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News : Education May 11, 2011 - 12:59 PM

CSUS Commencement Ceremonies

By Connecticut State University System

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Accomplished leaders from the fields of business, national and state government, education, and journalism will be featured speakers this month as the Connecticut State University System – which includes Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities – conduct undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies beginning Friday, May 20 and continuing through Friday, May 27, 2011.

More than 6,000 students will be receiving degrees and certificates at the ceremonies.

Commencement speakers at the four universities, which together compose Connecticut’s largest state university system with approximately 36,600 students, include former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland Leszek Balcerowicz, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Chief Executive Officer of Praxair Inc. Stephen Angel, Connecticut Higher Education Commissioner Michael Meotti and Bishop Theodore Brooks of New Haven. Also named as commencement speakers are veteran CBS News national correspondent Byron Pitts, ESPN vice president for programming and acquisitions Carol Stiff (a graduate of Southern), and former NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist and sports executive Allan Houston.
Highlights of the commencement ceremonies and speakers are as follows:
Western Connecticut State University’s graduate commencement will be held on Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m. in the Stephen Feldman Arena, William A. O’Neill Athletic and Convocation Center, on the Westside campus. The graduate ceremony speaker will be Stephen Angel, chairman and chief executive officer of Praxair. Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2010 sales of $10 billion. Angel is a director on the boards of PPG Industries, the U.S.-China Business Council and the American Chemistry Council. He also is a member of the Business Roundtable and the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

Western’s undergraduate commencement will be held on Sunday, May 22, at 10:30 a.m. in the Westside Athletic Stadium on the Westside campus in Danbury. Former New York Knicks star Allan Houston, now the team's assistant general manager, is the undergraduate commencement speaker. Houston was a member of the gold medal winning USA men's Olympic basketball team in 2000. He created the Legacy Foundation, which focuses on initiatives that restore a strong family unit, provide economic empowerment through entrepreneurship, encourage education and life skill development, and enhance spiritual growth.

Southern Connecticut State University’s undergraduate commencement will be on Friday, May 27 at 11:00 a.m. at the Connecticut Tennis Center. Byron Pitts, Chief National Correspondent for the CBS Evening News, will be the commencement speaker. He is a multiple Emmy award-winning journalist, and was an embedded reporter covering the Iraq War. Pitts was also CBS' lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the September 11th attacks and won an Emmy for his coverage. Pitts' achievements are all the more extraordinary when considering the many obstacles he faced as a child. Raised by a single mother in a working-class neighborhood in Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until the age of 12 and had a persistent stutter. Southern will award Pitts the President's Medal.

Southern’s graduate commencement on Thursday, May 26, will be split into two ceremonies for students receiving master’s degrees, sixth year professional diplomas, and doctoral degrees. Both ceremonies will be held in the John Lyman Center, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The commencement speaker at 2 p.m., for the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Health and Human Services, will be Carol Stiff, the vice president for programming and acquisitions in ESPN's programming department since April 2010. She previously was senior director, programming and acquisitions, a position she assumed in November 2005. Prior to joining ESPN, Stiff began her coaching career at Western Connecticut State University, where she served as head field hockey coach and assistant women's basketball coach from 1983-85. Stiff graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. While in school, she competed in both basketball and field hockey.

The commencement speaker at 7 p.m., for Schools of Education and Communication, Information, and Library Science, will be Bishop Theodore L. Brooks, Sr. Bishop Brooks is the pastor of Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church in New Haven. He is also 2nd Assistant presiding Bishop of The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. Bishop Brooks is also the President/CEO of Beulah Land Development Corporation, founded to create revitalized communities of choice in otherwise distressed communities via affordable housing, economic development and job opportunities. He has a B.A., M.A., and D. MIN, as well as a Ph.D. in religious studies.

Eastern Connecticut State University’s undergraduate commencement will be held on Sunday, May 22, at 10:00 a.m. in the XL Center in Hartford. This year’s speaker will be Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. Gov. Malloy was Stamford's longest serving Mayor, serving for 14 years from 1995 to 2009, and previously was a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York before returning to his native Stamford. He was elected Connecticut's 88th Governor in 2010.

Central Connecticut State University’s undergraduate commencement will be on Saturday, May 21, at 10:30 a.m. in the XL Center, One Civic Center Plaza, Hartford. This year’s speaker will be Leszek Balcerowicz, Professor of Economics at the Warsaw School of Economics. He is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Poland, and former Governor of the National Bank of Poland. He was awarded Poland's highest decoration - Order of the White Eagle - for his contribution to system transformation and is among the world's most renowned economists. At Central’s commencement, Dr. Balcerowicz will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Central’s graduate commencement will be held Thursday, May 26, at 7:00 p.m. in the Welte Hall on Central’s campus.The speaker will be Connecticut’s Commissioner of Higher Education Michael Meotti. As commissioner, Meotti works closely with policy makers and education officials to develop guiding policies for Connecticut’s higher education system. Before becoming commissioner, Meotti was also involved in public policy as President of United Way of Connecticut, President of the Connecticut Policy and Economic Council and a member of the Connecticut State Senate.
More information regarding the CSUS commencements is available at


Friday, May 20
Western Connecticut, 7:00 p.m. – Stephen Angel
Feldman Arena

Saturday, May 21
Central Connecticut, 10:30 a.m. – Leszek Balcerowicz
XL Center, Hartford

Sunday, May 22
Eastern Connecticut, 10:00 a.m. – Dannel Malloy
XL Center, Hartford

Sunday, May 22
Western Connecticut, 10:30 a.m. – Allan Houston
Westside Athl. Stad.

Thursday, May 26
Central Connecticut, 7:00 p.m. – Michael Meotti
Welte Hall

Thursday, May 26
Southern Connecticut, 2:00 p.m. – Carol Stiff
Lyman Center

Thursday, May 26
Southern Connecticut, 7:00 p.m. – Theodore Brooks
Lyman Center

Friday, May 27
Southern Connecticut, 11:00 a.m. – Byron Pitts
CT Tennis Center

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