from the medical and dental schools at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. And 250 UConn-trained lawyers will graduate Sunday, May 23, on the grounds of the UConn Law School on Elizabeth Street in Hartford.

The largest event, the graduation of more than 2,600 students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will bring more than 10,000 family and friends to campus for the traditional twin ceremonies, one starting at 12:30 p.m. and the other at 4:30 p.m. The dual events allow the University to accommodate the largest number of family and friends possible.

Michael Turvey, an emeritus professor of psychology who is nationally known for his work in perception and coordinated movement, will deliver the keynote speech at both events. Turvey, who came to UConn in 1967, has won dozens of awards, including the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor award in 2000; the Alumni Association Distinguished Professor award in 1994; the National Science Foundation Distinguished Speaker in 2003; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio State University in 2006.

He also was named a Guggenheim Fellow and received an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

Turvey has authored two books, contributed chapters to dozens of other books, and written hundreds of journal articles. In 2006, he delivered the keynote speech at UConn’s annual Convocation, which kicks off the new academic year.

Also during the CLAS ceremonies, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be awarded to Narissa Ramdhani, a former anti-apartheid activist and 1992 UConn graduate. Ramdhani, a leading South African scholar and cultural archivist, completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in South Africa as she grew increasingly active in the anti-apartheid resistance movement. She was forced to leave the country in 1985 and was offered refuge at UConn, where she earned another master’s degree. Ramdhani will receive her honorary degree during the 12:30 p.m. ceremony.

During the afternoon event, Wendell G. Minor, who has illustrated and designed covers for more than 2,000 books encompassing a wide range of subjects, including children’s and adult books, also will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Other ceremonies include:

<p>Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University.</p>

Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University.

  • UConn Graduate School: Saturday, May 8, 1 p.m. in Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Scott S. Cowen, president of Tulane University in New Orleans, will be the keynote speaker and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Cowen earned his bachelor’s degree from UConn in 1968. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, he led Tulane – which was largely underwater – and the local community through the aftermath. Named one of the 10 Best College Presidents in the United States by TIME Magazine in 2009, he was one of only four recipients nationwide of the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award.
  • Neag School of Education: Sunday, May 9, 9 a.m. at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Geno Auriemma, head coach of the NCAA Champion UConn women’s basketball team, will be the speaker. During his 25 years as head coach at UConn, Auriemma has redefined the meaning of success in women’s college basketball, winning seven national championships while graduating every four-year student-athlete who has played for him. Auriemma has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. He also will coach the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team.
  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Saturday, May 8, 6 p.m. in Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Jerold Mande, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be the speaker. Mande, who earned a degree in nutritional sciences from UConn in 1978, leads and oversees the Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA’s public health agency that ensures the nation’s commercial meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. Earlier in his career, as senior adviser to the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, he helped shape national policy on food safety and tobacco and led the design of the nutrition facts label that now appears on virtually all packaged foods.
  • School of Business Administration: Sunday, May 9, 9 a.m. in Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. The speaker will be Keith R. Fox, CEO of the Keith and Pamela Fox Family Foundation, which is focused on children’s health and education. His philanthropic work also includes a board seat at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, a board seat at the University of Connecticut Foundation, and an executive cabinet position for the president of Cal Poly. Fox was founder and CEO of Brandsoft, an enterprise software and consulting company specializing in brand management. Before founding Brandsoft, he was vice president of worldwide corporate marketing at Cisco Systems Inc. He earned his undergraduate degree from the UConn School of Business, majoring in marketing, in 1980.
  • School of Fine Arts: Saturday, May 8, 5 p.m. at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Robert Glidden, one of the nation’s foremost experts on university accreditation and standards and retired president of Ohio University will be the speaker. An Iowa native, he earlier served on the music faculties of Wright State University and Indiana University and, from 1969 to 1972, was associate professor, director of graduate studies in music, and chairman of music education at the University of Oklahoma. He then became the executive director of the National Association of Schools of Music and the National Association for Schools of Art in Washington, D.C., before moving to Bowling Green State University, where he was a professor and dean of the College of Musical Arts. In 1979, Glidden became dean of Florida State University’s School of Music, and he was appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at FSU in 1991.
  • School of Engineering: Sunday, May 9, 12:30 p.m. at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. The speaker will be Robert P. Madonna, founder and chief executive officer of Savant Systems, the first and only Apple-based automation and entertainment system. Madonna, who earned a degree in biomedical engineering from UConn in 1982, also founded Excel Switching, a leading provider of open-programmable switches. The firm was later acquired by Lucent Technologies.
  • School of Nursing: Sunday, May 9, 4 p.m. at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. The speaker will be Beverly Malone, chief executive officer for the National League for Nursing (NLN), the nation’s leading voice for nurse educators. A vocal advocate for health care reform to create universal health insurance coverage, she led NLN support for the extension of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program when it was set to expire in 2008. Prior to joining the NLN, Malone was general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, the United Kingdom’s largest professional union of nurses with more than 390,000 members. She also served two terms as president of the American Nurses Association, representing 180,000 nurses in the United States.
  • UConn Health Center: Sunday, May 16, 2 p.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center. The speaker will be Samuel Shem, pen name of Stephen Bergman, a physician, novelist, playwright, and activist. A graduate of Harvard College who earned an MD from Harvard Medical School, Shem is a former Rhodes Scholar and was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for three decades. Shem has been described as “easily the finest and most important writer ever to focus on the lives of doctors and the world of medicine,” and as someone who “brings mercy to the practice of medicine.” The Lancet called The House of God one of the two “most significant medical novels of the 20th century.” His 2008 novel, The Spirit of the Place, about a primary care doctor in a small town, won the National Best Book Award 2008 in General Fiction and Literature from USA Book News, and the Independent Publishers National Book Award in Literary Fiction 2009. Shem has given more than 50 commencement speeches on “How to Stay Human in Medicine.” He lives in Boston and Costa Rica.
  • School of Law: Sunday, May 23, 11 a.m. on the Law School lawn, Elizabeth Street, Hartford. The speaker will be Linda Greenhouse, the Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at the Yale Law School, who for 30 years covered the U.S. Supreme Court for The New York Times. During her career at the Times, Greenhouse won a Pulitzer Prize, the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams award, the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism.
  • School of Pharmacy, Bachelor of Science Commencement: Saturday, May 8, 4 p.m. in the Lewis B. Rome Ballroom in Storrs. Joseph D. Palo, president of JD Pharma LLC, a private pharmaceutical consulting firm, will be the speaker. Palo has more than 37 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. A licensed pharmacist, Palo earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in business administration at UConn. He is the longest-serving member of the UConn School of Pharmacy Advisory Board, sitting as board chair for three years. In 2007, he was a named a Distinguished Alumnus by the UConn School of Pharmacy Alumni Association. Also:
  • School of Pharmacy, Pharm.D. Commencement: Saturday, May 8, 9 a.m. in the Lewis B. Rome Ballroom. Joseph T. DiPiro, executive dean of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina, and the Medical University of South Carolina. He is editor of The American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. DiPiro was president of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, is a fellow of the college, and has served on the Research Institute’s Board of Trustees.
  • Bachelor of General Studies: Saturday, May 8, 1 p.m. at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Julie Armstrong Muth, director of nursing/quality at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Payne Whitney, Manhattan, will be the speaker. Throughout her 35-year nursing career she has had held many positions at facilities in New York state as well as Stamford Hospital and New Milford Hospital. She earned her BGS in 1995 and a master’s degree in 2008, both from UConn.

Over the next several weeks, UConn Today will feature profiles of a number of outstanding graduating students, both undergraduate and graduate.