Tag Archive for commencement

Aaron, Autry, Shinohara Honored with the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Every spring, Wesleyan recognizes outstanding faculty with three Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching.

This year’s recipients include Gloster Aaron, associate professor of biology, Robyn Autry, associate professor and chair of sociology, and Keiji Shinohara, artist-in-residence.

Made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., Hon. ’85, these prizes underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, who are responsible for the University’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.

Rosenthal to Receive Baldwin Medal

Rob Rosenthal

Rob Rosenthal

At the University’s 188th Commencement on May 24, Wesleyan will present the Baldwin Medal, the highest award of the Alumni Association, to Rob Rosenthal, John Andrus Professor of Sociology, Emeritus.

The Baldwin Medal pays tribute to the late Judge Raymond E. Baldwin ’16, the only man to have held the offices of Connecticut governor, U.S. senator, and chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. First awarded Sept. 20, 1981, during the opening convocation of Wesleyan’s Sesquicentennial, the Baldwin Medal is the highest honor Wesleyan’s alumni body presents for extraordinary service to Wesleyan or for careers and other activities that have contributed significantly to the public good.

Rosenthal served as Wesleyan’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs from 2010 to 2013, and as director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life from 2014 to 2017. He returned to serve as interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs again from July 2019 through May 2020.

Wesleyan to Hold Virtual Commencement Ceremony on May 24

monogramWesleyan’s 188th Commencement Ceremony, honoring the graduating Class of 2020, will be held through a virtual setting at noon on May 24.

(View the Commencement website here.)

The commencement address, honorary degree recipients, and the senior class address will be pre-recorded and offered for viewing on Commencement Sunday. The conferral of degrees and remarks made by Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 will be presented live. The Binswanger Awards for Teaching will be presented on a future occasion.

The Class of 2020 will be invited back to campus next year for an in-person ceremony.

“We will miss the marching, the music, and the mortarboards in the air,” President Roth wrote in a campus-wide email on May 6. “Nonetheless, there will be much to celebrate: primarily, the resiliency of our seniors and our graduate students who managed to hold the course in the face of unforeseen difficulties and disappointments.”

A formal e-invitation to graduating students and their families and the Wes community is forthcoming.

“Normally at Commencement, celebrants sit close together on Andrus Field, or up behind the podium on Denison Terrace or over on Foss Hill,” Roth said. “May 24 will be different, but even if we sit far apart from one another, the power of togetherness will be strong.”

Wesleyan Announces 2020 Honorary Degree Recipients

At the University’s 188th Commencement on May 24, Wesleyan will present honorary degrees to three recipients whose work exemplifies inclusive engagement.

Jacqueline Woodson, an award-winning and best-selling author, is this year’s speaker. Actor and political activist Bradley Whitford ’81 and William Joseph Barber II, a social justice advocate and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, will also be honored. The recipients were chosen on the basis of their significant contributions to civic life in the United States, including the example they set in bringing new voices into the public sphere and spurring others to productive dialogue and action.

“I am honored to celebrate at Commencement three remarkable individuals whose work has educated people across the country,” President Michael Roth ’78 said. “Through their creative and inspiring contributions, they empower and encourage us to work toward creating a better world.”

Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

Wesleyan will present three honorary doctorates at the University’s 185th Commencement on May 28. The distinguished writer Claudia Rankine will deliver the Commencement address. Wesleyan will also honor Jo Handelsman, former associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Cristina Jiménez, executive director and co-founder of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country. The Baldwin Medal, the highest award of the Alumni Association, will be presented to John ’62 and Gina Driscoll.

Claudia Rankine
Poet, essayist and playwright, Claudia Rankine is the recipient of numerous awards for work described as fearless in its pursuit of new directions in American poetry.

Bryan A. Stevenson Named Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

Wesleyan will present three honorary doctorates at the University’s 184th Commencement on May 22, 2016. Bryan A. Stevenson, a staunch advocate for racial justice who has fought against inequities in our judicial system, will deliver the Commencement address. Wesleyan will also honor Patti Smith, a legendary singer and writer celebrated for her path-breaking music and powerful memoirs, and Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher known for his compelling work on cosmopolitanism, identity and ethics. The Baldwin Medal, the highest award of the Wesleyan Alumni Association, will be presented to John Usdan ’80, P’15, P’18, P’18.

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan A. Stevenson

Bryan A. Stevenson is a human rights lawyer who has dedicated his life to fighting racial injustice and discrimination in the criminal justice system. He is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based group that has won numerous legal challenges on behalf of the poor and incarcerated, including a historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling holding that life-without-parole sentences for children aged 17 or younger are unconstitutional.

Professor Stevenson also teaches at the New York University School of Law and founded the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in 1989 to help prisoners on death row, and the scope of its mission has expanded since.

Miranda ’02, Tatum ’75, Price to be Honorary Degree Recipients at Wesleyan’s 183rd Commencement

Wesleyan will honor three remarkable leaders in their fields with honorary degrees at the university’s 183rd Commencement on May 24, 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, an award-winning composer, lyricist, writer and actor, will present the Commencement Address. Wesleyan also will award honorary degrees to Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, president of Spelman College and an expert in race relations and higher education, and Michael Price, the longtime executive director of Goodspeed Musicals.

Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 (Photo courtesy of linmanuel.com)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 (Photo courtesy of linmanuel.com)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02
Lin-Manuel Miranda is the Tony and Grammy-winning composer-lyricist of Broadway’s In the Heights, which received four 2008 Tony Awards, with Miranda receiving a Tony Award for Best Score, and a nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. In The Heights was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The show’s first incarnation was staged at the ’92 Theater at Wesleyan in 2000. Miranda is also the co-composer/co-lyricist of Broadway’s Bring it On: The Musical, which received a 2013 Tony nomination for Best Musical. His latest stage work is Hamilton, a musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, which had its world premiere at the Public Theater in New York City in 2015.

Along with composer Tom Kitt, Miranda won the 2014 Creative Arts Emmy

Civil Rights Proponent Shaw ’76 to Deliver 2014 Commencement Address; Kraemer, White to Receive Honorary Degrees

Theodore M. Shaw ’76, one of the nation’s leading proponents of civil rights, will present Wesleyan’s Commencement address on May 25, the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s address here. Wesleyan also will award honorary degrees to Helena Chmura Kraemer, whose work in biostatistics has had a transformative impact on medicine and psychiatry, and to Hayden White, a distinguished theorist of history.

Theodore Shaw ’76

Theodore Shaw ’76

Theodore Shaw ’76

For decades Ted Shaw has been one of the nation’s strongest advocates for equity and inclusion in our society. In courts throughout the nation, including the U.S. Supreme Court, he has argued cases involving voting rights, education, housing discrimination, capital punishment, and civil rights. He played a key role in initiating and drafting the admissions policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger, and he has often testified before Congress and other legislative bodies.

He has worked with human rights lawyers in Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia, written numerous articles and opinion pieces for national publications, and has often provided expert commentary for television and radio shows.

He is professor of professional practice at Columbia University School of Law and is “Of Counsel” to Fulbright Norton Rose. For 23 years he served as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, concluding as director-counsel and president from 2004–2008. He obtained his law degree from Columbia Law School and started his career as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, he currently serves on the board of the Wesleyan University Center for Prison Education. He is a trustee emeritus of Wesleyan.

Bennet ’87, Ligon ’82, Richards P’13 Named 2012 Honorary Degree Recipients

President Michael S. Roth announced Wesleyan’s 2012 honorary degree recipients as follows:

I’m pleased to announce that U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87, a leading advocate for education reforms that support great teaching, will deliver the commencement address at the university’s 180th Commencement in May.

Our other honorary degree recipients at Commencement are also in the Wesleyan family: Glenn Ligon ’82, a multi-talented, nationally recognized artist; and Cecile Richards P’13, whose leadership of Planned Parenthood has helped to make the world safer and healthier.

Michael F. Bennet ’87

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.

Class Get-togethers, WESeminars, Graduation at 2011 Reunion & Commencement Weekend

The Parade of Classes begins at 11:15 a.m. May 20. The annual event is a popular event during Reunion & Commencement Weekend.

Celebrate graduating seniors and reminisce with former classmates during the 2011 Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 19-22.

This year, classes ending in “1” and “6” will celebrate their reunions, and the Class of 2011 will become Wesleyan’s 179th graduating class.

“As always, I’m looking forward to R&C – it’s such a fun and celebratory time for the entire Wesleyan community, with over 150 events during three days,” says Gemma Ebstein, associate vice president for external relations in University Relations. “In addition to another incredible array of WESeminars, we’ll enjoy great live music from Grammy-nominated Jazz singer Tierney Sutton ‘86, performances by WEStand-up alumni comedians and the Wesleyan Spirits and – of course – the traditional Friday and Saturday night parties. With reunion class gatherings, academic department open houses and the Festival on Foss Hill, there’s literally something for everyone. And the weekend culminates with Commencement where we’ll hear from legendary anthropologist and physician, Paul Farmer. If you haven’t made plans to join us for this memorable Wesleyan weekend, it’s not too late to register.”

Registration begins at 10 a.m. May 19 in Usdan University Center. Alumni, parents, students and families should check in for a final weekend schedule, meal tickets, a welcome packet, campus maps and more. Campus tours begin at 9 a.m. and noon on May 20 at the Office of Admission. The entire May 19 schedule is online here.

Wesleyan’s interactive and inspiring WESeminar program begins at 11:30 a.m. May 20 with the topic “How to Learn to Like the Art You Love to Hate.” WESeminars provide opportunities to revisit the classroom and experience firsthand the academic excellence that is the essence of Wesleyan, with presentations by scholars, pundits, and other experts in their fields. Programs run approximately 60 minutes, followed by audience Q&A.

Other topics this year include Immigration Policy, Principles and Politics; Space Weather; Community Partnership and Scholarship at Wesleyan; Re-Branding Russia; The Ocean’s Oddest Creatures; The Wesleyan Media Project’s 2010 Analysis of Political Advertising; Thinking Critically about the Environment; The State of Queer Connecticut; Negotiation Skills; Japanese Printmaking; Wesleyan Alumni in Philanthropy and Public Service; and many more.

Other key events on May 20 include a Welcome Picnic Lunch at 11:30 a.m.; Wesleyan Farmers’ Market at noon;

Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., 2011 Commencement Speaker

Paul Farmer is one of the founders of Partners In Health, an international health and social justice organization.

Dr. Paul Farmer, known worldwide for co-founding Partners In Health to serve the world’s poor, will receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address at Wesleyan University’s 179th Commencement in May.

Wesleyan’s other honorary degree recipients at Commencement include a legendary singer of the American Songbook, an alumnus envisioning the future of online journalism, and two local friends of the institution long dedicated to serving the Middletown community.

Hickenlooper, Simmons, Cavell, Winslow Receive Honorary Degrees

From left, Richard Winslow ’40; Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper; Wesleyan President Michael Roth; Wesleyan Board of Trustees Chair Joshua Boger '73, P'06, P'09; Stanley Cavell; and Ruth Simmons gather for a photo prior to the 2010 Wesleyan University Commencement Ceremony May 23. (Photo by Bill Burkhart).

John W. Hickenlooper ’74, MA ’80; Ruth J. Simmons; Stanley Cavell; and Richard Winslow ’40 received Honorary Degrees at the 2010 Commencement Ceremony May 23.

John W. Hickenlooper received a Doctor of Laws, presented by Rob Rosenthal, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology. A geologist turned entrepreneur who had never run for political office (not even student council), Hickenlooper was elected mayor of Denver in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. In April 2005—less than two years into his first term—Time Magazine