Trinity Announces Featured Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients for 2016 Commencement

Alumnus William K. Marimow, editor of ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer,’ is Among Honorary Degree Recipients

​Hartford, Connecticut, May 12, 2016 – William K. Marimow, editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, will be the featured speaker at Trinity College’s 190th Commencement on Sunday, May 22. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose resume also includes serving as the top news executive at National Public Radio and as editor of The Baltimore Sun, Marimow is a Trinity alumnus from the Class of 1969.

Marimow will be awarded an honorary degree at Trinity’s Commencement. Additional honorary degree recipients will be Miriam Colón-Valle, founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and a trailblazing stage, film, and television actress, and Michael P. Conforti, former director of the Clark Art Institute and a faculty member of Williams College.

Biographical information about this year’s honorary degree recipients is below.

​William K. Marimow
William K. Marimow, Trinity College Class of 1969

(to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa)

After graduating from Trinity in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in English, Marimow began working at the Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia before joining The Philadelphia Inquirer. At The Inquirer, he covered a series of beats, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1978, and, seven years later, the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. He then moved to The Baltimore Sun, where he served as metro editor, managing editor, and then editor-in-chief. During Marimow’s time at the newspaper, The Sun won Pulitzers for feature writing, beat reporting, and investigative reporting and was chosen by Columbia Journalism Review as one of the nation’s 10 best newspapers.

In 2004, Marimow moved from The Sun to National Public Radio, where he strengthened and expanded the news division. In 2006, he returned to The Philadelphia Inquirer as editor. In 2011, he joined the faculty of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The following year brought him back to newspapers when he was recruited to become, once again, the editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Marimow has earned, among other honors, two Silver Gavel Awards from the American Bar Association and two Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. In 1982, he was named a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is a former member of the Trinity College Board of Trustees (2008-2015) and the recipient of Trinity’s 175th Anniversary Award, the Alumni Achievement Award, and The Eigenbrodt Cup, which recognizes a prominent graduate who has rendered unusual and significant service to the College.

Miriam Colón-Valle

(to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa)

A trailblazing actress, Miriam Colón-Valle is the founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and a lifetime advocate for equitable access to the arts. Born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, her stage credits include performances on Broadway; she also has a long list of Hollywood film and TV credits.

Throughout her career, Colón-Valle has remained devoted to the PRRT, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, which is credited with securing arts access and participation for all. Colón-Valle’s honors include a 2014 National Medal of Arts, which was presented to her by President Barack Obama.

Michael P. Conforti ’68, P’16 

(to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa)

At Trinity, Michael P. Conforti majored in fine arts, focusing on art history and graduating with honors in 1968. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard, he served as a curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and chief curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In 1994, he moved to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and served as director for 22 years.

He has been a president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, a trustee of four museums, and an adviser to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. He remains close to academia, lecturing widely and teaching at Williams College.

Additional Featured Speakers

Graduating senior Hamdi Abdi has been selected to be the student speaker during the Commencement ceremony. A biology major and writing associate at the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric, Abdi is from Suwanee, Georgia. During her time at Trinity, she has been involved with The Charleston House of Interfaith Cooperation and the Trinity College Black Women’s Organization. Abdi is a QuestBridge Scholar and past president of Trinity’s Muslim Students’ Association who believes the “only way you can change the world is through empathy.”

Also, at Trinity’s Baccalaureate ceremony on Saturday, May 21, the speaker will be Ilyasah Shabazz, a community organizer, social activist, motivational speaker, and author who is a daughter of Malcolm X. The Baccalaureate service honors the graduating seniors and celebrates Trinity’s community of learning. Students representing various faith traditions will offer their prayers for their class and for the College.

For more information on Commencement Weekend, including a full schedule of events, please visit the College’s website at


Founded in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1823, Trinity College ( is an independent, nonsectarian liberal arts college with more than 2,200 students from 44 states and 63 countries. It is home to the eighth-oldest chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in the United States. The faculty and alumni include recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur award, Guggenheims, Rockefellers, and other national academic awards. Trinity students integrate meaningful academic and leadership experience at all levels on the College’s celebrated campus, in the capital city of Hartford, and in communities all over the world.