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Beth Shluger, founder of the Hartford Marathon will be the guest speaker at the University of Saint Joseph’s 2024 commencement ceremony to take place on Saturday, May 11 at the XL Center in Downtown Hartford.

“I am pleased to announce that Beth Shluger, founder of the Hartford Marathon, will be awarded an honorary degree and provide brief remarks at our commencement ceremony on May 11,” University of Saint Joseph President Dr. Rhona Free stated in a message to all members of the USJ community. “As many of you know, it is a USJ tradition to award honorary degrees at commencement to exemplary leaders, whose life and work reflect USJ’s values. I look forward to joining you to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating students and to hearing Ms. Shluger’s  inspiring words at USJ’s 89th commencement.”

Inspired by a love of running and community, Shluger founded the Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) in 1994 to promote healthy living through fitness and physical activity, and to use HMF events to support charity, sustainability, tourism, and economic growth.

In her almost 30 years as CEO of the Foundation, Shluger expanded it beyond its flagship Hartford Marathon—now known as the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon— to more than 30 annual fitness events including road races, training programs for adults and children, triathlons, and duathlons throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Each race supports running and fitness programs, as well as local charities. The Eversource Hartford Marathon alone brings in about $15 million in economic value to the area over the course of a race weekend and has raised nearly $9 million for charity.

Shluger and HMF produced the Sandy Hook Run for the Families in 2013 in support of families of victims and first responders from neighboring Newtown, Conn. HMF received the “best amateur sporting event in the United States” award from Sports Travel magazine for the event, which raised $438,000 for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

Shluger is a recipient of the National Women’s Running Magazine Trailblazer Award and was recognized as Connecticut Sports Leader of the Year by the March of Dimes. She received the Thomas Shortell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Sports World and has been honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

For more information about USJ’s 2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Students Commencement Ceremony, please visit: