One of the Iraq War’s leading commanding military officials, Major General Robert Catalanotti (Ret.) ’80, will deliver the address at the College’s 98th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 16, and receive an honorary degree from the College. An honorary degree will also be conferred upon Terrence W. Macy ‘70, Ph.D., former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services. The ceremony, which starts at 10 a.m., will be held on Assumption’s H.L. Rocheleau Field.
As base commander at Camp Taji in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, Catalanotti was responsible for 15,000 Iraqi soldiers and more than 500 coalition soldiers from the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Poland, and Estonia—earning a Bronze Star for his service. Located 20 miles north of Baghdad, Camp Taji was the largest military base used by coalition forces in Iraq.
Catalanotti retired from the U.S. Army in September 2014 and now serves as chief operations officer and director of the Military Veteran’s Psychology Program at William James College in Newton, Mass.
Assumption College President Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., noted that Catalanotti was selected as this year’s Commencement speaker because his leadership and service to this country embody the values of a Catholic liberal arts education.
“Major General Catalanotti understands that the aim of education is to form virtuous citizens who will become advocates for the common good,” said Cesareo. “Not only has he demonstrated this in his efforts as a military leader, but also in his work as an advocate of the liberal arts, Catholic identity, and Assumption College’s mission.”
Catalanotti previously served as director of exercises for U.S. Central Command, Tampa, Fla., from 2012-2014, where he was responsible for exercises and strategic partnership building in the Middle East and Central Asia. Prior to that, he was commanding general of the 98th Training Division in Rochester, N.Y., from 2006 to 2008, where he oversaw more than 3,000 drill sergeants and leaders training the Army's newest recruits and as senior advisor to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior, Riyadh, from 2008-2012. In January 2008, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in a ceremony held at Assumption and attended by high-ranking U.S. Army officers.
He has commanded at every level—from platoon through division levels—and was responsible for over 6,000 soldiers and civilian personnel in both active and reserve organizations. Catalanotti was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal and the Department of State Superior Honor Award, two of the highest service awards presented in peacetime upon retirement. In the Iraq War, he received the Combat Action Badge.
Catalanotti is a 1980 graduate of Assumption College who also holds Master’s degrees from Suffolk University and the U.S. Army War College. Catalanotti and his wife Karen (Farina) ’78 live in Grafton, Mass. They have two children, Eric and Brigit ’11. Eric, a U.S. Army Ranger Captain (Tufts University’09) and his wife, Captain Brittaney (McAllister) Catalanotti are jointly assigned at Fort Benning, Ga. Both have had combat tours in Afghanistan.
In addition to Catalanotti, an honorary degree will also be conferred upon Terrence W. Macy ‘70, Ph.D., former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS).
A 1970 Assumption College graduate, Macy was appointed DDS commissioner in 2011 by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. In this role, Macy oversaw the $1.1 billion state agency, which serves 19,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families, including 4,000 infants and toddlers.
Macy has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for 40 years, serving in both the public and private sector. He began his career working in Connecticut in various positions at the DDS Hartford Regional Center. Following that he worked in state regional systems in Ohio, where he was instrumental in developing responsive methods for supporting individuals transitioning back to their communities from institutional settings. During this period, he also pursued graduate degrees at The Ohio State University, where he worked extensively on transition issues.
After moving back to Connecticut, Macy has worked for 27 years in the private sector and taught nonprofit graduate courses at the University of Connecticut and special education courses at Southern Connecticut State University.
He has served on numerous statewide boards and councils in various capacities including: past president and member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Association of Non-profits, chair of the Public Policy Council, and co-chair of the Level of Need Subcommittee of the DDS Legislative Rate Study Committee.
Macy also belongs to several national professional organizations. He is a fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities—twice chair of its Northeast Region X and chair of the Connecticut Chapter—a member of the National Conference of Executive Directors of The Arc, and chair of The Arc U.S. Board Chapter Excellence Training Committee.
The resident of Madison, Conn., has also taught at the community college, undergraduate and graduate levels at Connecticut colleges and universities. He participated as well in a University of Connecticut program instructing education professionals and parents in the “Using Special Education” Program for several years.
Macy received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Assumption College. He earned both his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in developmental disabilities (developmental psychology) from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.