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Governor Dannel Malloy and Comedian Jane Condon to Speak at UNH Commencement

Release Date:
4/26/2012 9:00 PM

April 26, 2012

Governor Dannel Malloy and Comedian Jane Condon To Speak at UNH Commencement Ceremonies May 13

Gov. Dannel Malloy (left), Jane Condon

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- The University of New Haven will have its undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 13, at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Conn.

This is the first time in recent UNH history that Commencement has taken place off campus. Moving the ceremonies to Oakdale accommodates UNH’s larger classes and allows students to receive more graduation tickets.

The undergraduate ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. and will feature comedian Jane Condon of Greenwich, Conn., as the speaker.  The graduate ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. and will feature Gov. Dannel Malloy as the speaker. Both ceremonies will stream live on the web at

Condon will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the undergraduate ceremony, as will Mayor John DeStefano of New Haven and London-based investment banker Mina Gerowin Herrmann.

At the graduate ceremony, honorary doctorates will be awarded to Malloy, Cynthia R. Bigelow, president of the Bigelow Tea Company, and Margaret Lee, an ambassador for the university and wife of Henry C. Lee, one of the world’s most renowned forensic scientists. 

Jane Condon

Jane Condon

The Undergraduate Ceremony

Condon is an award-winning stand-up comedian who finds inspiration from daily life. Dubbed “an upper-crust Roseanne,” Condon lives in Greenwich, Conn., with her husband, Kenneth Bartels, and their two sons.

Raised in Brockton, Mass., Condon earned a bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. After teaching and living in Japan for five years, Condon wrote a book about Japanese women. On her book tour, she discovered that audiences often laughed during her readings. That experience inspired her to try stand-up comedy.

Condon has since appeared on “The View,” “24,” “The Today Show” and “Last Comic Standing.” She performs at many of the top comedy clubs including Gotham Comedy Club, Carolines on Broadway, New York Comedy Club, Stand-Up NY, Punchline (San Francisco), The Improv (Washington, D.C.) and The Borgata (Atlantic City), and is a member of the New York Friars Club.

She is currently starring in the off-Broadway production “Janie Condon: Raw and Unchained!” which chronicles her journey in comedy and family life. Her writing has appeared in Life and Fortune magazines, as well as on CNN and in the Huffington Post.

DeStefano, the son of a New Haven police officer, is serving his 10th term as mayor. During his tenure, which began in 1994, he has overseen the rebuilding of every public school in the city and a number of other initiatives to improve public schools. 

He also has managed the revitalization of the downtown and established the city as a center for medical research and the provision of health care.

Gerowin Herrmann is a managing director of Paulson Europe LLP and a partner of Paulson & Co. in New York. She specializes in European merger and event-driven investment, including distressed and restructuring investment and risk arbitrage of both debt and equity, as well as directing European activist positions.

In 1985, Gerowin Herrmann and her family established the James Jacob Gerowin Memorial Scholarship at UNH in memory of her brother, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of New Haven. 

She graduated from Smith College and received a law degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Harvard University.

Dannel Malloy

Gov. Dannel Malloy

The Graduate Ceremony

The 3 p.m. graduate ceremony will feature Malloy as the keynote speaker. Malloy will receive an honorary Doctor of Law degree.

Elected governor in 2010, Malloy was mayor of his native city, Stamford, Conn., for 14 years.  During his tenure, Stamford became one of the country's top 10 most livable cities, according to Forbes magazine. He brought nearly 5,000 new jobs to the city, led the fight for more affordable housing, championed transportation efforts such as the Stamford Urban Transitway, and helped to reduce the crime rate by 60 percent. He also implemented the first city-wide pre-kindergarten program, ensuring all four year olds could attend school regardless of their parents' financial situation.

A former New York City prosecutor and assistant district attorney, he has a bachelor’s and a law degree from Boston College.

Receiving an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree is Bigelow, president of the Bigelow Tea Company, the nation’s No. 1 manufacturer of more than 120 varieties of specialty teas that are shipped around the world. 

Based in Fairfield, Conn., Bigelow Tea has remained a 100 percent family-owned and operated business since being founded by Bigelow's grandmother in 1945. The company employs 330 people and produces in excess of 1.6 billion tea bags annually.

Bigelow graduated magna cum laude from Boston College with a bachelor's degree in marketing and earned her MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, majoring in marketing and finance.

Bigelow joined the family business in 1984 and held positions in all areas of the company before becoming the third generation to lead the company when she was named president in 2005.

In 1987, Bigelow founded the Annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge, a 5K road race, walk and kids’ fun run that has raised more than $700,000 for local charities. She spearheaded the building of a $150,000, 12,000-square-foot Fairfield playground in 1996 and volunteers annually for Habitat for Humanity, the Kennedy Center’s Adopt-a-Home program and the Appalachia Service Project.

Bigelow has served as a member of the board for the Bridgeport Regional Council, Bridgeport YMCA, Fairfield YMCA and Boston College Board of Alumni.  She serves annually on the Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Committee.

She has been honored with the Ernst and Young Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year award, the Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction award, the Fairfield Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Community Service award, the 2010 Notable Women in Business award, Sacred Heart University’s 2011 Discovery award and was recognized as a 2012 Woman of Influence in the Food Industry.

Margaret Lee, a retired teacher and computer programming analyst, serves as an ambassador and advocate for the University of New Haven during her extensive travels around the world. She is the wife of Henry C. Lee, the world-renowned forensic scientist, who has taught at UNH since 1975.

The Lees are directly or indirectly responsible for bringing in more than $15 million in grants, donations, equipment and other gifts to the University of New Haven. They also have been major benefactors of the university’s Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. The third floor office suite in the $11.5 million, state-of-the-art facility is named in Margaret Lee’s honor.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. UNH enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and University College, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.