April 29, 2022 (Middletown, Conn.) — Renowned Grammy®-nominated jazz saxophonist, composer and professor Dr. Jimmy Greene will be the 2022 commencement speaker at Middlesex Community College. The graduation ceremony will take place at Orville H. Platt High School in Meriden, on Thursday, May 26, at 6 p.m.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Jimmy Greene will be our commencement speaker this year. His beautiful and thoughtful music communicates a very strong message of refusing to succumb to negativity. He has a passion and unifying presence that represents all we are trying to do at Middlesex to be a community of compassion and inclusion. His story as an educator, musician, composer and family man will inspire the class of 2022 and all who attend our graduation ceremony,” said Kimberly Hogan, Interim CEO, and echoed by Steven Minkler, former Middlesex CEO. They will both preside over this year’s ceremony.
Dr. Jimmy Greene is co-coordinator of Jazz Studies and associate professor of music at Western Connecticut State University and was awarded a 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award for his efforts. Prior to his WCSU appointment, Dr. Greene taught at the University of Manitoba, SUNY Purchase and the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music. Dr. Greene has given clinics and master classes throughout the United States, Canada, Brazil, Israel and Russia. Three of his former students have been named semi-finalists in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition, and 18 student musicians and small ensembles under Dr. Greene’s direction have won DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards.
A native of Hartford, Greene is considered one of the most respected saxophonists of his generation. On his heartfelt new album, While Looking Up, he was guided by the inspirational words of his pastor: “If I’m not able to find strength or peace by looking inward,” he said, “or if I’m not able to do it by looking outward to my immediate surroundings, I have to look upward.”
Two of his prior albums, Beautiful Life and Flowers: Beautiful Life Vol. 2 (both released by the Mack Avenue label) are celebrations of the life of his 6-year old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, whose life was tragically taken in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Beautiful Life garnered two Grammy® nominations, one for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and one for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for Greene’s song “When I Come Home.” Greene has performed selections from the album on CBS This Morning, NBC’s The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and the nationally syndicated Meredith Vieira Show. His previous solo releases were also met with much critical acclaim.
Greene and his groups perform regularly in jazz venues, festivals and clubs worldwide. Greene has also performed and presented in churches, faith-based conferences, mental health conferences and arts symposiums throughout the United States and Canada.
In addition to his recordings and appearances as a leader, Greene appears on over 75 albums as a sideman, and has toured and/or recorded with Horace Silver, Ron Carter, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick Jr., Avishai Cohen, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Dee Dee Bridgewater, the New Jazz Composers Octet and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, among many others.
Since 1966, Middlesex Community College has provided high-quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, enhancing the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. A part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, Middlesex offers more than 70 degree or certificate programs at the main 35-acre campus in Middletown, the Meriden Center at Platt High School and online.
Connecticut’s 12 community colleges are merging into a singly accredited institution called CT State Community College. The merger will combine and strengthen resources and support equitable student success across the state while maintaining campus communities and access. To learn more about the merger, visit ct.edu/merger.