President of the Bonner Foundation to speak at Averett University’s Winter Commencement

Posted on November 29th, 2018 by Danielle Staub

Robert Hackett, president of the Bonner Foundation, will speak to more than 125 graduates in Averett University’s Winter Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 8. The ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m., will be held at the University’s E. Stuart James Grant Athletic and Convocation Center at the North Campus, 707 Mt. Cross Rd. in Danville.

Averett University will graduate 165 students between the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS), the IDEAL and traditional programs this commencement. Of those 165 students, 128 will be walking across the stage on December 8. Two-thirds of the graduates completed their degrees with the GPS program, one student through the IDEAL program and the rest traditional. Fifteen students completed their degree in August, but will be walking in the December ceremony. Among the graduates, 20 are veterans and three are international students from Sweden, Norway and Columbia.

The honorary speaker, Robert Hackett joined the Bonner Foundation in 1992 as vice president and director of the Bonner Scholars Program and assumed the role of president in July 2010. In that time, the Bonner Program has become the premier service-based scholarship program in the country, supporting 3,000 students annually on 65 colleges and universities. Averett University joined the Bonner Network in fall 2017 and currently has 21 National Bonner Leaders. These students devote 3-5 hours per week of community engagement in the Danville community, linking their academic studies and career interest.

Prior to joining the Bonner Foundation, Hackett worked for several years at the local level in Washington, D.C. with the Telesis Corporation building affordable housing and revitalizing low-income neighborhoods. Both during and after college, he served in various capacities with the Youth Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan organization that researches and reports on policies and programs relating to young people.

Hackett has been working with colleges and college students since he graduated from college in 1985 when he became the managing director and co-founder of the Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL). COOL’s mission was to “to educate, connect and mobilize college students and their campuses to strengthen communities through service and action.” COOL helped catalyze the student service movement that continues to transform higher education and the local communities where students serve.

Hackett received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1985 and a master’s in public and private management from Yale University’s School of Organization and Management in 1990.