Honorary Degree Citation: Rosanne Haggerty

Honorary Degree Citation
College of the Holy Cross
May 26, 2023

Humanitarian and social entrepreneur. Innovator and applied learner. Advocate for stronger communities and tireless voice for people experiencing homelessness. 

Rosanne Haggerty, for more than three decades, you have served communities that are too often overlooked. You have earned an international reputation for developing innovative strategies to assist the world’s most vulnerable residents. You have opened the eyes of millions to the idea that homelessness can be ended. 

Influenced in your childhood by your surroundings, specifically befriending folks who lived in rooming houses, you graduated from Amherst College and empathetically sought to start your life in similar situations in New York City. In immersing yourself in a community, you found opportunities where others quit. 

In 1991, you focused on New York’s historic Time Square Hotel, referred to as “Homeless Hell”, rife with more than 1,700 code violations. You chose to focus on the humanity of those living inside, the more than 200 people who called the building home. With that, Common Ground was founded. Your dedication created the nation’s largest supported housing development for people experiencing homelessness. 

You provided a blueprint for a permanent solution to homelessness. Your pioneering work within the field showed that individuals shouldn’t be forgotten and often through support become positive influences in the community. You proved your work could be replicated by transforming The Prince George Hotel into another example of sustained viability. 

In 2011, you founded Community Solutions, where you currently serve as the president and chief executive officer. You initiated and oversaw the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which housed that many people in more than 180 communities across the United States. You were motivated to do more and launched the Built for Zero initiative, meant to prove homelessness is a problem that can be solved.  

You are a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, an Ashoka Senior Fellow, a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover and Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur. You received the National Design Award from Cooper-Hewitt and the Smithsonian, as well as the John Gardner Leadership Award, and the Jane Jacobs Medal for new ideas and activism from the Rockefeller Foundation. Your alma mater, Amherst College named you a Life Trustee.

That all may know of our great esteem for you and our strong support for your distinguished career as a humanitarian, social entrepreneur, advocate for the less fortunate and your courage to find a solution to homelessness when others turned away, the College of the Holy Cross confers upon you this day the degree, Doctor of Laws. 

Vincent D. Rougeau, President

Ann Marie Leshkowich, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Dean of the College