Fellows robes

Dr Larry DeNardis

Oration

Presented by Sir Malcolm Thornton

Honorable Chancellor, it gives me great personal pleasure to present Regent Dr Lawrence DeNardis for the award of an Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University.

Larry is a former United States congressman who has pursued a combined political and educational career and as a public servant has used his office, his intelligence, energy, enthusiasm and charm to create opportunities to raise the aspirations of the communities he has served.

President Emeritus of the University of New Haven and a former United States Congressman from Connecticut, Larry has been a federal and state legislator, chief executive officer and a political science professor. He represented Connecticut’s Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 after serving five terms in the Connecticut State Senate from 1971. 

He was the Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1985-86 and was appointed by President George Bush to serve as a member of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine.

His academic career includes 16 years as an Associate Professor and Chairman of the department of Political Science at Albertus Magnus College, Visiting Professor of Government at Connecticut College, Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution, and seminar instructor at Yale University. He gained his first degree in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross and a masters and then PhD in Government from New York University.

In 1982, as a new-ish MP, I visited America as a guest of the US State Department to learn more about their political system. My Congressman pair was Larry DeNardis. I spent a long weekend with him in his constituency, met his wife, Mary Lou, (we are delighted that she is with him here today) and attended 26 engagements – a truly fascinating experience! More importantly, Larry and I quickly became friends – a deep friendship which has flourished to this day.

In public life, you never know where conversations and partnerships may lead.  When I met that young Congressman all those years ago, I knew I had met a friend for life who shared my passion for education as an engine of change. In my role as an Ambassador Fellow of LJMU, I suggested to our Vice Chancellor that we should see if we could establish links with Higher Education in New England and told him of my connection with Larry.  We went over for a whirlwind two days.  Larry had arranged for us to meet a number of people to see where we might take matters forward – one of these groups being at Southern Connecticut State University.

It’s not easy to establish a formal partnership between universities on different sides of the Atlantic. We have succeeded – we have succeeded because of shared values, shared beliefs and because our academic staff, here and in America, have seized the opportunity to create new ways to work together.

This partnership is now flourishing. The University is progressing a pioneering transatlantic partnership with Southern Connecticut State University which will result in joint degrees and in providing an extraordinary student exchange programme.

And so, for his outstanding achievement in creating transatlantic academic opportunities, it is with the greatest personal pleasure that I present Regent Dr Larry DeNardis for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.