Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeffrey A. Flaks will be the featured speaker at Trinity’s Commencement on Friday, May 21. This year, to accommodate the need to maintain low density and physical distancing, Trinity College will host two consecutive Commencement ceremonies. Flaks will speak at both the morning and afternoon ceremonies.
For the past 15 months, Flaks, a Connecticut native, has helped the state navigate the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic through extensive outreach to communities. Since March 2020, Hartford HealthCare has performed more than 1 million COVID-19 tests and vaccinated nearly 250,000 residents. He serves as co-chair of the Governor’s Health System Response Team and leads some 33,000 Hartford HealthCare professionals and an enterprise that includes seven acute-care hospitals and an extensive network that cares for more than 1.7 million individuals.
Flaks’s tenure with Hartford HealthCare began in 2004; he was named president and CEO of Hartford Hospital in 2011 and CEO of the entire system in 2019. His service and experience includes leadership roles in health systems in Detroit and New York City, including on September 11, 2001, at the hospital located closest to the World Trade Center.
During the pandemic, Hartford HealthCare served Trinity College in innumerable ways in managing successfully through the health crisis. Since 2019, Hartford HealthCare has partnered with Trinity College to provide students access to high-quality, comprehensive health care services.
Flaks will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in recognition of his distinguished career and enormous contributions to the field of health care.
The 2021 honorary degrees also will be presented to Philip O. Geier, co-founder, Davis United World College Scholars Program, and creator, Projects for Peace; Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist, The Nature Conservancy, and Paul W. Horn Distinguished Professor, Professor and Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Public Law, and co-director of the Climate Center, Texas Tech University; Philip S. Khoury ’71, associate provost and Ford International Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and former trustee and vice chair of the board of trustees, Trinity College.
In addition to our 2021 honorands, Trinity also will celebrate the 2020 honorands. Last year, the pandemic prevented the college from hosting a full in-person Commencement when, in honor of its 50th anniversary of coeducation at Trinity, the institution was to have bestowed honorary degrees on the first four women to receive undergraduate degrees from Trinity, in 1970. They are: Trinity College Professor of Theater and Dance, Emerita, Judy Dworin; Elizabeth Martin Gallo; Judith Odlum Pomeroy; and Roberta Russell. Sadly, Russell passed away earlier this year. Other 2020 honorands are Francisco L. Borges ’74, chair and managing partner of Landmark Partners; the Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church (Curry received his honorary degree in May 2020, as he served as Baccalaureate speaker then); and James Hanley and Peter McMorris, co-founders of Cinestudio, the art house cinema on the Trinity campus.
Biographical information about the honorands is below.
Philip O. Geier
(to be awarded the degree of doctor of humane letters, honoris causa)
Geier is the executive director of the Davis United World College Scholar Program, the world’s largest privately funded international scholarship program. He co-founded the program in 2000 with philanthropist Shelby M.C. Davis and, since then, more than 10,000 students from 150-plus countries have pursued their undergraduate degrees at nearly 100 colleges and universities across the country.
Trinity is among those institutions, and Davis UWC Scholars have contributed to the college’s efforts to be more globally minded and engaged. At Trinity, 36 Davis UWC Scholars from 26 countries—including five Davis UWC Scholars in the Class of 2021—will have received Trinity College degrees. And the Davis UWC Scholar Program is growing here by leaps and bounds: during the 2021–22 academic year, Trinity anticipates 40 Davis UWC Scholars to be enrolled across all four class years.
In 2007, Geier created the Projects for Peace initiative, which he continues to run, also funded by Davis philanthropy. Projects for Peace enables college students to design and implement projects anywhere around the globe, empowering them to help to shape a better, more peaceful world. Altogether, more than 1,500 students have been awarded summer grants of $10,000 each to carry out their own projects. In the nearly 15 years since Projects for Peace began, Trinity has received funding for 19 student projects—two of which will take place this summer, one in Belgrade, Serbia, and another in northern Argentina. With the help of the Projects for Peace grants, Trinity students have—to offer a sampling—brought solar lighting to Nepal, promoted interfaith harmony in Pakistan, established a technology and study center at a jail in Bolivia, and developed a rainwater harvesting project in Trinidad and Tobago.
Geier earned a B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
(to be awarded the degree of doctor of science, honoris causa)
Hayhoe has been described as “one of the world’s most influential communicators on climate change,” “a champion of the earth,” and “a climate explainer who stays above the storm.” She serves as The Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist and as the Paul W. Horn Distinguished Professor and the Political Science Endowed Professor in Public Policy and Public Law at Texas Tech University. She is an accomplished atmospheric scientist, whose research currently focuses on developing and applying high-resolution climate projections to understand what climate change means for people and the natural environment.
Hayhoe is well-known for inspiring diverse audiences to take individual steps toward minimizing their carbon footprints as well as joining collective action to address climate change. Her TED talk, “The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it,” has nearly four million views. Whether speaking at an international conference, a local church, or the White House, she works to explain and depolarize climate change.
Publications including The New York Times, Wired, and O Magazine have published Hayhoe’s writing, and she hosts and produces the PBS digital series Global Weirding: Climate, Politics, and Religion. Together with her husband, Pastor Andrew Farley, she wrote A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions. Her latest book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, will be published in September 2021 by Simon & Schuster.
Hayhoe received numerous honors and accolades, including being recognized as one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers in 2019, Fortune magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2017, and one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine in 2014. A native of Canada, she was named Canadian Woman of the Year in 2019 by Chatelaine. Also in 2019, Hayhoe’s “stalwart commitment to quantifying the effects of climate change” and her dedication to “bridging the broad, deep gap between scientists and Christians” were lauded by the United Nations as she received its highest environmental honor, Champion of the Earth, in the category of science and innovation.
Hayhoe earned a B.Sc. in physics and astronomy from the University of Toronto. She earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Philip S. Khoury ’71
(to be awarded the degree of doctor of humanities, honoris causa)
Khoury is an academic leader, scholar of the Middle East, champion of the arts and sciences, and devoted Trinity College alumnus. He is associate provost and Ford International Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Khoury’s associate provost responsibilities include overseeing and promoting non-curricular arts programs and initiatives, such as the MIT Museum and the List Visual Arts Center. He also focuses on MIT’s strategic planning around international education and research. He works across time zones to identify hubs of innovation—or future hubs of innovation—and to forge mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations.
As a historian who specializes in the Middle East’s political and social history, Khoury has authored and edited many books, including Syria and the French Mandate (Princeton University Press, 1987), which won the George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association. He has received prestigious fellowships, including from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He also is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
MIT named Khoury an honorary member of its alumni association, and he holds an honorary doctorate from EARTH University in Costa Rica. He serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut and is an overseer of Koç University in Istanbul. He has been a director of the Harvard Cooperative Society and a member of the Academic Research Council in Singapore. Further, he was a trustee emeritus of the National Humanities Center and a past trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
In 2006, Trinity honored Khoury with its Alumni Medal for Excellence, given to those who have made significant contributions to their professions, to their communities, and to Trinity. Khoury earned a B.A. from Trinity and a Ph.D. in history and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University.
Judy Dworin ’70
(to be awarded the degree of doctor of fine arts, honoris causa)
Dworin was the first woman to receive a bachelor’s degree from Trinity, and she played a decisive role in the college’s evolution into a more balanced coed environment as she joined the predominately male faculty to teach dance.
Dworin taught at Trinity for 43 years, during which time she established the dance program; co-founded the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Semester Program in New York City; and helped to create the college’s Department of Theater and Dance, which she chaired for many years.
While teaching at Trinity, Dworin provided outreach into the community, in 1989 founding the Judy Dworin Performance Project (JDPP), which she continues to lead to this day. The arts nonprofit in Hartford reaches out on stage and into the community’s schools and prisons to educate and inspire. JDPP boasts three programs: the Ensemble, a collaborative team of performers who enrich public dialogue and awareness of social justice issues; Moving Matters!, which through residencies in elementary and secondary schools guides children as they develop self-knowledge and awareness, expand cognitive skills, and develop tools for resilient living; and Bridging Boundaries, which focuses on helping incarcerated individuals and their families better their communications and life skills through the arts.
Dworin’s award-winning performance work has engaged audiences internationally, in New York City, throughout New England, and at colleges and universities as well as prisons and urban schools. Her unique and challenging presentation of social justice issues has earned recognition for giving voice to those who have not been heard. Dworin and JDPP have received numerous honors, including a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts from the State of Connecticut Office of the Arts. She also was recognized in 2012 as an honoree for the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. JDPP won the prestigious Tapestry Award for bridging diverse sectors of the community in 2010 and accolades from the Connecticut League of History and the American Association of State and Local History for various performances. She also gives back to Hartford through service as a corporator of the Hartford Public Library. Trinity recognized her achievements with its Alumni Medal for Excellence in 1982.
Now a professor emerita of theater and dance, Dworin continues to teach a field study in a course offered through Trinity’s Human Rights Studies Program that examines the intersections of the arts, prison, and human rights by involving students in a performance project with returned citizens. Dworin earned a B.A. from Trinity and a M.A. from Goddard College.
Elizabeth Martin Gallo
(to be awarded the degree of doctor of laws, honoris causa)
Gallo established Betty Gallo & Co., a lobbying and government relations firm, in 1981. Her goal was to have a firm that represents small nonprofits who could not afford a full-time lobbyist. Gallo lobbied the Connecticut General Assembly for more than four decades on behalf of organizations that advocate for civil rights. Upon retirement in 2018, she renamed the firm Gallo & Robinson to reflect partner Kate Robinson joining the firm in 2014.
At that time, Gallo & Robinson represented 43 clients, all nonprofits and civil rights organizations, including Connecticut Against Gun Violence and the Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. In her retirement in Massachusetts, she continues to be active in local politics.
Gallo graduated with a B.A. in psychology.
Judith Odlum Pomeroy
(to be awarded the degree of doctor of humane letters, honoris causa)
Pomeroy’s family is front and center of her life. She has said her greatest accomplishment was raising two exceptional daughters. Her Trinity ties are strong, with her husband, two daughters, four siblings, and three in-laws among her Bantam connection.
Her individual path has featured work at Aetna and then a lifetime’s worth of volunteerism, including as a docent at The Mark Twain House & Museum and as a Girl Scout troop leader, working in a high school college counseling center, and building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
Pomeroy graduated with a B.A. in modern languages: Spanish.
(to be awarded, posthumously, the degree of doctor of humane letters, honoris causa)
Russell was a longtime practicing psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker who helped countless individuals find their way through trauma and abuse, depression, eating disorders, and more. Her extensive work in the mental health arena included a decade as executive director of the Rape Crisis Center of Berkshire County in Massachusetts, where she co-authored It Happens to Boys, Too, for male victims of sexual assault. She offered numerous professional presentations and wrote for various publications in an effort to share her knowledge with others.
A proud member of the Trinity College Class of 1970, she passed away in January 2021.
Russell earned a B.A. and M.A. in English before earning a Ph.D. in English at the University of Connecticut and later a master’s of social work at Smith College.
Francisco L. Borges ’74
(to be awarded the degree of doctor of humane letters, honoris causa)
Borges is the chair and managing partner of Landmark Partners, an institutional alternative investment management firm that specializes in private equity, real estate, and infrastructure secondary market acquisitions. He joined Landmark as president in 1999, after six years as managing director of Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, a division of GE Capital Services.
Prior to holding the Financial Guaranty position, he served the State of Connecticut and the City of Hartford. From 1987–93, he served as the state’s 78th treasurer, a position to which he was elected twice. His civic involvement in Hartford’s North End led to his 1981 election to the city council; during his first term, he chaired the Planning, Development, and Zoning Committee. After his 1983 reelection, he was selected to serve as deputy mayor.
Borges currently serves as chair of the board of Assured Guaranty Ltd. and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and as lead director of Jefferies Financial Group, as well as a trustee of Selected/Clipper Funds, Hartford HealthCare, and Millbrook School. He is a former member of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, University of Connecticut Health Center and School of Medicine, and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Borges has served on Trinity’s Board of Trustees and has been recognized for his service with the Alumni Medal for Excellence and the Trinity Club of Hartford Person of the Year Award. In 2018, he was included on Trinity’s Wall of Honor, which recognizes those whose philanthropy has had a profound impact at the college.
Borges earned a B.A. in political science and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry
(awarded the degree of doctor of divinity, honoris causa, in 2020)
The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry may be most recognized as the pastor who preached the sermon at the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but his dedication and service led him to his current leadership of the Episcopal Church.
A native of Chicago, Curry was ordained to the priesthood in 1978. Throughout his ministry, he has been active in issues of social justice, immigration policy, and marriage equality. He served churches in North Carolina, Ohio, and Maryland, where he had extensive involvement in the creation of networks of family day-care providers and educational centers, the founding of ecumenical summer day camps for children, and the fostering of investments in inner-city neighborhoods.
After Curry was elected the 11th bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina in 2000, he instituted a network of canons, deacons, and youth ministry professionals dedicated to supporting the ministry of local congregations. He also refocused the diocese on the Episcopal Church’s Millennium Development Goals through a $400,000 campaign to buy malaria nets that saved more than 100,000 lives.
In 2015, Curry was named the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, the first African American to hold this position. With this role, he serves as chief pastor, president and CEO, and chair of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.
Through Curry’s leadership of the Episcopal Church, he has a deep connection to Trinity and its history: the college’s founding president, Thomas Church Brownell, preceded him long ago as the church’s seventh presiding bishop.
Curry graduated with high honors in religious studies from Hobart College and earned a master of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. As a lifelong learner, he furthered his education with additional study at the College of Preachers, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary, and the Institute of Christian Jewish Studies.
Peter McMorris and James Hanley
(both to be awarded the degree of bachelor of arts, honoris causa)
McMorris and Hanley are co-founders of Cinestudio, the classic movie palace on the Trinity College campus. They founded the not-for-profit independent film theater as undergraduate students at Trinity in 1970. The theater, housed in the Clement Chemistry Building, is a single-screen venue that today remains one of the most highly regarded art house cinemas in the country.
McMorris is from a small town in Jamaica and moved at age 8 to the Acton neighborhood in London, not far from where Hanley lived in Ealing. Yet, the two didn’t meet until they both arrived in Hartford. McMorris’s family later moved to New York City, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, which boasts many alumni celebrated in the arts, including James Baldwin and Stan Lee. At 16, McMorris secured a full scholarship to Trinity, where he majored in math and played soccer.
For Hanley, seeing the movie This is Cinerama as a child shaped his appreciation for film. Early in his career, he worked in television and studied to be a Russian interpreter. Later, he began to work in the film industry and had jobs with directors including John Schlesinger and Stanley Kubrick. He was working in Los Angeles when he learned he had earned a scholarship to Trinity, where he studied Russian and French.
During the politically active time on campus in the late 1960s, McMorris and Hanley became friends through the Trinity Film Society. A search for a movie-screening venue led them to the chemistry auditorium, where they discovered a projection booth and hung bedsheets as the theater’s first screen. When Cinestudio opened to the public in February 1970, tickets sold out, and it soon developed a reputation for its selection of powerful films and professional-quality presentation.
Starting and running Cinestudio—with the help of now-retired professor Larry Stires—took up most of their time, leading them both to eventually stop taking classes. Nevertheless, they remained on campus to manage Cinestudio—first as volunteers who worked at outside jobs, then as the theater’s co-executive directors—transforming it into one of Hartford’s longest-running cultural institutions. Cinestudio continues to be run largely by student workers and volunteers and supported by dedicated patrons. Meanwhile, they have helped facilitate renovations to maintain the theater’s world-class projection and sound quality.
Cinestudio has hosted festivals featuring silent films, Hollywood classics, and independent movies, as well as the April in Paris French film festival, the Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival, the Reel Youth Hartford Film Festival for local high school students, and Trinity Film Festival, a national platform for undergraduate filmmakers. Cinestudio also has worked with outside groups and Trinity faculty to screen films that foster social, environmental, and racial discussions.
Hanley, after retiring as co-executive director of Cinestudio last year, still serves on its Board of Directors and trains the theater’s next projectionists. McMorris still works as the executive director of Cinestudio. They both remain dedicated cinephiles and fixtures around campus.
For more information on Commencement, please visit the college’s website at https://www.trincoll.edu/commencement/.