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UConn to award over 7,000 degrees

Commencement ceremonies bringing numerous high profile speakers to campus

By Marissa Piccolo
On May 1, 2014

  • The graph above shows a breakdown of what degrees UConn will award this graduation season. The Daily Campus

The UConn Commencement Office is preparing for Commencement Weekend on Saturday, May 10 and Sunday May 11.
This year, according to numbers provided by the Registrar's Office and data gathered from the Office of Institutional Research, the university will award over 7,700 degrees.
The offices do not yet have a breakdown of the most popular graduating majors, however the numbers are expected to be similar to last year.
The total number of guests attending is expected to reach capacity per usual.
There will be 14 separate ceremonies in 2014. Many of this year's commencement speakers are UConn alumni. Peter R. Farina, Ph.D., will be speaking at the PharmD ceremony. He is an Executive in Residence at Canaan Partners and was senior vice president of development at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., and a strong advocate and supporter of NextGen Connecticut.
Liza Donnelly, speaking at the Graduate Ceremony, is a '76 alumna and cartoonist who has worked for The New Yorker and published author of "Sex and Sensibility: Ten Women Examine the Lunacy of Love in 100 Cartoons," "Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greater Women Cartoonists and their Cartoons," in addition to many children's books. Donnelly's books are available at the UConn Co-op bookstore.
Dr. Steve Omamo, who holds a Masters in Agricultural Economics from UConn, will be speaking at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources ceremony. After UConn, he attended Stanford University and went on to work in international food policy. Omamo has much experience with the United Nations, and currently works as the Director of Policy at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Kenya, Africa.
School of Business speaker Philip H. Lodewick, graduated with both a bachelor's in Science in Marketing and Master of Business Administration in 1967. He is not only the President of the Tradewell Corporation, but also serves on many boards and has done much in the non-profit sector. He is a member of A Better Change, a non-profit educational program that targets talented high school minority students in high schools, and founder of The Discovery Center, a nature science for youth program.
Kaitlin Roig Debellis, UConn '06, will be the School of Education commencement speaker. Debellis, who delivered a lecture on campus this past spring, is a Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher who, after the December 2013 tragedy, started Classes4Classes, a nationwide nonprofit organization that teaches kindness to students. She was named a Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year.
Richard Mastracchio will be delivering his speech to the Engineering class via a message from the space station. After graduating from UConn in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and computer science and receiving a Masters from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he began a career with NASA. He is currently orbiting the earth, and giving updates of his journey via his twitter, @AstroRM.
Sharon Louden, who is giving the address at the Fine Arts commencement is not a UConn alumna, however had studied in Connecticut at Yale University's School of Art after graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of Art Institute in Chicago, Ill. Her work has been written about in the New York Times, Art in America, Washington Post, and Philadelphia Inequier to name a few. She is the artist who designed "Merge," the permanent installation on the ceiling in Oak Hall.
The Bachelor of General Studies and Bachelor of Professional Studies commencement will hold Michael Bradford, the director of theatre students, and associate professor of playwriting at UConn
Philip "Uri" Tresiman will speak twice, both at the CLAS I and CLAS II ceremonies, and receive an honorary UConn degree. Tresiman's career has been dedicated to promoting and improving STEM education for students from traditionally under-represented socioeconomic groups.
Dr. Martin McNamara is Dean of Nursing at University College in Dublin, Ireland and will be delivering the Nursing address. McNamara was at UConn last April as the Keynote Speaker of the Athena Conference, and shared about the National End of Life program in Ireland.
The Undergraduate Pharmacy commencement will hear Debora Faucette, Pharmacy '90, who is a 2008 UConn Distinguished Alumni Award winner. After working in the industry for over 20 years, she is currently a self-employed independent consultant who provides both patient education and corporate training.
Dr. Richard Besser is ABC New's Chief Health and Medical Editor and will be speaking to the UConn Health Center. Before his time on television, Besser worked for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and both volunteered and workedd in the field of public health.
Lastly, Professor Barry Scheck will speak at the UConn Law School commencement. He is the co-founder of the Innocence Project, and has a strong record of non-profit legal work. Scheck has helped update safeguards for the accused, ensuring fair trials in a modern age. He has recently focused his research on DNA-testing.
More information about convocation and commencement can be found online at

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