Honorary Degree Recipients

William Conaty
William J. Conaty ’67,
Honorary Doctorate in Business

William J. Conaty is widely recognized as a preeminent world leader in the field of human resources and spent 40 years with General Electric Company before retiring at the end of 2007. As Senior Vice President, Corporate Human Resources at General Electric Company 1993-2007, he was the human resources leader for over 300,000 GE employees worldwide. He is acclaimed for his track record of innovation and was the architect behind many of GE’s human resource practices in the areas of workforce differentiation and succession planning.

After retiring from GE, in 2008 Mr. Conaty joined the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice where he has served as an Advisory Partner for the past 14 years. Mr. Conaty also served on the advisory board of The Cornell Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), the world’s leading partnership between industry and academia. The William J. Conaty Professor of Strategic Human Resources in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University is named in his honor and was established through a donation from the GE Foundation upon Mr. Conaty’s retirement. In 2007, he was inducted as a Distinguished Fellow to the National Academy of Human Resources, the highest honor, and served as Chairman of the HR Policy Association 2001-2007. He is co-author of The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers (2020) and frequently cited as a role model for others turning HR organizations into strategic business partners.

Mr. Conaty is among Bryant’s most accomplished alumni and he and his wife, Sue, are among the most generous donors in Bryant history. He served as captain of Bryant’s 1967 baseball team and was inducted into Bryant’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. He was recognized with Bryant’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999. Together with Michael E. Fisher ’67, Mr. Conaty co-chaired Bryant’s historic capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity, which concluded in 2019 with $111 million raised and set a record for the highest philanthropy in the University’s history. The William J. and Sue Conaty Indoor Athletic Center, the largest facility of its kind in the region, and Conaty Park Baseball and Softball Complex are named for their philanthropy. Mr. Conaty devoted nearly a decade of service to Bryant University as the former Chair of the Board of Trustees, additionally serving with distinction as Vice Chair, Secretary of the Executive Committee, and Trustee since 2008.

In addition to his service to Bryant, Mr. Conaty has served as a Trustee at Sacred Heart University, on the Board of Directors at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and on the Board of Trustees of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital.

Kim Anderson
Honorary Doctorate in Business

Noted social entrepreneur Kim Anderson is a role model who demonstrates the impact of scalable market-based solutions on combating global issues such as climate change.

Ms. Anderson has been a successful retailer and business leader for more than 35 years. In 2019, she created and co-founded PLANT CITY, the world’s first and largest plant-based food hall with celebrity chef Matthew Kenney, as an impact investment to show that food systems can be sustainable and delicious. In 2021, she opened two PLANT CITY X’s, the Northeast’s first plant-based drive-thrus in Middletown and Warwick, RI, and 345 by Plant City, a new Providence speakeasy, opened in 2022. With a focus on sustainability, the Plant City model calls for adaptive reuse of existing buildings- often in stark contrast to what was there before.

Ms. Anderson began her career in the management and buying departments of Jordan Marsh and Macy’s before launching her own series of highly successful ventures. In 2009 she co-founded, with her 15-year-old daughter, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, the nation’s safest full line of personal care and home cleaning products. Their business educated millions of Americans on the dangers of harmful product chemicals.

Anderson has been recognized by Inc. MagazineFortune and Entrepreneur, and honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Small Business Association and “Citizen of the Year” by the Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. With her family, she is an impact investor against climate crisis, specifically with an interest in alternative proteins. She is a member of the Advisory Board for PlantPure Companies and a co-founder of EverHope Capital, a venture capital fund providing Seed, Bridge and Series A capital to firms creating innovative food technologies and alternatives to animal-based products. She also serves on the board of Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Lincoln School, and the Collis Family Foundation, and as a judge for Rhode Island Business Competition. She was recently selected to be fifth Rhode Islander to be entered into RI Entrepreneur Hall of Fame by the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center (MET) School.

Ms. Anderson’s honorary degree is the fourth Bryant degree in her family. Her parents, the late Robert Sprague ’56 and Audrey (Perreault) Sprague ‘56, were both graduates of Bryant College and her late father-in-law, Charlie Collis, was a former Bryant trustee and received an honorary degree from Bryant College in 1983.

Elizabeth Robson

Elizabeth (Betty) Robson, J.D.
Honorary Doctorate in Business

Awarded at Bryant University Graduate Programs Commencement, May 19, 2022

Global trade leader Betty Robson is a successful attorney, Licensed Customs Broker, Master Customs Specialist, Certified Global Business Professional, and accredited Hofstede lecturer. With areas of deep expertise in areas including international trade, global trade, international business, international shipping, international supply chain, women-owned business, and women’s leadership, she has spent her distinguished career interacting with importers, exporters, government agencies and other international trade experts.

Ms. Robson serves as President and CEO of JF Moran, a national customs broker, freight forwarder and worldwide logistics provider to which she has nearly 35 years. She has been working at the family-owned and operated company since she was 15, beginning as a billing clerk. Under her tenure as CEO and president, J.F. Moran, a certified woman-owned enterprise, has excelled through her focus on how individual relationships and mentoring within a company can help employees thrive. In addition to running the family business, Ms. Robson has served as Associate Professor in the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, teaching courses focused on global trade, supply chain management and international business negotiation.

Ms. Robson is a founding director of Women in World Trade New England and serves as Chair of the Rhode Island District Export Council, on the Board of Directors of the Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, and on the National Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarder’s Association’s Master Customs Specialist Review Committee. She is a past President of the Air Cargo Club of New England and was the first woman President of the Boston Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association. She is also an appointed member of the RI Freight Advisory Committee and was a previously appointed member of the RI Transportation Advisory Committee. She is also Chairperson of The World Trade Day Committee for the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University. In 2021, Providence Business News recognized Ms. Robson with its Leaders and Achievers Award.

She received her B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Boston College and her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.

Arun Singh

Arun Singh, M.D.
Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters
Awarded at Bryant University Physician Assistant Program Commencement, March 26, 2022

Noted cardiothoracic surgeon Arun Singh, M.D., is one of the prolific cardiac surgeons in American history. He began practicing at Rhode Island Hospital almost 50 years ago and has helped to build a nationally recognized cardiac surgery program there. Dr. Singh performed more than 15,000 heart surgeries and 5,000 related procedures before retiring from active surgery in 2016. Prior to retirement, he was a Professor of Surgery at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and is now Emeritus, and has been an adjunct professor in Bryant University’s Physician Assistant program since 2016.

Dr. Singh has received numerous awards including the “Hero at Heart” award from The American Heart Association and the lifetime achievement designation from Rhode Island Hospital. He was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2017 and was named “Top Doc” for 20 consecutive years by Rhode Island Monthly magazine.

He has authored, edited, and co-edited many books including Your Heart, My Hands, which chronicles his life from his childhood in India to his career and interaction with his patients. He has also published more than 150 scientific papers in medical texts and given lectures on heart diseases and cardiac surgery to professional and lay audiences both regionally and nationally. Dr. Singh has earned numerous awards, including the American Heart Association ” Hero at Heart,” the Dr. Charles L. Hill Award from Rhode Island Medical Society, and the Milton Halmosky Outstanding Physician Award, awarded by the Rhode Island Hospital Medical Staff Association.

Dr. Singh is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Chest Physicians, The Royal College of Surgeons, and a member both the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the American Association of Thoracic Surgery, as well as the fellow of American Heart Association. He was born in India and educated and trained at Columbia University, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London and Brown University Medical School.