Undergraduate Commencement Speakers in the 2000s

2000 - May 20

Christopher J. Dodd

Dodd (D-Conn.) was the state's senior U.S. senator.

2001 - May 19

Rod Paige

Paige was U.S. Secretary of Education; former Superintendent of Schools, City of Houston (1994-2001); and 2001 National Superintendent of the Year.

2002 - May 18

John G. Rowland

Rowland was governor of Connecticut (R-Conn. 1995-2004) and a former U.S. Congressman (R-Conn. 3rd Dist.)

2003 - May 17

Les Paine

Paine was a reporter and columnist with Newsday and was a member of the UConn Class of 1964.

2003 - December

Franklin Chang-Diaz

Chang-Diaz was an astronaut and a member of the UConn Class of 1973. He delivered the first commencement address at a December ceremony.

2004 - May 8

John Rowe

Rowe was chair of the UConn Board of Trustees and chairman and chief executive officer of Aetna Inc.

2004 - December

Aryeh Neier

Neier was president of the Open Society Institute, a private grant-making foundation.

2005 - May 7

Eduardo Aguirre

Aguirre was the first director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (2003-2005) and U. S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra (2005-2009).

2005 - December 18

Robert Ballard

Ballard was a marine scientist and he discovered the wreck of H.M.S. Titanic in 1985. He also was head of the Mystic Aquarium Institute for Exploration, Mystic, Conn

2006 - May 6/7

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro

DeLauro, (D-Conn. - 3rd Dist), served on the Appropriations Committee, the Labor, Health and Human Services Committee, and the Education Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

2006 - December

Robert E. Diamond Jr.

Diamond was president of Barclays PLC and received an MBA at UConn in 1977.

2007 - May 5

Main Ceremony - Fay Weldon

Weldon was a British novelist, essayist, and screenwriter.

School of Fine Arts - Christopher Keen Donovan

Donovan was an Emmy-nominated director and technical director, and a member of the UConn Class of '69.

Neag School of Education - Ray Neag

Neag was a business leader and philanthropist and member of the UConn Class of 1956.

2007 - December 16

Charlotte Bunch

The ceremony was canceled due to inclement weather. The scheduled speaker, Bunch was founder and executive director of the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University.

2008 - May 10/11

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture - Roger Newton

Newton, a 1974 UConn graduate, was managing director of Esperance BioVentures and an adjunct associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

School of Business -Denis J. Nayden

Nayden, a UConn graduate (1976 BA, 1977 MBA), was managing partner of Oak Hill Capital, a private equity firm, and a member of UConn's Board of Trustees.

Center for Continuing Studies (BGS) - Valerie Lewis

Lewis was a former commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Connecticut.

Neag School of Education - U.S. Rep. John Larson

Larson, (D-1st Dist) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee, and was a former Connecticut state senator (D-3rd Dist.).

School of Engineering - Kevin Bouley and Paul Adams

Bouley was president and CEO of NERAC Inc., of Tolland, a global technology and IP advisory research firm; Adams was vice president of engineering at Pratt & Whitney.

School of Fine Arts: Joseph Volpe

Volpe was director of strategic development in the Theatre Projects Consultant's Connecticut office and former general manager of the Metropolitan Opera.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences: Rebecca Lobo

Lobo, a UConn graduate (Class of 1995, CLAS), was a women’s basketball broadcast analyst, an author, and a UConn trustee. She was the forward/center on UConn's 1995 undefeated national champion women’s basketball team.

School of Nursing: Peggy L. Chinn

Chinn was a UConn professor emerita of nursing and internationally renowned nurse theorist.

School of Pharmacy - Samuel Kalmanowitz

Kalmanowitz was an entrepreneur and UConn School of Pharmacy graduate (Class of 1961) who started his own community pharmacy in 1963 (Kaye’s Pharmacy, Meriden, Conn.).

2008 - December

Denis M. McCarthy

McCarthy was the retired chairman, CEO and president of Fidelity Management Trust Co., a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments. He received a bachelor’s degree at UConn in 1964, a master’s degree in 1965, was co-chair of UConn’s capital campaign, and was a member of the UConn Foundation board of directors.

2009 - May 9/10

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture - William Finch

Finch was mayor of Bridgeport and received a bachelor of sciences degree in agricultural economics at UConn in 1979.

School of Business - John Kim

Kim was president and chief executive officer of New York Life Investments and received his masters of business administration from UConn in 1987.

Center for Continuing Studies (BGS) - Chandler Howard

Howard was president and chief executive officer of Liberty Bank and received a bachelor of general studies degree at UConn in 1992.

Neag School of Education - Richard Schwab

Schwab was dean of UConn's Neag School of Education.

School of Engineering - Sharon Nunes

Nunes was vice president of Big Green Innovations at IBM.

School of Fine Arts - Gary English

English was a UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, artistic director of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, and head of the Department of Dramatic Arts.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - Timothy Shriver

Shriver was chairman and chief executive officer of Special Olympics and received his doctorate in special education at UConn in 1997.

School of Nursing - Eleanor Krohn Herrmann

Hermann was curator of the School of Nursing’s Josephine A. Dolan Collection of artifacts and emeritus professor of nursing.

School of Pharmacy - Jennifer Osowiecki

Osowieicki was a healthcare and litigation attorney and partner in the Hartford law firm of Cox & Osowiecki.


Information on the History of Commencement pages was researched and compiled by Mark J. Roy