Honorary degree recipients and student speakers share passions for improving lives of others
Guest speakers and student representatives are expected to follow common themes as they address the graduates, trustees, faculty, staff, families, and friends at Goodwin University’s 2023 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 3, at Dunkin’ Park, 1214 Main St, Hartford, Connecticut. The ceremony will begin at 4 pm as an estimated 450 students receive their certificates and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. President Mark Scheinberg will deliver remarks to the graduates and provost Dr. Michael Pardales will serve as master of ceremonies.
Leading the graduate procession will be Damaris Elizabeth Florian, who will receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. A native of El Salvador, Ms. Florian proudly represents the Latino community and first-generation college students and is passionate about immigrant and minority rights. She has improved the lives of Salvadorean families by collecting funds, donating clothes, and helping them access clean water. Ms. Florian has served an integral member of Goodwin’s Educational Opportunity Program, where she led the Adult Advisory Committee, tutored peers, and volunteered at the on-campus Ann B. Clark Co-op.
The guest Commencement speakers, who will also receive honorary degrees from the University, are renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Fairview Capital Partners co-founder JoAnn H. Price.
Listed amongst the Most Influential People of 2021 by TIME100, Mr. Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice. Mr. Crump’s tireless advocacy has led to legislation preventing excessive force and developing implicit bias training and policies. He has represented families in high-profile civil rights cases including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Stephon Clark, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. He represented nine of the black women in the Holtzclaw Oklahoma City Police rape case in 2015 and worked on the precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case involving excessive police force against Robbie Tolan. Mr. Crump also represented the residents affected by poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, as well as the family of Henrietta Lacks in a landmark reparations case. Mr. Crump is president of the National Civil Rights Trial Lawyers Association and past-president of the National Bar Association. He was the first African-American chair of the Florida State University College of Law Board of Directors and is the founder and director of the Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute. In 2021, St. Thomas University College of Law announced the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice in his honor. He is a frequent contributor to MSNBC, CNN, and USA Today and author of Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People.
Ms. Price is co-founder and managing partner of Fairview Capital Partners, Inc. She is a member of Fairview’s investment committee and manager of all Fairview-sponsored funds. Prior to co-founding Fairview, Ms. Price served as president of the National Association of Investment Companies headquartered in Washington, D.C. Ms. Price serves on a number of national advisory committees and private equity advisory boards. Ms. Price also currently serves on the Howard University School of Business Board of Visitors, on the YMCA of Greater Hartford Board of Trustees, on the Wilson-Gray YMCA Board of Advisors, and on the Amistad Center for Art & Culture Board of Trustees. Additionally, Ms. Price serves on the boards of the Apollo Theater Foundation in New York City, Trinity Health of New England, Blue Hills Civic Association, 4-CT, and recently completed her term as chairperson of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Also delivering addresses at the Commencement ceremony will be graduate student Margaret Guillory-Allen and undergraduate Leslie Argueta Linares. Ms. Guillory-Allan enrolled at Goodwin in 2012 to pursue an associate degree. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in human services with honors and secured a position in housing assisting the homeless and those struggling with substance issues. At the June 3 ceremony, she will receive her master’s degree in education.
Ms. Argueta Linares came to Goodwin in 2019 through the Summer Bridge Program. She has been the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Student Life award, received her associate degree and will now graduate with her bachelor’s degree in Human Services. She has been heavily involved in the Goodwin community, helped organize Fresh Check days, food drives, service-learning activities, and outreach for the Ann B. Clark Co-op. Of her many experiences at Goodwin, Ms. Argueta Linares notes that her work at the Co-op was the most meaningful. She has gone on to be an instructor in the Goodwin University Magnet School System, where she continues to advocate for her students, their families, and her colleagues.
Note: members of the media are welcome to attend. Parking information at www.goodwin.edu/commencement. Media is requested to enter through the Charter Oak Community Room entrance at the corner of Main St. and Pleasant St. to pick up press packets and directions.