President Joe Biden to Visit UConn for Dedication of Dodd Center for Human Rights

'We are deeply honored that President Biden is joining us as we dedicate ourselves to extending the Dodd family legacy'

The exterior of the Dodd Center building.

President Joe Biden will visit UConn to participate in a ceremony rededicating The Dodd Center for Human Rights. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

President Joe Biden will join former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd and other dignitaries at UConn Storrs on Friday, Oct. 15 to mark the dedication of The Dodd Center for Human Rights.

The Dodd Center for Human Rights will serve as an umbrella home for the University’s rich and diverse human rights programs, including the Human Rights Institute (HRI) and Dodd Impact. It had been known as the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center since its opening in 1995, and UConn’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously in August to authorize its dedication as the Dodd Center for Human Rights.

“UConn is honoring over a half-century of public service of Connecticut’s father and son U.S. senators, Thomas J. Dodd and Christopher J. Dodd, as well as the commitment of the Dodd family to supporting the growth and development of UConn’s widely recognized human rights academic, research, and engagement programs,” UConn Interim President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi says.

“We are deeply honored that President Biden is joining us as we dedicate ourselves to extending the Dodd family legacy,” he says.

Although the event is open only by invitation, it will be broadcast on a livestream feed for public viewing.

The event will be titled “Human Rights for the Next Generation.” President Biden, Senator Dodd, and President Agwunobi will be joined by UConn students, faculty, and staff as well as members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation, Governor Ned Lamont, the UConn Board of Trustees, and others.

Like his father, Senator Christopher J. Dodd has dedicated his life to serving the people of Connecticut and defending fundamental rights and freedoms in the U.S. and worldwide.

He has been a consistent voice for the values of human rights and the rule of law, from his Peace Corps volunteer service in Latin America to his early days in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, when he worked to end the abuses of human rights in Central America.

“I’m deeply grateful to UConn for recognizing me and my family by dedicating The Dodd Center for Human Rights, and I’m honored that my good friend President Biden is joining us to mark this occasion,” Senator Christopher J. Dodd says.

“Given the challenges we face as a nation and as a global community, I am delighted that the Dodd Center will be a place where students, experts, advocates, and others can come together and work toward a more just world,” he adds.

“Our work through Dodd Impact is about just that: Making an impact. Human rights can and should make a difference in the communities on and off campus, globally and close to home,” says Glenn Mitoma, director of Dodd Impact at UConn and an assistant professor of human rights and education.

The Human Rights Institute has the largest undergraduate and graduate human rights program at a public university in the United States: “We are educating and mentoring the next generation of human rights leaders,” says Daniel Weiner, UConn’s Vice President for Global Affairs and a professor of geography.

The center, which opened in 1995, was originally named for the late Senator Thomas J. Dodd, a lead prosecutor for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg after World War II and a strong advocate for human rights throughout his Senate career.  Senator Christopher Dodd worked with the University to conceive, fund, and build the center to preserve and extend his father’s human rights legacy.

The Dodd Center for Human Rights will continue to be home to the Archives and Special Collections of the UConn Libraries, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the Human Rights Institute.

UConn’s human rights research, teaching, and engagement is “predicated on the commitment of more than 40 engaged faculty members located across the university working together to build an unparalleled program,” says Kathryn Libal, director of the Human Rights Institute and a UConn associate professor of social work and human rights.


More information about the event can be found at: