FAIRFIELD, Conn.— Television journalist and author, Tom Brokaw, will deliver the commencement address at Sacred Heart University’s 52nd undergraduate commencement exercises on Sunday, May 13, at 10 a.m. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, degree. Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and former SHU trustee, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, degree.
The University’s graduate commencement will take place on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m., with Richard Edelman, president and CEO of the world’s largest public relations firm, delivering the address. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, degree. Marna Parke Borgstrom, CEO of Yale New Haven Health System and Yale New Haven Hospital, will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, degree.
Both ceremonies will be at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
The SHU class of 2018 includes 1,217 undergraduates who will have earned bachelor’s degrees and 1,130 graduate students who will have earned master’s degrees, professional certificates and doctorates.
Tom Brokaw spent his entire journalism career with NBC News, beginning in 1966 in the Los Angeles bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the rise of the ’60s counter culture, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign. Brokaw went to Washington as White House correspondent during Watergate. Next, New York and the TODAY show followed by his appointment as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. He took over Meet the Press for the 2008 campaign. He has an impressive list of firsts, including the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev and the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down. In 1998, Brokaw published his first book, The Greatest Generation, one of the most popular nonfiction books of the 20th century. He followed that with six other books, including the most recent, A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir. Brokaw has won every major award in his craft, including Peabody, duPonts, Emmys and lifetime achievement recognition. In 2014, Brokaw was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, the highest civilian award given to those who made “meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” In the spring of 2016, Brokaw was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for his work on advocacy for the accomplishments of World War II veterans.
McMahon was a longtime member of Sacred Heart’s board of trustees before her confirmation as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. As a member of President Trump’s cabinet, she advocates on behalf of the 30 million small businesses in America and works to ensure entrepreneurs have the support and tools they need to start, grow and succeed in business. An entrepreneur and business executive herself, McMahon is the co-founder and former chief executive officer of WWE, based in Stamford, Conn. She stepped down as CEO of WWE in 2009 to run for the U.S. Senate and was the Republican nominee to represent the people of Connecticut in 2010 and 2012. McMahon has been a longtime advocate for women in leadership and business. Here at SHU, she started the “Women Can Have It All” speaker series, bringing accomplished women leaders to share their experiences with students.
Edelman is the president and CEO of Edelman, the leading communications marketing firm, located in over 60 cities with more than 6,000 employees worldwide. As the creator of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, he has become one of the foremost authorities on trust in business, government, media and NGOs. Under his leadership, the agency has garnered many of the industry’s top accolades, and he, himself, also has earned many industry honors. He topped PRWeek’s list of most powerful executives (2013), was recognized as the third-highest-rated CEO by Glassdoor (2014) and was inducted in the Arthur W. Page Society’s Hall of Fame (2014) among others. He serves on the board of directors of the Ad Council, the Atlantic Council, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Children’s Aid Society, the Gettysburg Foundation, the 9/11 Museum and the National Committee on U.S. China Relations. He is a commissioner on The Business Commission and a member of the World Economic Forum and PR Seminar. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1978 and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1976.
Borgstrom began her career at Yale-New Haven Hospital over 37 years ago. In 2005, she assumed the position of CEO of Yale New Haven Hospital and president & CEO of Yale New Haven Health and now serves as the CEO of both organizations. She chairs the boards of the Healthcare Institute and the Coalition to Protect America’s Healthcare and is the past chair of Vizient, a Dallas, Texas-based health care company. She serves on several other boards including The Connecticut Hospital Association and New Haven Promise. She has been the recipient of several awards recognizing her advocacy and community involvement including the AHA Grassroots Champion Award, the Anti-Defamation League Torch of Liberty Award, The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award and Business New Haven Business Person of the Year. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and was awarded a master’s of public health by the Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health.
Sacred Heart University offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs to over 8,500 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students through its five colleges.
In the past year, the University opened a new residence hall for sophomores and continued construction on the residential village planned for the Upper Quad. The University also opened an old-fashioned diner—the first of its kind on a New England campus, and began work on a new sports facility for students that will be named for Executive Director of Athletics Bobby Valentine. The University’s new building for WSHU and the public safety team will be dedicated in May.
Work has also begun to turn the University’s West Campus (former home of GE’s worldwide headquarters) into an innovation campus. Plans for that site include the expansion of the School of Computing, which is focused on computer engineering, computer gaming and cybersecurity, and development of programs in STEM fields such as health and life sciences, science and technology. There will also be incubator space that will allow students, in conjunction with investors and area businesses, to develop their creative ideas for new products and programs. The Isabelle Farrington College of Education has moved to the site, and the Jack Welch College of Business will follow, including its new hospitality management program that will make use of hotel facilities at West Campus, the new diner and SHU’s Great River Golf Club in Milford, Conn.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left are Tom Brokaw, Linda McMahon, Richard Edelman and Marna Parkes Borgstrom.