Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary Degree Recipients

The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) will award two honorary degrees at its 81st Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Honorary degree recipients include Suzy Whaley and Sarita E. Brown.  Both recipients reflect the University’s values of leadership, service, and excellence in their respective fields.

whaley-suzy.jpgSuzy Whaley is the first woman to ever be elected as an Officer (Secretary) of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA). A member of the National PGA Board of Directors from 2011-2013, Whaley served as chair of the Junior Committee, co-chair of the Player Development Committee, and on the Instruction and Diversity Committees.

Recognized as a Top 50 golf instructor by Golf Digest, Whaley started at TPC River Highlands  (Cromwell, CT) in 2005 as a PGA Teaching Professional before being promoted to Director of Instruction in 2013. From 2004-2006, she worked as an LPGA Golf Commentator for ESPN. A highly decorated golfer, Whaley was a member of the LPGA Tour in 1990 and 1993, and most famously qualified and participated in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, becoming the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for an event on the PGA Tour. 

Among her many honors, the Connecticut PGA Section recognized Whaley as its PGA Teacher of the Year in 2004 and 2007, and as its Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient in 2003. She is a Volunteer Assistant Golf Coach for both the Quinnipiac University Women's Golf Team and the Farmington High School Girls Golf Team. Ms. Whaley will be honored at the undergraduate ceremony at 10:00 a.m.

brown-sarita.jpgSarita E. Brown is President of Excelencia in Education, a not-for-profit organization accelerating Latino success in higher education by linking research, policy, and practice to serve Latino students. She has spent more than two decades at prominent national educational institutions and at the highest levels of government working to implement effective strategies to raise academic achievement and opportunity for low-income and minority students.

Brown started her career at the University of Texas at Austin by building a national model promoting minority success in graduate education. Coming to the nation’s capital in 1993 to work for educational associations, she was appointed Executive Director of the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, serving under President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley.

Maintaining her commitment to improving the quality of education, Brown applied her talents and experience to the not-for-profit sector and in 2004, co-founded Excelencia in Education. Brown currently serves on the Board of Directors of ACT, Catch the Next, Editorial Projects in Education, and Excelencia in Education.  Ms. Brown will be honored at the graduate ceremony at 3:00 p.m.