Charlotte Bunch, an activist, author, and organizer in the women’s, civil rights and human rights movement for 40 years, will deliver the commencement address during UConn’s fifth annual winter commencement exercises on Dec. 16.
Bunch, who is the founder and executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, will deliver her talk to nearly 900 undergraduates about to join the ranks of UConn alumni.
The ceremony, to be held in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, begins at 2 p.m.
Also during the event, Gary Gladstein, who with his wife has donated more than $3 million to the University, including a $1 million gift to establish the Judi and Gary Gladstein Distinguished Chair in Human Rights, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Bunch, whose work has played an instrumental role in the development of feminist studies as an academic discipline, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Nearly 10,000 people are expected to attend the mid-year ceremony.
The decision to add a December event to complement the traditional May Commencement was made several years ago, against the backdrop of increasing numbers of students who, due to work pressures, internships, study abroad programs, or for academic reasons were increasingly completing their studies at the conclusion of the fall semester.
Research indicated that few of the December graduates attended the May event.
Since 2003, when about 650 students graduated, an increasing number of students have taken advantage of the extra ceremony.
This year, 874 students are eligible for the Dec. 16 Commencement, more than half of whom will earn their degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
A native of New Mexico, Bunch has worked at Rutgers since 1987, where she now holds the title of Board of Governors Distinguished Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She has directed the Center for Women’s Global Leadership there since she founded the group in 1989.
Bunch also has served as a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., where she founded and edited Quest: A Feminist Quarterly, and she established Interfem Consultants in New York, which worked for women’s rights across the globe. She also was national president of the University Christian Movement.
Gary Gladstein, a 1966 UConn graduate who retired as partner and chief operating officer for Soros Fund Management LLC, and his wife have helped boost UConn’s aspirations to be a leader in the field of human rights through their generosity and encouragement.
Besides the chair, the Gladsteins’ support for the University has included the Marsha Lilien Gladstein Visiting Professorship in Human Rights, the Gladstein Endowment for the MIS Research Laboratory, the Gladstein Professorship in Information Technology and Innovation, and the Marsha Lilien Gladstein Human Rights Fund.
The Gladsteins also have contributed to the UConn Health Center, the School of Business, and the Morris N. Trachten Kosher Dining Facility.
Gary Gladstein serves on the Board of Directors of the UConn Foundation.