goodwin graduation speakers 2019

Actor, Activist Danny Glover to Speak at 2019 Commencement

Actor and activist Danny Glover will be the guest speaker and honorary degree recipient at the 2019 Goodwin College Commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 8. Mr. Glover is an award-winning actor, producer, and humanitarian with a performance career that spans more than 30 years. From his stage work, including Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys, to a vast film résumé, to hit television shows, Mr. Glover has distinguished himself as one of his generation’s most consummate actors. His performances in such classic motion pictures as The Color Purple, Witness, and Places in the Heart have showcased his versatility and brought him critical and audience acclaim. Honored with awards from the NAACP, BET, and SAG, he has also received several Emmy nominations for his work in such television hits as Lonesome Dove. Mr. Glover is a sought-after public speaker, delivering inspiring addresses on social justice, diversity, activism, and global citizenship to a wide range of audiences. Drawing from his expertise, he contextualizes contemporary issues and offers practical wisdom on building peace, unity, and democracy across racial, ethnic, and gender lines. Mr. Glover has also gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts. Internationally, he has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program, focusing on issues of poverty, disease, and economic development in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and as a UNICEF Ambassador.

Goodwin will also be conferring honorary degrees to LGBT rights and marriage equality activist Anne Stanback and Connecticut entrepreneur and philanthropist Curtis D. Robinson.

Anne Stanback was born in North Carolina into a family actively involved in the life and politics of the community. She graduated from Davidson College and attended Yale Divinity School. Ms. Stanback’s focus on liberation and feminist theologies impacted her activism. She saw working for justice as the crux of her faith, and her exploration of religion provided a foundation for approaching social issues. In the early 90s, she co-chaired the Connecticut Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights and helped pass the nation’s third nondiscrimination “Gay Rights Law.” She became Executive Director of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League and later of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund. In 1999, Ms. Stanback helped found Love Makes a Family (LMF), and in 2000 Connecticut became the first state to pass a second-parent adoption law without previous court action. LMF incorporated in 2000 with Ms. Stanback as founding president, focusing on marriage equality for same-sex couples. After years of work by Ms. Stanback and others, Connecticut became only the second state to win this fundamental right. A champion of equal rights for women and the LGBTQ community, Ms. Stanback has challenged the status quo. Her honors include the Harriet Tubman Award for Achievement in the Pursuit of Social Justice, GLAD’s Community Award, the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice, the Citizen for the Law Award, and induction into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

Curtis D. Robinson is owner, operator, and president of C&R Development Company, the largest minority construction management company in the East. He also owns eight shops at Bradley International Airport and is currently property manager of the Air Exchange. His other businesses include R&G Services, LLC, which operates the shuttle bus service at Bradley, and R&G Parking International, LLC. Mr. Robinson’s numerous charitable awards include the George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington Award from Tuskegee University. He and his wife, Sheila Durant-Robinson, founded the Curtis and Sheila Robinson Foundation. Together, they helped to raise the quality of life of thousands feeding, clothing, housing, and educating Connecticut’s poorest populations. Mr. Robinson is a board member for Trinity Health, New England, Connecticut Hospital Association, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts Overseers, Carson Scholars, and the National Cobb Institute. Curtis and Sheila founded the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity to address racial disparities. Since 2010, CDRCHE has reached over 15,000 men and women and saved the lives of more than 80 men with prostate cancer. In February, they launched the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Business and Innovation at Hebrew High School of New England. The principle purpose of the Center is for the high school to become the cornerstone of an academic and co-curricular college preparatory and entrepreneurship program. Mr. Robinson is completing an autobiography entitled From the Back of the Bus. The Curtis D. Robinson Story. Curtis and Sheila reside in Plantsville, Connecticut. They have seven children and 18 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Also speaking at the ceremony will be Connor Martin (Master of Science in Organizational Leadership) and Ralph Gagliardo (Bachelor of Science in Human Services).

Goodwin College will hold its 2019 Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, on the grounds of the River Campus, Riverside Drive in East Hartford, Connecticut. This year, Dr. Danielle Wilken, the College’s newly appointed provost, will serve as master of ceremonies and oversee the proclamation and investiture portions of Commencement. In a milestone first in the College’s 20-year history, master’s degrees will be awarded in Organizational Leadership and Nursing.

As of May 15, approximately 465 graduates are expected to take part in the ceremony to receive their certificates, and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.