Written by Ed Osborn
Willimantic, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University announced today that Donald E. Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post, will receive an honorary degree at the University’s 127th Commencement on May 16 at the XL Center in Hartford. Graham will also deliver the Commencement Address.
Graham is chairman of Graham Holdings Co., formerly the Washington Post Co. A graduate of Harvard College, he is a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving as an information specialist with the First Cavalry Division from 1967-68.
He later served as a patrolman on the Washington, D.C., police force before joining the staff at the Washington Post in 1971 as a reporter. Graham assumed the position of publisher of the Washington Post in 1979, following in the footsteps of his mother, Katherine Graham, who led the newspaper following her husband Philip Graham’s passing in 1963. In 1991, Donald Graham took over leadership as chief executive officer of the Washington Post Co.
In addition to his duties with Graham Holdings, Graham is a trustee of the Federal City Council. He also has served as a director of the College Success Foundation, KIPP-DC, The Summit Fund of Washington and Facebook, and was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
In 2013, Graham and his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amanda Bennett, joined Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Henry R. Munoz III, chairman of Munoz & Company, to co-found TheDream.US, a national scholarship fund that helps undocumented immigrant youth get access to a college education.
Since its founding, TheDream.US has raised $91 million in scholarship funds, providing financial support to 1,700 college students nationwide.
Through the support of Graham and the staff at TheDream.US, 47 students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (DACA) enrolled at Eastern in the fall of 2016. These “Opportunity Scholars” are receiving four-year scholarships from TheDream.US, which will cover their tuition, fees, room and board to attend Eastern and earn their bachelor’s degree.
Mr. Graham also co-founded and served as chairman of the District of Columbia College Access Program; he remains a member of the board. The program has helped double the number of District of Columbia public high school students going on to college and has helped triple the number graduating from college.