Breaking News
More () »

Rep. Jahana Hayes picked as commencement speaker for University of Saint Joseph

Hayes received her masters degree in 2012 from the university, and the school stated she was a model for the graduates.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-5) will address the graduating class of the University of Saint Joseph this spring, the school announced Thursday.

Hayes will be the 87th commencement speaker for the university, as well as an alumn. 

In 2012, Hays graduated from the University of Saint Joseph with a master's degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction. In 2017, Hayes was recognized with the university's Distinguished Alumni Award. 

RELATED: The Real Story: Diversity in teaching

“We are proud that Congresswoman Hayes is a graduate of the University of Saint Joseph. She is a model of what we want for every one of our graduates: that they embrace opportunities for service and leadership in their lives and engage in the hard work that is required in the pursuit of excellence,” stated University of Saint Joseph President Rhona Free. "I know that she will inspire our students to set the highest goals for themselves as they look ahead to their future plans."

Hayes was elected to the US House of Representatives in November 2018, making her the first Black woman and Democrat to represent the state in Congress. 

Sign up for the FOX61 newsletters: Morning Forecast, Morning Headlines, Evening Headlines

In 2016, Hayes was selected as the Connecticut Teacher of the Year and then earned National Teacher of the Year. 

Hayes has traveled the country and world as a public education ambassador. 

The university's commencement ceremony also marks a significant first inaugural coeducational class of traditional undergraduates.

“In the fall of 2018 when we welcomed to campus the men who are receiving their bachelor’s degrees this May, we expected that their numbers would allow us to expand our academic majors and co-curricular activities for all students, men and women," said Free. “What we didn’t know was that these individuals, who took something of a risk in joining our first coeducational class, would so quickly become integral members of our campus community: giving tours, running events, taking part in activities, participating in internships, excelling in the classroom, and otherwise reflecting the University’s Core Values through their actions. What could have been an enormous cultural shift for our University has instead become a continuation of our best traditions while opening up wonderful opportunities for our future.”    

RELATED: State opens investigation into Killingly Board of Education following 'substantial complaint'

The ceremony will be held on May 14 at 10 a.m. at the XL Center in Hartford.


Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jglatz@fox61.com.  

Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at newstips@fox61.com 



Download the FOX61 News APP 

iTunes: Click here to download 

Google Play: Click here to download 

Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61. 

Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download. 



Paid Advertisement