Joseph W. Polisi, an accomplished musician and scholar who has served as the president of The Julliard School since 1984, received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at Tufts University’s commencement May 21. John Bello, a trustee of the university was on hand to escort his neighbor and his wife, Elizabeth, and to participate in his hooding.

Polisi has led Julliard to more than three decades of growth, increased collaboration with partner institutions, and global development in support of the arts. He has performed extensively as a bassoonist, both as a soloist and chamber musician. He received a Master of Arts in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts in 1970.


Tufts University trustee John Bello, left, with fellow Rye resident Joseph Polisi

At the College of Staten Island Commencement Ceremony May 30, President Dr. William Fritz conferred honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees upon Robin and Peter Jovanovich for their unique and generous support of scholarship students in the Teacher Education Honors Academy. These scholars go on to teach Math or Science in New York City public schools.

Robin and Peter are, respectively, president and former chairman of the Alfred Harcourt Foundation, which provides need-based college scholarships to students from underserved high schools. Their efforts over the last five years have resulted in over $250,000 in Ellen Knowles Harcourt Scholarships awarded to Teacher Education Honors Academy students and an ongoing annual commitment of $135,000. This scholarship money guarantees that the recipients will graduate with no debt, which is critically important for students who are committed to a career in teaching.

“What distinguishes these scholarships is the special role Robin and Peter play,” noted Mathematics Professor Dr. Jane Coffee in her nomination. “They visit the College of Staten Island each semester and meet individually with the Harcourt Scholars. They review each student’s record, discuss their achievements and problems, and, as one Harcourt Scholar said, ‘they care about me.’ They have had a personal impact on the lives of these students.”

CSI President Dr. William Fritz, at left, and Senior VP for Academic Affairs/ Provost Dr. Gary Reichard with Robin and Peter Jovanovich