SMITHFIELD, RI – Bryant University’s Commencement Weekend, May 19-21, 2022, will recognize the accomplishments of 970 Class of 2022 students and four distinguished honorary degree recipients who include accomplished leaders in industry, entrepreneurship and healthcare. The 775 undergraduate and 195 graduate candidates will receive their diplomas at a time when the value of a Bryant degree has never been greater; Bryant is nationally acclaimed for its top 1% return on investment and the economic mobility of its alumni.
At Commencement ceremonies for undergraduates on Saturday, May 21, William J. Conaty ’67 will deliver the Commencement address and receive a Bryant honorary degree. Mr. Conaty is widely recognized as a preeminent world leader in his field. As Senior Vice President, Corporate Human Resources at General Electric Company 1993-2007, he was the human resources leader for over 300,000 GE employees worldwide. He is acclaimed for his track record of innovation and was the architect behind many of GE's human resource practices in the areas of workforce differentiation and succession planning. After retiring from GE, in 2008 Mr. Conaty joined the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice where he has served as an Advisory Partner for the past 14 years. Mr. Conaty also served on the advisory board of The Cornell Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), the world’s leading partnership between industry and academia. The William J. Conaty Professor of Strategic Human Resources in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University is named in his honor and was established through a donation from the GE Foundation upon Mr. Conaty’s retirement. In 2007, he was inducted as a Distinguished Fellow to the National Academy of Human Resources, the highest honor, and served as Chairman of the HR Policy Association 2001-2007. Author of The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers and frequently cited as a role model for others turning HR organizations into strategic business partners, he is among Bryant’s most accomplished alumni and he and his wife, Sue, are among the most generous donors in Bryant history.
Mr. Conaty served as captain of Bryant’s 1967 baseball team and was inducted into Bryant’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. He was recognized with Bryant’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999. Together with Michael E. Fisher ’67, Mr. Conaty co-chaired Bryant’s historic capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity, which concluded in 2019 with $111 million raised and set a record for the highest philanthropy in the University’s history. The William J. and Sue Conaty Indoor Athletic Center, the largest facility of its kind in the region, and Conaty Park Baseball and Softball Complex are named for their philanthropy. Mr. Conaty devoted nearly a decade of service to Bryant University as the former Chair of the Board of Trustees, additionally serving with distinction as Vice Chair, Secretary of the Executive Committee, and Trustee since 2008.
Also receiving an honorary doctorate degree on May 21 is noted entrepreneur Kim Anderson, a successful retailer and business leader for more than 35 years. Ms. Anderson began her career in the management and buying departments of Jordan Marsh and Macy’s before launching her own series of highly successful ventures. In 2009 she co-founded, with her 15-year-old daughter, Ava Anderson, Non-Toxic, the nation’s safest full line of personal care and home cleaning products. Their business educated millions of Americans on the dangers of harmful product chemicals. Anderson was honored by Inc. Magazine, Fortune and Entrepreneur, prior to selling the business in 2016. With her family, she is an impact investor against climate crisis, specifically with an interest in alternative proteins. In 2019 she created and co-founded PLANT CITY, the world’s first and largest plant-based food hall with celebrity chef Matthew Kenney, as an impact investment to show that food systems can be sustainable and delicious. In 2021 she opened two PLANT CITY X’s, the Northeast’s first plant-based drive-thrus in Middletown and Warwick, RI, and 345 by Plant City, a new Providence speakeasy, opened in 2022. Anderson has been recognized as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Small Business Association.
At Commencement ceremonies for Graduate Programs students on Thursday, May 19, Betty Robson, President and CEO of JF Moran, a national customs broker, freight forwarder and worldwide logistics provider, will deliver the Commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate degree. Ms. Robson is an attorney, Licensed Customs Broker, Master Customs Specialist, Certified Global Business Professional and an accredited Hofstede lecturer. She serves as Chair of the Rhode Island District Export Council, on the Board of Directors of the Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, is a founding director of Women in World Trade New England, and serves on the National Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarder’s Association’s Master Customs Specialist Review Committee. She is a past President of the Air Cargo Club of New England and was the first woman President of the Boston Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association. She is also an appointed member of the RI Freight Advisory Committee and was a previously appointed member of the RI Transportation Advisory Committee
Cardiothoracic surgeon Arun Singh, M.D. received an honorary doctorate degree at Bryant’s Physician Assistant Commencement March 26. Dr. Singh began practicing at Rhode Island hospital nearly 50 years ago and helped build a nationally recognized cardiac surgery program there. He has authored, edited, and co-edited many books including “Your Heart, My Hands,” which chronicles his life, from his childhood in India to his career and interaction with his patients. Singh performed more than 15,000 heart surgeries and 5,000 related procedures before retiring from active surgery in 2016. Prior to retirement, he was a Professor of Surgery at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School from 1991-2016, now Emeritus, and has been an adjunct professor at Bryant University’s Physician Assistant program since 2016.
Full details for Commencement Weekend 2022 are available here.
For nearly 160 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. The University delivers a uniquely integrated academic and student life experience with nationally recognized academic programs at the intersection of business, STEM fields and the liberal arts. Located on a 428-acre contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a top 1% national leader in student education outcomes and ROI and regularly receives high rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual and Barron’s. Visit www.bryant.edu.