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Commencement 2020

Speakers

Mo Cotton Kelly

Commencement Speaker

Montique "Mo" Cotton Kelly
Vice President, Alumni Relations and Communications

Mo Cotton Kelly leads the University of Connecticut Alumni Relations staff and hundreds of volunteers to connect UConn’s 255,000-plus alumni worldwide. With nearly 22 years in the higher education advancement field, she has a national reputation as a strategic and visionary leader in alumni relations. She joined UConn in 2014 and is a member of the Foundation’s Senior Management Team. Previously she was executive director of Bowling Green State University’s Alumni Association. Mo received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BGSU. She is active in the Council for Alumni Association Executives and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Provost Carl Lejuez

Commencement Speaker

Carl W. Lejuez
UConn Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Carl W. Lejuez serves as UConn’s chief academic officer, overseeing academic and institutional strategic planning and playing a major role in the budgeting and allocation of University resources. All schools and colleges, the Library, regional campuses, student success units, academic administrative units, and interdisciplinary centers and institutes report to the Provost’s Office. In collaboration with these units and their leadership, Lejuez guides the University's academic policies and procedures, academic program planning and implementation, program assessment, student success initiatives, graduate education, institutional research, university libraries, university information technology systems and services, and academic personnel management (including appointments and reappointments of faculty and staff, tenure and promotion, and annual evaluations).

Prior to coming to UConn, Lejuez had served at the University of Kansas as interim provost and executive vice chancellor for two years and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for two years. He previously was professor of psychology and associate dean of research for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland.

Lejuez’s research interests include mood disorders, addictions, mental health interventions for marginalized and underserved populations, and a range of related topics. At Maryland, he founded and led the Center for Addictions, Personality and Emotions Research. Before joining Maryland, he was an assistant research professor at Brown University, and he also has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven.

Lejuez has received grant funding from several sources for his research and is widely published, having also served on several editorial boards and having been a founding editor of the publication “Personality Disorders: Theory, Research and Treatment.” Moreover, he is the co-editor of the “Cambridge University Press Handbook of Personality Disorders,” published in spring 2020.

He holds his MA and Ph.D., both in clinical psychology, from West Virginia University; and earned his BA in psychology from Emory University.

Lejuez is the first generation in his family to attend college, an accomplishment that he has in common with one of every four UConn students.

Tanya Miller

Student Speaker - Saturday, May 8 Ceremony

Tanya Miller '20 (CLAS)

Tanya Miller is a Czech American who spent most of her life growing up in Connecticut. She earned her BS in physiology and neurobiology, served as the chairperson of the John and Valerie Rowe Health Professions Program, and was also a McNair Scholar. She completed her Honors Thesis, “Assessing a Mouse Model of Post-Infectious Hydrocephalus,” under the guidance of Dr. Joanne Conover. As a member of the inaugural cohort of UConn BOLD Scholars, she created a documentary entitled “#ILookLikeADoctor'' in order to increase the visibility of female physicians and to encourage students from nontraditional backgrounds to pursue medicine. This fall, Tanya will begin studying at Johns Hopkins University in their MSN: Entry into Nursing program. She is excited to become a leader in healthcare with a focus on serving LGBTQIA+ populations.

close up of the university seal

Student Speaker - Monday, May 10 Ceremony

Caesar Valentin '20 (CLAS)

Caesar Valentin is a first-year joint MA-MPH student. Caesar graduated from UConn with a BA in Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in Human Rights. During his undergraduate career, he was involved in programs such as the Leadership Legacy Experience and the Puerto Rican Latin American Cultural Center and was a member of the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps 2019 Cohort.