President Michael S. Roth announced Wesleyan’s 2012 honorary degree recipients as follows:
I’m pleased to announce that U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87, a leading advocate for education reforms that support great teaching, will deliver the commencement address at the university’s 180th Commencement in May.
Our other honorary degree recipients at Commencement are also in the Wesleyan family: Glenn Ligon ’82, a multi-talented, nationally recognized artist; and Cecile Richards P’13, whose leadership of Planned Parenthood has helped to make the world safer and healthier.
Michael F. Bennet ’87
Michael F. Bennet was elected to his first full term as U.S. Senator for Colorado in November 2010. He is a pragmatic and independent thinker who embodies the values of the western state he represents, and whose work has contributed to good in the world, in the best of the Wesleyan tradition.
As the father of three little girls, he is driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. He has been a tireless advocate – first as Denver Schools superintendent and now as a member of the Senate Education Committee – for bold, locally driven changes to public education that would ensure every child is prepared to compete in a rapidly changing economy.
His concern for the next generation has fueled his efforts to build bipartisan consensus around a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction. It has also informed his efforts to ensure the pharmaceutical drugs we take every day are safe and do not harm American families.
As Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, he led an innovative and inclusive reform effort that turned around failing schools and produced strong gains in reading, math, writing and science.