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Alumni Association Announces Recipients of 2018 Anchor Awards


Posted 08/13/2018
Submitted by Jim Keener
Category: Campus Announcements

The recipients of the 2018 University of Hartford Anchor Awards, the most prestigious award presented by the University of Hartford Alumni Association, have been announced. They are Joseph Battaglia ’04 (ENHP) of Hartford, Conn.; Adrianne Der Sarkissian Brown ’67 (A&S) of Newington, Conn.; Glynda Carr ’96 (HARTT) of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Michael Gargano Jr. ’78 (BARNEY) of Hartford, Conn.; Ryan Speedo Green ’08 (HARTT) of Tallahassee, Fla.; Bernard Kavaler ’79 (A&S), M’88 (BARNEY) of West Hartford, Conn.; and Donald Shaw M’97 (BARNEY) of Granby, Conn.

The recipients will be honored on Friday, Oct. 19, as part of the University’s Hawktober Weekend. The event, to be held at the 1877 Club on the UHart campus at 200 Bloomfield Avenue in West Hartford, will feature a cocktail hour from 5:30–6:30 p.m. and a dinner and awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online at hartford.edu/hawktober.

The Anchor Awards were established to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves by achieving the highest level of professional and community accomplishments, and who possess absolute standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the University of Hartford.   

see photos of recipients

Joseph Battaglia ‘04

Joey “Batts” Battaglia is a high school teacher in the Hartford Public School system who is well known for using music, painting, and other visual arts to connect with students. He has been teaching in Hartford for more than a decade and has twice been nominated for Hartford Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year honor (2013, 2016).  

Currently, Battaglia teaches American literature, while incorporating a mix of serious conversations about rap, tattoos, and comic books, at Hartford Public High School.

Battaglia often uses his talents to make a difference in his community. With his hip-hop band, Joey Batts & Them, he conducts a six-city tour in Connecticut to raise money for Hip Hop for Homeless. It has brought in $20,000 over the past four years. Working with his student arts club, Battaglia also paints murals throughout the city. His influence as an artist and educator earned him a place on the Connecticut Magazine40-Under-40 list this year.

Battaglia is also now a filmmaker, having premiered his first film, Roy G. BV, at the Wadsworth Antheneum this year.

Battaglia earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions in 2004, majoring in secondary education with an emphasis in creative writing. 

Adrianne Der Sarkissian Brown ’67

Adrianne Der Sarkissian Brown’s relationship with the University dates back to when she was a child and took lessons from The Hartt School founder and famed pianist Moshe Paranov. Since then, she has represented the University as an accomplished professional, engaged alumna, and committed community volunteer.

Brown is a retired Connecticut public school music educator (1967-2000) who taught in New Britain, Conn. She was also an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford, Conn. 

As a volunteer at the University, Brown worked at the Hartt Performance Library and was a member of the 2016 organizing committee for the Golden Hawks 50th-anniversary reunion. She is a member of the Founders Planned Giving Society. 

Brown is active in her community, including the Lion’s Club of New Britain (since 1990) where she was one of the first women accepted as a member and is currently its president. She is a member the Vestry at Grace Episcopal Church in Hartford, Conn.

Brown earned her music education certification shortly after receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences & Hartt in 1967. She also earned a master’s degree (1980) and sixth-year certificate (1988) from Central Connecticut State University, and a seventh-year certificate (1995) from UConn/CCSU. Brown resides in Newington, Connecticut.

Glynda Carr ‘96

Glynda Carr is an advocate and political strategist who co-founded Higher Heights, a rapidly growing national organization building the collective political power of Black women from the voting booth to elective office. Formerly, she was executive director of Education Voters of New York, a leading independent voice for school reform in the state. Carr was the youngest African American woman to run a statewide advocacy organization.

Prior to Education Voters, Carr was chief of staff to New York State Senator Kevin Parker. She managed the Senator’s key initiatives and shaped policy around youth and economic development for the newly created 21st Senatorial district. Carr was also campaign manager for two of Parker’s successful re-election campaigns.  

Carr has also held senior management positions with key national organizations, including the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. She is a sought-after speaker whose writing has appeared on numerous websites. Carr has also appeared as a guest on numerous national media outlets. In 2018, she was named to Essence magazine’s“Woke 100” list.

At UHart, Carr was a member of Brothers and Sisters United, where she served as vice-president during her third year, and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She  graduated from the University’s The Hartt School in 1996, majoring in music management, and resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Michael Gargano Jr. ‘78

Michael Gargano Jr., EdD, is an experienced leader in the field of higher education, having served in various positions of increasing responsibility over the past 36 years. Retired, he most recently served as president and chief executive officer of St. Vincent’s College in Bridgeport, Conn. 

Previously, Gargano was provost and senior vice president for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. He has also held senior administrative positions at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the Louisiana State University system, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and The George Washington University. Gargano also held administrative positions at the University of Rhode Island and the University of Hartford.   

At UHart, he filled many roles, including that of men’s golf student-athlete, men’s golf coach, and athletics administrator.

Throughout his career in higher education, Gargano has made increased access to—and affordability of—a college education for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students a point of emphasis. He has also made increasing retention and graduation rates a priority.

Gargano received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University’s Barney School of Business in 1978, and then went on to earn a doctoral degree in higher education administration from The George Washington University in 2001. He lives in Hartford. 

Ryan Speedo Green ’08 

Bass baritone Ryan Speedo Green is an international opera star who regularly appears with the world’s leading opera houses. Green is currently engaged by the Vienna State Opera singing leading roles, and regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera, most recently as Oroe in Semiramide,which was broadcast live to movie theaters around the world. Additional credits include appearances with Houston Grand Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra. 

In fall 2016, his autobiography Sing for Your Lifewas published. The book tells the story of Green’s personal and artistic journey from a trailer park in southeastern Virginia and time spent in Virginia’s juvenile facility of last resort, to the Met. He has visited, spoken with, and sung for youth at the facility where he was once incarcerated.   

Green has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his talents, including the 2014 George London Foundation Award, the 2014 Annenberg Grant, and the 2014 Gerda Lissner First Prize. He was also a finalist at the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.     

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School in 2008, Green earned a master’s degree in music from Florida State University. He is a native of Suffolk, Va.

Bernard Kavaler ’79, M’88

Bernard Kavaler has enjoyed a diverse professional life keynoted by public service, support of the nonprofit sector, and commitment to community. He is founding principal of Express Strategies, an independent communications and public policy consulting business, and managing editor of Connecticut by the Numbers, a news website. Prior to that, Kavaler was assistant vice chancellor for public affairs at the Connecticut State University System (2007–12).

Kavaler has also served in various communications roles in Connecticut state government, including the offices of the State Treasurer (1999–2007), Secretary of the State (1995–99), and Attorney General (1991–95).

Kavaler is president of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, and serves on the board of Leadership Greater Hartford. He is also involved with the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition and the World Affairs Council’s Maps for All initiative. 

Kavaler has been an active volunteer at the University. He is past president and a longtime member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In addition, he was a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors and has participated in student mentoring programs.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1979, and an MPA from the Barney School of Business in 1988.

Donald H. Shaw Jr. M’77 

Donald Shaw has enjoyed a distinguished career in the private sector and in public service. He retired in 2010 after seven years in the City of Hartford’s Management and Budget Office. Prior to that, Shaw was an associate partner at Accenture, retiring in 2003. His career began in Wethersfield, Conn., as an assistant to the town manager from 1975–81.

Shaw served as interim executive director for Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity between 2012–14, chaired the organization’s board of directors from 2004–08, and was elected board member emeritus in 2016. He is currently on Hartford’s Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation Board of Trustees, and is a Top 10 member of the 2018 Class of Connecticut’s 60 Over 60. 

Shaw remains a volunteer for Hartford Habitat. He has served on seven Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Projects in South Africa, Mexico, India, Thailand, Canada, and twice in Haiti. Shaw also volunteered at Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Miss., and in central Florida rebuilding homes after Hurricane Katrina.

Shaw earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1969 before earning his master’s degree from UHart’s Barney School of Business. He resides in Granby, Conn.

To learn more about the Anchor Awards and the recognition ceremony during Hawktober Weekend, contact Jim Keener in the UHart Alumni Engagement office at 860.768.2466 or alumni@hartford.edu.