Tag Archive for reunion and commencement

Whedon ’87, Carter ’88, Dresser ’63 Receive Honorary Degrees

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right,  awarded Majora Carter ’88, Jim Dresser ’63 and Joss Whedon ’87 with honorary degrees.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right, awarded Majora Carter ’88, Jim Dresser ’63 and Joss Whedon ’87 with honorary degrees.

During Wesleyan’s Commencement Ceremony on May 26, Wesleyan President Michael Roth awarded Joss Whedon ’87, Majora Carter ’88 and Jim Dresser ’63 with honorary degrees.

Joss Whedon ’87
Joss Whedon is an award-winning writer, director and producer and delivered the commencement address on May 26. He is the force behind such popular television shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and the 2012 superhero blockbuster film, The Avengers.

The son and grandson of successful television writers, Whedon was raised in New York and studied film at Wesleyan. After graduating, he landed his first TV writing job on the show Roseanne. He developed a script for the 1992 film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which in 1996 he adapted as the cult hit television show by the same name. Buffy ran for seven seasons; Whedon was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series in 2000. The spin-off from Buffy, titled Angel, ran for five seasons. He subsequently created the space-western TV show, Firefly, and a film of the same premise, Serenity, which won a 2006 Hugo Award.

Whedon also wrote and co-wrote on numerous films, including Toy Story (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award)In 2008, he produced a short web-exclusive musical comedy, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which won an Emmy Award and a Hugo Award, among other honors.

In April 2012, The Avengers, a live-action adaptation of the Marvel Comics superhero team, directed and co-written by Whedon, had the biggest opening weekend of all time, and became the third highest-grossing film ever. He is currently writing and will direct the sequel. Most recently Whedon directed a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

In 2009, Whedon delivered the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns keynote address at Wesleyan. In 2010, he was honored by the Producers Guild of America with its Vanguard Award, which recognizes achievements in new media and technology.

Majora Carter ’88

Majora Carter '88 and Wesleyan President Michael Roth. (Photos by John Van Vlack)

Majora Carter ’88 and Wesleyan President Michael Roth. (Photos by John Van Vlack)

Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategist who works to make communities more livable, healthy and green through infrastructure projects, policies, and job-training and placement systems. She is a MacArthur “genius” Fellow and has received numerous other accolades from organizations as wide ranging as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Center for American Progress, and Goldman Sachs. Fast Companynamed her one of the 100 most creative people in business.

Today, Carter is president of the Majora Carter Group, an economic development consulting and planning firm that works across the United States and internationally. But she got her start as a force for change in the neighborhood where she grew up: the South Bronx.

In 2001, Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit organization dedicated to resolving environmental inequality issues—ensuring that no one community has to bear a higher environmental burden with fewer environmental benefits than any other—through innovative, economically sustainable projects informed by community needs. As executive director (until 2008), she oversaw the construction of the award winning Hunt’s Point Riverside Park, the South Bronx’s first new waterfront park in 60 years; the design of the South Bronx Greenway, for which she obtained federal funding; and development of the Green-Roof project and policy initiatives that led to tax-abatements for property owners who adopt this sustainable building practice. In 2003, Carter pioneered one of the country’s first urban “green collar” job training and placement programs, influencing how economic and environmental issues across the country are addressed.

Carter’s TED talk was one of the first six to launch TED’s groundbreaking website. She has been widely featured in the media, including in The New York TimesMarketplace, and NBC Nightly News and has produced her own shows for Sundance Channel as well as her nationally broadcast, Peabody Award-winning public radio series, The Promised Land.

Jim Dresser ’63
The family history of Jim Dresser ’63 is deeply intertwined with that of Wesleyan. His great-grandfather taught classics at Wesleyan for almost 40 years in the 19th century; his grandfather, grandmother, great-aunt, father, sister and son all graduated from Wesleyan. And his commitment to the school is unparalleled. Dresser headed the annual fund, led the alumni association, and served on the Board of Trustees for 15 years, including a four-year term as chair of the Board. He also stepped in temporarily to fill critical positions at Wesleyan, serving as Interim Vice President of University Relations and Vice President of Finance and Treasurer. In recognition of his remarkable service to Wesleyan, the baseball diamond on Andrus Field was named the “Dresser Diamond” in May 2010. It was a fitting honor; Dresser is an avid baseball fan and softball player, and his grandfather (class of 1908) was captain of Wesleyan’s baseball team.

As chair of the Board of Trustees, Dresser led the search process that resulted in the arrival of Michael Roth ’78 as Wesleyan’s 16th president. He also worked with the Board to raise gifts to the University’s endowment. Dresser led the Board in dealing with the financial crisis of 2008, helping the University to streamline its expenditures and explore possibilities for additional revenue. On the Board, he was known for his inclusive leadership style and his dedication to involving students and faculty.

For many years Dresser was a senior vice president and chief administrative officer at The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm and a leading advisor on business strategy.

President Roth Makes Remarks at Commencement Ceremony

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks during the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony May 26.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks during the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony May 26.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 made the following remarks during the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony:

“Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty class of 2013, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

During your four years here, Wesleyan has been largely isolated from many of the troubles of this world. While you have been students, the United States has been engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on this Memorial Day Weekend, I begin by asking us all to take a moment to remember that these wars have cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians in those countries.

Economic times have been difficult as well. When you first arrived, in the fall of 2009, the global economy was reeling from the most massive disruption since the Great Depression. Unemployment in this country quickly skyrocketed and is now only slowly receding, while the distance between the very wealthy and the average American has increased enormously. 2009-2013 has been a good time to be in a bubble—even a pretty leaky bubble like our own here on campus. You have spent four years taking advantage of an education devoted to boldness, rigor, and practical idealism, and now as I speak to you for your last time as students, I’d like to underscore three ideals that I hope you will take with you and make practical in your lives going forward: non-violence; diversity; and equality.

Swartz ’13 Delivers Senior Class Welcome

Anna Swartz ‘13 delivered the Senior Class Welcome at the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony.

Anna Swartz ‘13 delivered the Senior Class Welcome at the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony.

Anna Swartz ’13 delivered the following remarks during the Senior Class Welcome on May 26:

Right before I left for Wesleyan for the first time, Ruth, my ninety-year-old neighbor warned me “Make the most of it, college is the best time of your life.” I took her advice to heart, it seemed smart to trust a woman who had done so much living, and I arrived at Wesleyan filled with the loftiest dreams, the highest expectations, ready for my life to be changed.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that college isn’t just about what Wesleyan could give to me, it wasn’t just about showing up and getting the full, packaged collegiate experience, I had to do the changing too. So I opened myself up, along with my classmates, and Wesleyan delivered.

This school took us to the sepia-soaked worlds of Hollywood classics, to the energetic drum circles of West Africa, the desolate moors of the Brontës and the cinderblock hallways of Cheshire Correctional Institute, where the students there looked at us and said “We are Wesleyan too.” We read the Romantics and the Modernists, we saw Judith Butler and Antonin Scalia, we woke up early to hike Mount Higby, and stayed late after class to talk to our professors.

Video Highlights of Whedon’s Address, Reunion, Commencement

Wesleyan alumni reunited with classmates, attended WESeminars, toured campus, visited with former professors, and congratulated the Class of 2013 during Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 23-26. On May 26,Wesleyan awarded 785 bachelor degrees; 30 master of arts degrees; 30 master of arts in liberal studies degrees; and 21 doctor of philosophy degrees:

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Award-winning writer, director, and producer Joss Whedon ’87 delivered the Commencement Address during the 181st Commencement Ceremony:

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WESeminars, Campus Parties, Reunions, Graduates at R&C Weekend

Join the Wesleyan community for Reunion & Commencement Weekend 2013.

Join the Wesleyan community for Reunion & Commencement Weekend 2013.

Reunite with classmates, attend WESeminars, tour campus, visit with former professors, and congratulate the Class of 2013 during Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 23-26.

Seniors and their families are invited to join alumni for the traditional Parade of Classes at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 25.

Seniors and their families are invited to join alumni for the traditional Parade of Classes at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 25.

“Reunion & Commencement is such a fun and celebratory time for the entire Wesleyan community,” said Deana Hutson, director of events for University Relations. “There really is something for everyone. We have more than 150 events planned over the course of three days.”

In addition to another incredible array of WESeminars, Hutson recommends attending the traditional Friday and Saturday night parties, reunion class gatherings, academic department open houses and the Festival on Foss Hill.

On Friday night, alt-rock icon Amanda Palmer ’98 will perform a benefit concert for financial aid (buy tickets here). The weekend culminates with the 181st Commencement Ceremony where campus guests will hear from award-winning writer, director, and producer Joss Whedon ’87.

Other highlights will include several reunion class receptions and dinners, a Red, Black and Green All-College Dinner, stargazing at the Van Vleck Observatory, a volunteer breakfast, a tour of the Freeman Family Garden, a SteveSongs Concert, Thesis Art 2013 Exhibition, a gathering for graduating seniors and their grandparents, Senior Voices, the traditional All-College Sing, the Phi Beta Kappa initiation, Anugerah: Student Performance Showcase, and much more.

WESeminar topics include Approaches to Social Innovation, Wesleyan’s Partnership with Coursera, Mountaintop Removal Mining, the Grateful Dead at Wesleyan, Getting Published, the Art and Science of Mediating Complex Matters, Marriage Equality, the Art of Collaboration, Travel, Protest Posters Today, Hometown Security, Super Frog Saves Tokyo and more.

View the full schedule, by day, at this website.

This year, Wesleyan is expanding its bottled water elimination efforts through a Feet to the Fire: Earth and Justice for All campus initiative. Two student-designed water stations will deliver filtered and chilled water to Reunion & Commencement guests at the All-College Picnic and Commencement Ceremony. Learn more about this and other R&C sustainable efforts online here.

FAQs about R&C Weekend are online here.

713 Undergraduates Receive Wesleyan Degrees at Commencement (with photos, videos)

Seven-hundred-and-thirteen undergraduates received degrees during Wesleyan's Commencement Ceremony May 27.

Note: Links to Reunion & Commencement speeches, photos and videos are below this article. Keep reading! 

The world is changing at a dizzying pace and uncertainty is rising, but luckily, “Wesleyan has prepared you to live and thrive in this unpredictable world,” U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87 told the Class of 2012 in his Commencement Address. “This is a school that rewards curiosity. It challenges you to test [your] assumptions. It encourages flexibility—of mind, of approach, even of body, if you took that class in acrobatic yoga. Wesleyan has taught you that having a plan counts for less—a lot less—than having your bearings when that plan falls apart.”

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87.

An honorary doctor of laws was conferred upon Bennet at the 180th Commencement Ceremony at Wesleyan University on Sunday, May 27. The ceremony took place on Andrus Field under sunny skies. This year, Wesleyan awarded 713 Bachelor of Arts degrees; 22 Master of Arts degrees; 44 Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degrees; three Master of Philosophy degrees; and 13 Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Bennet—son of Wesleyan President Emeritus Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94—was elected to his first full term in the U.S. Senate in November 2010. Formerly as the Denver Schools Superintendent, and now as a member of the Senate Education Committee, he has been a tireless advocate for bold, locally driven changes to public education that would ensure every child is prepared to compete in a rapidly changing economy. Senator Bennet also previously served as chief of staff to then-Denver Mayor, now Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper ’74, where he helped balance a historic budget deficit and make city government more responsive to Denver residents. After graduating from Wesleyan, Bennet earned a law degree from Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal.

In his Commencement Address, Bennet described his experiences with two critical institutions—the U.S. education system and political system—that are overdue for “disruptive, transformative change, and reinvention.”

“You generation has so many more opportunities to lead, to make change, than the Class of 1987 ever did. So many more means to uproot entrenched interests… to discard worn-out assumptions… to overcome obstacles to progress,” he told the graduates. He urged them to channel their “Wesleyan impatience […] with the silliness and downright cruelties of the status quo” to address such pressing issues as energy, education, poverty and inequality in America.

Happy graduates.

“…some period of public service—teaching might be a good idea—is the debt you owe our country for the privilege of attending this remarkable university,” Bennet said.

Honorary degrees also were conferred upon Glenn Ligon ’82—an artist known for his series of text-based paintings, which draw on the writings and speech of individuals such as Jean Genet, Zora Neale Hurston, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin and Richard Pryor—and Cecile Richards P’13, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

At the ceremony, two individuals were presented with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal: Bruce C. Corwin ’62, chairman and CEO of Metropolitan Theatres Corporation, and William “Bill” Wasch ’52, P ’84, formerly Wesleyan’s director of development and director of alumni programs, and founder of a consulting firm that specializes in customized housing options and personalized services for older adults. The Baldwin Medal, named for the late Judge Raymond E. Baldwin ’16, is the highest honor Wesleyan’s alumni body presents for extraordinary service to the school, or for careers and other activities which have contributed significantly to the public good.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, second from left, congratulates Binswanger Prize recipients, from left, Richard Adelstein, Nathanael Greene and Tula Telfair.

In addition, the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics Richard Adelstein, Professor of History Nathanael Greene, and Professor of Art Tula Telfair. Also recognized at the ceremony were retiring faculty members John Biddiscombe, director of athletics; Joseph Bruno, professor of chemistry; Howard Needler, professor of letters; and Wallace “Pete” Pringle, professor of chemistry.

In his remarks, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth pointed to a number of remarkable accomplishments by Wesleyan students—both in the classroom and out in the world. “We want you to remember the pleasure of the camaraderie and openness that have characterized the Wesleyan community to which you will always belong. We want you to remember these pleasures, the feelings of freedom and accomplishment, because we believe that these will stimulate you to continue to be bold, to be rigorous, and to nurture your practical idealism,” he said. “This may not be as easy as you imagine. From all around you will come calls for a practicality that is not so idealistic—calls to be more serious, more attentive to ‘the real world.’ Make no mistake: these are really calls for conformity, demands for conventional thinking that, if heeded, will impoverish your, and our, economic, cultural and personal lives.”

Yet Roth said he has faith that the graduates will “gratefully acknowledge those who have sacrificed to nurture you, to guide you, and to protect your freedoms. I trust you will act to reduce violence in the world around us, especially those forms of violence that target the most vulnerable. I trust that you will practice forms of thinking that create opportunity rather than defend inequality and privilege. I trust you will resist the temptations of conformity even as you reject puerile and narcissistic displays of separateness. I have this trust because I have seen what you can do.”

Kennedy Odede '12 delivered the Senior Class Welcome.

In his Senior Class Welcome, Kennedy Odede ’12 described his journey from growing up very poor in Africa’s largest slum, Kibera, to Wesleyan. He recalled his puzzlement early on over things other students take for granted: how to work a printer or use a shower, how money could be stored on a little piece of plastic known as a “Wes Card.” He used to sprint from class to the dining hall to ensure he would get something to eat before the food ran out. One day, a classmate explained to him that his concern was unfounded; food would be available until the lunch period was over.

“What struck me most about the class of 2012 was the kindness exhibited in explanations like this. Never before in my life had I felt valued. I always felt that growing up poor was something to be ashamed of, and at first I was scared to talk about my past. But then the class of 2012 showed me this kindness on many occasions,” Odede reflected. “I had arrived at an incredible place.”

Since his start at Wesleyan, Odede founded the nonprofit Shining Hope for Communities with Jessica Posner ’09, and built the tuition-free Kibera School for Girls.

“I believe we will only live in a better world if we are willing to take risks to make it a reality, only if we are willing to say, ‘Yes.’ My fellow graduates, I hope that we continue to say ‘Yes’ today, tomorrow and throughout our lives.”

The text of President Michael S. Roth’s address to the Class of 2012 graduates can be found here.

The text of the senior class welcome by Kennedy Odede ’12 can be found here.

The text of Senator Michael Bennet’s address can be found here.

Information on the Binswanger recipients can be found here.

Information on the Honorary Degree Recipients can be found here.

Information on the Baldwin recipients can be found here.

The entire Commencement 2012 photo gallery is online here and videos of the 180th Commencement Ceremony are online here.

The weekend also saw more than a thousand alumni converge on campus for Reunion. They were kept busy with more than 150 events, including such highlights as an Eclectic party featuring The Rooks; an all-college picnic and festival on Foss Hill; a 50th Reunion and President’s Reception for the Class of 1962; the traditional All-College Sing; and an Andrus Field Tent party featuring Kinky Spigot and the Welders. A number of WESeminars also provided alumni with opportunities to revisit Wesleyan’s excellent academic experience with presentations by scholars, pundits and other experts. Topics included mindfulness-based stress reduction; a sampling of Wesleyan alumnae performance artists; music and literature of the ‘60s; the Beman Triangle Archaeology Project; money, marketing and the media; the environment; highlights of the Israeli Film Festival, and much more.

Seth Davis ’72 of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., who is secretary of his class, attended his 40th reunion this year.

“One of my best friends from my college days was attending his first reunion,” Davis said. “ ‘Are they always this good?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘they are.’”

The entire Reunion 2012 photo gallery is online here.

The parent paparazzi and graduates.

Kennedy Odede '12 delivered the Senior Class Welcome.

Michael McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, served as Marshal of the Faculty. At right is Kennedy Odede '12.

Ellen Jewett '81, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, delivered the Board of Trustees Welcome.

The hat toss.

The Class of 2012.

The Class of 2012 parades onto Andrus Field from Foss Hill.

Wesleyan faculty members Wai Ku Chan, professor of mathematics, and Lori Gruen, chair and professor of philosophy.

Congratulations Class of 2012!

Odede ’12: From an African Slum to a Wesleyan Graduate

Kennedy Odede '12 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 180th Commencement Ceremony on May 27. (Photo by Nick Lacy)

Kennedy Odede ’12 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 180th Commencement Ceremony May 27:

Today, I stand before you as the first person from Africa’s largest slum to graduate from an American university.
For most of my life, I never imagined that one day I would be standing here.
For me, Wesleyan is HOPE.

You, the class of 2012, and my time at Wesleyan have changed me forever.

I grew up in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, where more than a million people live in an area the size of Central Park—without sewage systems, roads, running water, or access to basic rights like health care and education.

I was the oldest of eight children in a family that could not afford food, much less school fees. In Kibera, I dreamed of many things: food to eat, clean water to drink, safety from the violence, and relief from oppression that surrounded me.

Today, I want to tell you three stories about hope.

Adelstein, Greene, Telfair Honored with Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, second from left, congratulates Binswanger Prize recipients, from left, Richard Adelstein, Nathanael Greene and Tula Telfair. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Three Wesleyan faculty received The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching during the 2012 Commencement on May 27. The Binswanger Prize was inaugurated in 1993 as an institutional recognition of outstanding faculty members. The award is made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., HON ’85

The standards and criteria for the annual prizes shall be excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion. Recommendations may be based on any of the types of teaching that are done at the university including, but not limited to, teaching in lecture courses, seminars, laboratories, creative and performance-based courses, research tutorials and other individual and group tutorials at the undergraduate and graduate level.

This year’s recipients are as follows:

Richard Adelstein, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics
Richard Adelstein has an S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and received an M.A.T. from Harvard University, and a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and its Law School. He has taught economics and social studies at Wesleyan since 1975. He has spent sabbatical years as a visiting scholar at Oxford University, Harvard University, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and as a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Munich.

Senator Bennet Delivers 2012 Commencement Address

Senator Michael Bennet '87 delivered Wesleyan's 180th Commencement Address. (Photo by Nick Lacy)

Senator Michael F. Bennet ’87 presented the Commencement Address on May 27:

Thank you, Board of Trustees… President Roth… proud parents and families…the entire Wesleyan community, and of course, once again, the brilliant graduates of 2012.

Brilliant, yes—but, as Kennedy said, no matter how brilliant, not one of you got here by yourself. So, in the most important moment of this day, let’s hear you say thank you.

A round of applause for everybody who got you here.

Senator Bennet received an honorary degree during the 2012 Commencement Ceremony.

A quarter of a century ago (and by the way, it was about 20 degrees hotter), I looked up at this podium and saw one of America’s greatest comedians: Bill Cosby.

Today, you face Colorado’s junior senator.

I’m not sure what that means for Wesleyan’s U.S. News and World Report ranking, Mr. President, but it cannot be good.

Nevertheless, I accept this honorary degree, much as I accepted my bachelor’s degree: with gratitude… and disbelief.

Because I know I don’t have what it takes to earn a real one here these days.
Sitting among you are classmates who have taught local elementary and high school kids, worked to prevent water-related illnesses in Bangladesh, and notched the most basketball wins in 110 years.

You have classmates who have worked to stop bullying in Middletown… who have burst out of Eclectic and onto the national music scene… and who, in the person of the remarkable Kennedy Odede, and Colorado’s own Jessica Posner, Class of [2009], have opened a school for girls and transformed a community in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum.

It all makes a person wonder: what in the world will you people do for an encore?

President Roth Addresses Graduating Seniors

Wesleyan President Michael Roth addressed the Class of 2012 during the 180th Commencement Ceremony May 27. (Photo by Nick Lacy)

President Michael S. Roth’s remarks:

Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty Class of 2012, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

When most of you began your Wesleyan education in the fall of 2008, the world was in a precarious state. It was an odd time to be investing in the future. But that’s what education is, as Kennedy said: a hopeful investment in the future. When you began here, America was waging two distant wars, the twisted legacies of a vicious attack on our country that took place when most of you were still in middle school. Today America has ended combat operations in Iraq and announced our intention to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan in the next two years. It is Memorial Day weekend, a time to reflect on the sacrifices that so many have made on behalf of our country, as we also reflect on the civilian lives that have been lost during these conflicts. We remember, but what shall we do with these memories?

In the fall of 2008 our country was headed toward the most significant economic dislocation since the Great Depression. Gigantic financial institutions that had ingeniously found ways to make enormous amounts of money, while claiming to have mastered risk with casino-like schemes, were suddenly calling loudly for government help. The entire financial system seemed to be on the brink of collapse, and through a series of measures designed to restore some basic stability to our economic life, the Federal government averted an even greater disaster than the one which has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, their homes and their hopes for the future. We can recall those who suffer still in this economy, even as a fortunate few reap huge rewards. We remember, but what shall we do with these memories?

Bennet ’87, Ligon ’82, Richards P’13 Receive Honorary Degrees at Commencement

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, second from left, awarded Cecile Richards P’13, Michael Bennet ’87 and Glenn Ligon ’82 with Wesleyan honorary degrees. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

During the 2012 Commencement Ceremony on May 27, Wesleyan President Michael Roth awarded  U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87, Glenn Ligon ’82, and Cecile Richards P’13 with honorary degrees.

Michael F. Bennet ’87
Michael F. Bennet was elected to his first full term as U.S. Senator for Colorado in November 2010. He is a pragmatic and independent thinker who embodies the values of the western state he represents, and whose work has contributed to good in the world, in the best of the Wesleyan tradition.

As the father of three little girls, he is driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. He has been a tireless advocate – first as Denver Schools superintendent and now as a member of the Senate Education Committee – for bold, locally driven changes to public education that would ensure every child is prepared to compete in a rapidly changing economy.

His concern for the next generation has fueled his efforts to build bipartisan consensus around a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction. It has also informed his efforts to ensure the pharmaceutical drugs we take every day are safe and do not harm American families.

As Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, he led an innovative and inclusive reform effort that turned around failing schools and produced strong gains in reading, math, writing and science.