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Hartford President Leaves Commencement After Jeers

May 19, 2021

Gregory Woodward, the president of the University of Hartford in Connecticut, left a commencement ceremony this weekend after being booed following the institution’s decision to leave Division I athletics for Division III.

Woodward left a commencement ceremony for the university’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions, the Hartford Courant reported. He departed when it became clear audience members would continue to interrupt in order to head off additional disruptions, according to a statement the university provided to the Courant.

“It was clear there were going to be continued interruptions from some members of the audience during the events,” the statement said, according to the Courant. “As most of the language was directed at him, the president excused himself to allow the spotlight to remain where it belonged -- on our graduates.”

The university’s Board of Regents recently approved the move to Division III. University of Hartford leaders have cited fit and financials as reasons for the move, which has been criticized for its possible effect on athletes, alumni relations and philanthropy.

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Rick Seltzer

Rick Seltzer, Projects Editor, oversaw special projects and coordinated daily production for Inside Higher Ed from 2019 through May 2021. He joined the publication in 2016, covering finance and management. Previously, he worked as a reporter for The Baltimore Business Journal, The Bloomington Herald-Times, the Central New York Business Journal and The Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has covered numerous business, municipal, government and general assignment beats. Rick graduated from Syracuse University in 2008.

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