Hartford community activist and gang intervention specialist Brother Carl Hardrick; healthcare industry leader and chair of the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation Robert E. Patricelli; and Bloomfield native and stage (Tony Award for Caroline, or Change) and screen (The Princess and the Frog, Dreamgirls) actress Anika Noni Rose will be the featured speakers and honorary degree recipients at Goodwin University’s Commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, at Rentschler Field, Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Goodwin president Mark Scheinberg will oversee the ceremony and Senior Vice President Todd Andrews will serve as master of ceremonies as an estimated 400 graduates receive their master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees.
Since the 1960s, Brother Carl Hardrick has served as a youth development leader, helping youths to stay away from gangs and providing them with life-changing alternatives. Currently employed by the Wilson Gray YMCA and in partnership with Hartford Communities That Care Crisis Intervention Team, Carl is a first responder to help shooting victims and their families. He coordinates his gang intervention strategies with Hartford Public Schools, Hartford Peace Builders, and Hartford Police Department. Carl was the founder and executive director of the Hartford Youth Peace Initiative, and has served on the boards of the Women’s League Daycare Center, the Upper Albany Neighborhood Collaborative, the Community Renewal Team, South Arsenal Neighborhood Development, the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprises, and the National Tenant Association. His numerous recognitions include Ambassador of Peace (National Leadership Council of Bridgeport), Achievement Against the Odds (National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise), and the Milton/Brown Equal Opportunity Award (Urban League of Greater Hartford). Brother Carl was also the first to pilot a Violence Free Zone (VFZ) gang intervention and reduction program in Connecticut during the 1990s. Today, VFZ strategies guide the work of countless other intervention specialists throughout the state of Connecticut.
Robert E. Patricelli has spent over 50 years in leadership roles in the health care industry and in public service. He began his business life in health care in 1987 at Connecticut General Corporation and its successor, Cigna Corporation, culminating as president of Cigna’s health care group. In 1997 he left Cigna to begin a 30-year career as a serial entrepreneur with the founding of Value Health, Inc., which he and his team grew from a scratch start-up to a Fortune 1000 NYSE company that was acquired by Columbia HCA. In 2000, Bob founded and led Evolution Benefits, a benefits debit card company until its sale to a private equity firm in 2010. He later founded and was CEO of Women’s Health USA until its sale in 2017. He currently serves as Strategic Advisor at InTandem Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm. Bob’s public service activities started fresh out of law school as a White House Fellow in the first year of that program, then as Minority Counsel to a U.S. Senate subcommittee, then as Deputy Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and finally as Administrator of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration under President Ford. Most recently, Bob has served as the co-chair of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth in Connecticut, appointed by Governor Malloy in 2017. He is currently a member of the boards of the Ocean Exploration Trust (chair), the Bushnell Memorial Hall (former chair), and Hartford Promise (co-chair). He has served on the boards of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (chair), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Curagen Corporation (chair), Newman’s Own Foundation, Northeast Utilities, and Hartford Life. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose is currently the lead of Showtime’s Let The Right One In. She drew notice for her acclaimed performance as Regina in Netflix’s Maid, for which she was nominated as “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special” at the 2022 NAACP Image Awards. She also appeared in Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Lena Waithe’s horror anthology Them, and Little Fires Everywhere. Anika led the cast of BET’s The Quad for two seasons and starred in the film Everything, Everything based on the young adult novel by Nicola Yoon. Anika also hosted the third season of the I Podcast. Previously, Anika starred in History Channel’s adaption of Roots as Kizzy (NAACP Image Award nomination). Other television credits include Power, The Good Wife, The Simpsons, and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency for HBO. Her film credits include Dreamgirls (AFI Ensemble Award, SAG Award nomination, Grammy Award nomination), For Colored Girls, Half of A Yellow Sun, Everything, Everything, and Assassination Nation. Anika voiced Princess Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and The Frog, featuring the first African American Disney Princess. The film received three Oscar nominations and Anika became the youngest inductee to ever be honored as a Disney Legend. Anika won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in Caroline, or Change. Additional Broadway credits include A Raisin in the Sun, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and Footloose. Additional stage credits include Carmen Jones for which she won a Lucille Lortel Award, an AUDELCO award, and received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations and the New York Philharmonic’s production of Company. A nine-time NAACP Image Award nominee, she has voiced many audiobooks, and has performed all over the world, including singing at Carnegie Hall and the Vatican.
Students speakers include undergraduate representative Cheryl Joseffy (Bachelor of Science, Pubic Safety and Security) and graduate representative Marthe A. Annan Kingsley N. (Master of Science in Organizational Leadership). As of this writing, the University does not plan to enforce strict COVID protocols for graduates and their guests. Proof of vaccination or testing, wearing masks, or social distancing will not be required. The University respectfully reserves the right to adjust its policies as conditions warrant. Rain date for the event is Sunday, June 5 at 6 pm.
Further details about Commencement at https://www.goodwin.edu/commencement/