Wright State to award honorary degree at spring commencement

Sarah Hackenbracht, a Wright State political science graduate and president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wright State at spring commencement on April 29.

Wright State University will award an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to alumna Sarah Hackenbracht at its spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, in the Wright State Nutter Center.

Wright State will also hold a commencement ceremony for its graduate programs on Friday, April 28, at 7 p.m. in the Nutter Center.

The spring class of 2023 includes 1,603 graduates.

“I am stunned and incredibly humbled by this honor,” said Hackenbracht. “It feels far too early in my career and life for such a recognition. I hope that I can use this recognition and opportunity to strengthen my support for Wright State in a meaningful way.”

Hackenbracht, who originally started her college career as a vocal performance major, graduated from Wright State in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in women’s studies.

While at Wright State, she participated in Model United Nations and served as head delegate for two consecutive years. Hackenbracht said that although she originally chose Wright State because of its exceptional fine and performing arts program, it was her experience with Model U.N. that eventually inspired her to choose another path.

“During my time at Wright State, I had the privilege of working closely with Drs. Laura Luehrmann and Donna Schlagheck in their leadership of Wright State’s award-winning Model United Nations team,” said Hackenbracht. “Because of that experience, I had a front-row seat to their tireless advocacy and unwavering support for their students, programs and department. Those years at Wright State and my connections with the Model United Nations team cemented friendships that carried me into adulthood. Some of those individuals are still cornerstones in my professional life.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Wright State, Hackenbracht received a Master of Public Administration and an emerging leader certificate from the University of Dayton.

Hackenbracht has nearly 20 years of nonprofit and health care experience beginning with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

She has served as executive director of the Cuyahoga Health Access Plan. In 2016, she worked with the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association to launch the Dayton region’s advance care planning initiative, Decide to be Heard, and was named president and CEO of the hospital association in 2019.

During her tenure as president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, Hackenbracht has been at the forefront of the regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is responsible for a team that serves the region’s 29 hospitals and health systems across 11 counties.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years, including being named a Cleveland Bridge Builder in 2014, a member of Leadership Dayton’s Class of 2020, an honorary commander for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 2011 and 2022, a member of Dayton Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 in 2010, the Dayton Business Journal’s Power 50 in 2020 and 2022 and the Better Business Women in Business Networking Top 25 in 2020.

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