Commencement at CCSU

Commencement at CCSU

Central Connecticut State University's annual Commencement Exercises are held each May at the XL Center in Hartford. In most years, a separate graduation ceremony for recipients of advanced degrees is held on campus at Herbert D. Welte Hall.

The ceremony is usually declared "open" by the president of CCSU's faculty senate. This is followed by the national anthem, sung by the CCSU University Singers, an invocation by a member of the campus ministry, greetings from state officials, and brief remarks from the president of the CCSU Alumni Association and from a student representing the graduands.

This is followed by a commencement address by a previously announced speaker, the singing of the Alma Mater, and the conferral of degrees. At Hartford commencements, a pair of announcers (often including professor Gil Gigliotti) read the names of each graduate present at the ceremony, after which the event ends with the drop of hundreds of balloons from the ceiling of the XL Center.[1] There is no ceremonial recession.

CCSU's Wind Symphony provides processional and incidental music before and during the ceremony. Both the Wind Symphony and University Singers perform under the direction of professors from CCSU's Department of Music.

The procession includes the University Mace (usually borne by the president of CCSU's faculty senate) and occasionally the University Staff. Peter J. Vernesoni, a CCSU graduate and professor from 1971 to 2003, designed and carved both of these artifacts.[2]

CCSU commencement speakers since 2005

CCSU's commencement speakers are often successful alumni such as Congressman John B. Larson (D-1st), CitiFinancial CEO Michael Knapp, and CCSU professor Kristine Larsen. The table below lists speakers since 2005.

academic year date a location address given by degrees conferred
2005-06 December 17, 2005 b CCSU John W. Miller, CCSU president graduate only
May 20, 2006 Hartford Bob Englehart, editorial cartoonist, the Hartford Courant undergraduate only
Thursday, May 25, 2006 CCSU Bob Englehart graduate only
2006-07 December 16, 2006 CCSU Denise L. Nappier, Connecticut State Treasurer all
May 19, 2007 c Hartford Joseph J. Grano, Jr., CEO, Centurion Holdings all
2007-08 May 17, 2008 Hartford M. Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut all
2008-09 May 23, 2009 Hartford Carol A. Ammon, founder, Endo Pharmaceuticals undergraduate only
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 CCSU Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., former Governor of Connecticut graduate only
The information in this table was compiled from CCSU's Commencement Exercises programs, 2005-2009.
Notes: (a) All dates are Saturdays unless noted otherwise. (b) Miller's investiture as president preceded the conferral of degrees. (c) Grano was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony.

Recipients of CCSU Honorary Degrees

CCSU has awarded 52 honorary doctoral degrees since 1985.[3] Awardees have included the CEOs or Chairmen of six major corporations, four U.S. Presidents, and heads of state of Canada, Germany, Hungary, and Poland.

awardee date degree*
Shigenori Adachihara Mayor, Atsugi City, Japan 05/23/1990 L.H.D.
Rt. Rev. Justice Akrofi Bishop of Accra, Ghana 05/18/2000 L.H.D.
Jozsef Antall, Jr. Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary 09/30/1991 LL.D.
Ernest L. Boyer President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 10/05/1987 L.H.D.
J. William Burns Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Transportation 01/03/1995 LL.D.
George H. W. Bush President of the United States 03/11/1999 LL.D.
George W. Bush President of the United States 04/18/2001 LL.D.
Alexander M. Butman Executive Director, Emergency Training Institute 04/28/1994 Sc.D.
Dave Campo Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys 05/22/1999 D.H.P.Ed.
Jimmy Carter President of the United States 04/16/1985 L.H.D.
Noam Chomsky Professor of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 11/04/2003 L.H.D.
Young Seek Choue Chancellor, Kyung Hee University 10/22/1991 L.H.D.
Chungwon Choue President, Kyung Hee University 05/23/1998 L.H.D.
Mong Koo Chung Chairman, Hyundai Precision and Industry Company 05/26/1989 L.H.D.
Simon A. Clarke Education Advisor to UNESCO 05/24/1991 L.H.D.
Lemuel Rodney Custis Capitan (Connecticut Tuskegee Airmen) 05/26/2001 L.H.D.
Donald W. Davis Chairman, The Stanley Works 05/26/1989 L.H.D.
Rainer Dieterich Universität der Bundeswehr, Hamburg 05/25/2002 Sc.D.
Bruno Ficili Commissioner of Education, Siracusa, Sicily 10/23/1996 L.H.D.
Gerald R. Ford President of the United States 03/23/1988 L.H.D.
Mary Hatwood Futrell President, National Education Association 10/04/1988 L.H.D.
Joseph J. Grano, Jr. Chairman and CEO, Centurion Holdings, LLC 05/19/2007 L.H.D.
Harry Jack Gray Chairman and CEO, United Technologies Corporation 05/17/1985 D.S.Sc
Edward T. Hall 1st Lieutenant (Connecticut Tuskegee Airmen) 05/26/2001 L.H.D.
E. Dorrit Hoffleit Senior Research Astronomer Emeritus, Yale University 10/20/1998 Sc.D.
Benjamin L. Hooks Executive Director, NAACP 05/20/1988 L.H.D.
C. J. Huang Chairman, C. J. Huang Foundation 05/10/1990 L.H.D.
F. Don James CCSU President Emeritus 10/16/2003 L.H.D.
Eric Jensen Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General, United Nations 05/27/1993 L.H.D.
Peter G. Kelly Senior Principal, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy 02/25/2003 LL.D.
Jeane Kirkpatrick United States Representative to the United Nations 04/04/1991 L.H.D.
Henry A. Kissinger Secretary of State of the United States 03/24/1987 D.S.Sc
Michael S. Knapp† President and CEO, CitiFinancial 05/25/2002 D.C.Sc.
Phyllis Macpherson-Russell† Minister of Education, Jamaica 12/04/1999 Sc.D.
Fran P. Mainella Director, National Park Service 05/23/2002 D.P.S.
Paul J.McQuillan Attorney, Januszewski, McQuillan & DeNigris 02/23/2004 D.C.J.
George J. Mitchell U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader 04/12/2000 LL.D.
Brian Mulroney Prime Minister of Canada 04/26/1994 D.S.Sc
Connie Nappier, Jr. Flight Officer (Connecticut Tuskegee Airmen) 05/26/2001 L.H.D.
Antonia Coello Novello Surgeon General of the United States 05/28/1993 Sc.D.
Vincent O’Leary President, State University of New York at Albany 05/28/1994 D.S.Sc
Rabbi Henry Okolica CCSU Campus Clergy 05/22/2003 D.P.S.
Irma Margarita Nevares de Rosselló First Lady of Puerto Rico 05/20/1999 L.H.D.
Franz J. Rothenbiller Lord Mayor of Rastatt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany 06/06/1991 L.H.D.
Helmut Schmidt Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany 04/28/1993 L.H.D.
Angelo Tomasso, Jr. Chairman and CEO, Tilcon, Inc 05/25/1990 L.H.D.
Francis T. Vincent, Jr. Commissioner, Major League Baseball 04/28/1992 L.H.D.
Cecile A. Walden Principal, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Montego Bay, Jamaica 05/27/2004 Ped.D.
Lech Wałęsa President of Poland 04/10/1996 L.H.D.
Bertram W. Wilson Lieutenant Colonel (Connecticut Tuskegee Airmen) 05/26/2001 L.H.D.
Andrzej Wiszniewski Rector, Technical University of Wrocław 05/28/1993 Sc.D.
Rt. Rev. Msgr. John Paul Wodarski Pastor Emeritus, Holy Cross Church, New Britain 04/29/1999 L.H.D.
Notes: † recipient is a CCSU graduate; * abbreviated degree names: D.C.J.: Doctor of Criminal Justice; D.C.Sc.: Doctor of Commercial Science; D.H.P.Ed.: Doctor of Health and Physical Education; D.P.S.: Doctor of Public Service; D.S.Sc: Doctor of Social Science; L.H.D.: Doctor of Humane Letters; LL.D.: Doctor of Laws; Ped.D.: Doctor of Pedagogy; Sc.D.: Doctor of Science.


  1. ^ Abel, Jennifer. Messages of hope heard at CCSU ceremony. New Britain Herald, 5/24/09. Retrieved on 2009-9-9.
  2. ^ Central Connecticut State University (May 17, 2008). Commencement Exercises, p. 34.
  3. ^ Central Connecticut State University (May 23, 2009). Commencement Exercises, p. 48-49.

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