Page 1

a publication for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University


HILTON C. BULEY LIBRARY Bigger, Better, and Busier Than Ever FEATURED INSIDE:



Dear Southern Alumni, As you will read in Campus News, the university recently established an exciting partnership with the city of New Haven to enhance the region’s burgeoning bioscience industry. Greater New Haven already is home to the second-largest cluster of biotechnology companies in New England, and Connecticut is making concerted efforts to further develop this important economic growth center. For example, as the first phase of the city’s Downtown Crossing at 100 College Street, a 495,000-square-foot medical research and laboratory building is being constructed as the future home of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a world-class bioscience company. The project will bring approximately 960 jobs to New Haven upon completion this year. The stars are aligned for Southern to be a key player in the city’s biotechnology expansion, given our location, the pending opening of our new science building, and our commitment to increasing the number and quality of students graduating in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. In May, I and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the city supporting Southern in a new Biotechnology Academic and Career Pathway designed to provide an important link between academia and the science sector. This program will include four academic pathways for incoming students: a new major in biotechnology with a chemistry minor; an updated biochemistry concentration; graduate-level certification programs in areas such as project management and healthcare or pharmaceutical management; and new biotechnology concentrations for students in other STEM fields. The city will promote these offerings to industry partners and area educational institutions, support an internship program with area companies, and create biotechnology pathways in city schools, preparing students for entry into Southern’s programs. This and similar partnerships will be fostered through our new Office for STEM Innovation and Leadership, headed by Christine Broadbridge, professor of physics and a highly regarded nanotechnology researcher. As well as intersecting with the science industry, the office will create opportunities for student internships and innovative research projects. Our new biotechnology offerings will be housed in a 98,000-square-foot Academic and Laboratory Science Building that will be a model for innovation and sustainability when it opens this summer. As well as featuring Connecticut’s only center for nanotechnology, and training labs for supercomputing, astronomy, cancer research, and molecular biology, it will also be home to the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies, supported in part by a private gift of $3 million. The cutting-edge building will provide the launching pad for an expansion of our STEM programs. Last December, I was privileged to join higher education leaders and President Obama at the White House to announce actions to help more students prepare for, and graduate, from college. Southern’s commitment was to increase the number and quality of students graduating in the STEM disciplines, with special emphasis on ensuring the preparation of effective K-12 STEM teachers. To this end, we have pledged to increase our graduation rate in STEM degrees by 35 percent and STEM teachers with initial certification by 25 percent over the next 10 years. Our hope is that, in coming years, Southern Connecticut State University graduates will be key players in the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technological leaders of our region, our state, and beyond. Sincerely yours,

Mary A. Papazian, Ph.D. President


f e at u r e s


The Fruits of his Labor


Kamran Farid, co-founder of Edible Arrangements, helped build the business into a global powerhouse. Today, the Southern student and philanthropist is committed to forwarding others’ success.

And Now, a Word from Our Graduates

| Summer | 15

The Old, the New, and the Interesting


A look at some of the unique books and special collections that make Hilton C. Buley Library better. Souther n Journ eys


Our Owls take a few minutes before and after recent commencement ceremonies to share memories and inspirations.

Why Why it mwe give. atters. 2014 Cha ritable Giving

Southern Journeys


It’s bigger, better, and busier than ever. The expanded and newly renovated Hilton C. Buley Library remains the academic heart of campus.


Why We Give. Why It Matters. Charitable Giving Report

d e pa r t m e n t s

Pleasure Reading


From the President

2 ■ 8 ■ 24 ■ 25 ■ 26 ■ 30 ■ 36

Campus News ■ True Blue Nostalgia Hidden Campus Alumni News Alumni Notes Southern Events



president Honors southern for service



Community Service Honor Roll cited Southern for exemplary public service and outreach in two cate-

gories: General Community Service and Education Community Service. The Honor Roll provides federal recognition of colleges and universities that have made an outstanding commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The listing, which is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, also included Southern in 2008 and 2009.

sustainable southern strikes again For the second consecutive year, Southern has been

recognized among the most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review, the educational services company known for its college rankings and test preparation services. The university was lauded in the 2015 edition of “The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges,” which is available free online at: Southern was cited for numerous ecologically sound results and practices, including: a 28 percent waste-diversion rate; the fact that 15 percent of the university’s energy comes from renewable sources; a car sharing program; secure indoor bike storage, showers, and lockers for bike commuters; and much more. Check out the guide for more green programs and developments at Southern.

southern is nationally recognized for community service and sustainability. the organic campus community garden demonstrates both commitments: no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers are used, and most produce is donated to local soup kitchens.

saving the shore



world research helped earn the group first place in the

havoc along the coastline of East Haven, Conn., a

student poster competition at the New England-Saint

group of Southern students are conducting research

Lawrence Valley Geographical Society’s annual meeting. In

designed to help the city — and other beachfront commu-

addition to a monetary prize, they have been invited to

nities — weather future storms.

publish their work in the journal Northeastern Geographer.

Guided by Professor of Environmental Studies James

“We’re looking at coastal vulnerability — which areas

Tait, senior geography majors Michelle Ritchie and Fatima

are more prone to heavier damage,” Tait says. “We also

Cecunjanin have been studying the relationship between

want to see what we can do to improve the coast’s

the coastline’s elevation levels and the extent of hurricane

resilience.” The work has captured the attention of city

damage suffered.

officials. Staff members in the Office of the East Haven

“In a sense, we have been looking for the black box

Town Engineer estimate that the research would have cost

for East Haven — what happened and what can be done to

the town several hundred thousand dollars if performed by

make the shoreline less vulnerable,” says Tait. The real-

a hired company. Some of the students’ work has been


forwarded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well. Looking forward, Tait hopes to study the coastline of the Milford beach area and, perhaps, Fairfield and other communities. Meanwhile, the professor and a number of other students are looking at the West Haven coastline. Business administration major Kaitlyn Stobierski is charged with developing a cost-benefit analysis to help determine where it might be more effective to add sand to manage beaches. Stobierski, along with Catherine Cota, who is majoring in social work, and nursing major Steven Krozer, have collected two years of data on beach stability. Tait comments, “The price to nourish beaches with extra sand has skyrocketed over the last 40 years. It costs more than $800 per linear foot today, compared with about $55 per linear foot back in 1957, when a similar beach project was conducted in West Haven.” Town officials are eagerly awaiting the data. “The analysis will give us the ability to make informed and justifiable decisions,” says Mark Paine, ’90, assistant to the commissioner of public works in West Haven. “I’m grateful for the resources the Werth Center [for Coastal and Marine

Get the sCsu mobile app

tHe sCsu mobile app

lets you stay connected to southern, even when you’re on the go. features include a campus map and calendar, a real-time shuttle bus tracker, a campus phone/e-mail directory, university news updates, links to southern’s official social networks, a food service menu and webcam, and much more. sCsu mobile is available for free for the iphone and ipod touch (ios7 or later). an android version is slated to be introduced this year. for more information

Studies] is providing the city, and as a SCSU graduate, I’m

and a link to download the

pleased to be a small part of an enriching and tremen-

app, go to

dously valuable field experience for the students.”




Dr. Mary A. Papazian, President Robert L. Stamp, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Executive Director SCSU Foundation, Inc. staff

Patrick Dilger, Director of Public Affairs Villia Struyk, Editor Mary Pat Caputo, Associate Editor Michael Kobylanski, Sports Editor Marylou Conley, ’83, Art Director Isabel Chenoweth, Photographer Melanie Stengel, Contributing Photographer Charlie Davison, Alumni Notes Editor offiCe of alumni relations

Michelle R. Johnston, Director of Alumni Relations (203) 392-6500 editorial offiCe

Southern Connecticut State University Office of Public Affairs/ Southern Alumni Magazine 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515-1355 Telephone (203) 392-6591; fax (203) 392-6597 E-mail address: University website: Printed by The Lane Press, Inc.

Southern Alumni Magazine is published by the university in cooperation with the SCSU Alumni Association two times a year and distributed free of charge to alumni and friends of the university. Opinions expressed in Southern Alumni Magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the university or the SCSU Alumni Association. Although the editors have made every reasonable effort to be factually accurate, no responsibility is assumed for errors. Postage paid at Burlington, Vt.

students’ research on the coastline provides valuable information for Connecticut towns hoping to curtail future storm damage.

Southern Connecticut State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, ancestry, present or past history of mental disorder, learning disability or physical disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, genetic information, or criminal record. Inquiries related to Title IX may be forwarded to Jules Tetreault, Title IX Coordinator, 501 Crescent Street, EN A 106 C, New Haven, CT, 06515; (203) 392-5556; All other inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies may be forwarded to: Jaye Bailey, chief of staff/vice president for organizational development, 501 Crescent Street, EN A 213 D, New Haven, CT 06515; (203) 392-5552; Summer 2015 | 3

Campus neWs ■


southern inks biotech partnership


launched the Biotechnology

Academic and Career Pathway, a program developed to enhance the

• a new major in biotechnology with a chemistry minor, • an updated biochemistry concentration, • new biotechnology concentra-

would help pay for equipment and other expenses. New Haven also intends to promote the new SCSU programs with local businesses, and to assist with the acquisition of

region’s bioscience industry. The

tions for students studying

internships for SCSU students at

Greater New Haven area is home to

other STEM disciplines, and

biotech companies.

the second-largest cluster of biotech-

• graduate-level certification

“STEM education will generate

nology companies in New England,

programs in areas such as

the scientists, technologists, engineers,

and the new initiative is designed to

project management and

and mathematicians who will create

further the industry by promoting the

healthcare or pharmaceutical

the new ideas, new products, and

STEM disciplines (science, technology,


entirely new industries of the 21st cen-

engineering, and math) in New Haven at various levels, including city schools. At SCSU, the

SCSU also will work with school

turies,” says Southern President Mary

systems in the region — particularly at

A. Papazian. “Yet, currently fewer than

the high school level — to help

40 percent of students who enter

program will include

prepare students for college-level

college intend to major in a STEM

four academic

programs in the biosciences.

field or complete a STEM degree.”

pathways for incoming students:

The program calls for the city to assist with grant applications that

Southern is slated to increase its graduation rate in STEM degrees by

southern and the city of new Haven have launched a partnership designed to enhance the region’s bioscience industry. after publically announcing the program, sCsu president mary a. papazian and new Haven mayor toni n. Harp (left) signed a memorandum of understanding between sCsu and the city. 4 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

faculty faces

Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology Kathleen N. Skoczen



Skoczen’s dissertation focused on indigenous healers in the northeast Dominican Republic. Other interests include women’s health in the context of development, tourism development, identity politics, Caribbean history, and religious expression.


The professor was instrumental in the development of Southern’s new multidisciplinary social science and medicine minor, which explores the relationships between the broader medical field, society and culture, and human behavior.


Since 1985, Skoczen has spent more than five years living and visiting the Dominican Republic. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, and several grants from the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system for her continued research in the area.


Skoczen established the SCSU chapter of Amnesty International, which she continues to advise. She also helped establish the Caribbean and Latin America concentration at the university and was instrumental in creating the anthropology major.

35 percent and STEM teachers with

labs for supercomputing, astronomy,

STEM Innovation and Leadership,

initial certification by 25 percent. In

cancer research, and molecular

headed by Christine Broadbridge, a

step with this goal, this summer, the

biology. It also will include the Werth

professor of physics and a highly

university will open a 98,000-square-

Center for Coastal and Marine

regarded leader in the field of nan-

foot Academic and Laboratory

Studies, supported in part by a

otechnology. The office will help

Science Building, which will house

$3 million gift from the Werth Family

create opportunities for students,

Connecticut’s only Center for

Foundation. Additionally, the univer-

including internships and innovative

Nanotechnology, as well as training

sity has established the Office for

research projects in STEM education. Summer 2015 | 5

Campus neWs ■

B ■


force for Professor of Physics Elliott Horch, who was

awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science

Foundation (NSF) to create a double-barrel telescope that will generate ultrahigh resolutions. Horch describes the device — called a portable multi-channel intensity interferometer — as essentially a two-telescope system. The scopes are set up

far apart but look at the same target and ultimately function as one super telescope. Previously, the NSF funded Horch’s development of a telescopic appendage that provides astronomers with stunningly crisp images of outer space. The device, called a Differential Speckle Survey Instrument (DSSI), has been used to learn more about binary star systems — which are made up of two stars that revolve around each other. The DSSI also was used by the Kepler Mission to look for planets that have the potential to be Earth-like. “With my previous instrument, the DSSI, it was like putting eyeglasses on a telescope,” says Horch. “This new project will be like remaking the whole eye.” He believes the primary use of the new telescope will

supported by a $300,000 grant from the national science foundation, southern students are assisting professor of physics elliott Horch (right) with the development of a “super” telescope.

$140,000 in cutting-edge equipment that will be unveiled in the SCSU Academic and Laboratory Science Building,

be to look at bright, very close binary stars. Many physi-

which is slated to open this summer. The grant also pro-

cists, including Horch, believe the sun originally may have

vides funding for three Southern students to assist with the

been a binary star — meaning the new telescope could

project: Justin Rupert, who is pursuing an M.S. degree in

potentially help astronomers learn more about our sun.

applied physics, and Samuel Weiss and Daniel Nusdeo,

The new grant provides the university with about

who are both undergraduate physics majors.


Home run for mo & Joe


a sold-out crowd enjoyed a lively evening with baseball legends Joe torre (left) and mariano rivera. espn’s linda Cohn moderated. 6 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

for Southern’s annual Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture: A Conversation with Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre. Held on April 10 in the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, the event spotlighted the New York Yankees baseball legends’ accomplishments, as well as their compelling life stories and commitment to public service. Rivera, the most dominating closer in the history of baseball, played 19 seasons for the New York Yankees (1995 to 2013) and retired as a 13time All-Star and 5-time World Series champion. Following a celebrated playing career, Baseball Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre led the Yankees to 10 American League East division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Series championships from 1996 to 2007.

new faces mark rozewski has been named

a faster four-Year degree a new partnership between southern and

the executive vice president for finance

Gateway Community College will help many stu-

and administration. He previously served

dents earn a bachelor’s degree more quickly.

as the vice president for finance and

students who are earning an associate in arts (a.a.)

administration at the University of

degree in liberal arts and sciences from Gateway

Southern Indiana (USI), a state university

will have nearly all of their general education

of about 10,000 students. The Evansville,

course requirements waived at sCsu. the general

Ind.-based institution mirrors Southern in

education requirements — known at southern as

scale and has a similar emphasis on access and affordability. terricita sass has joined Southern as the associate vice president for

the liberal education program (lep) — call for mark rozewski, executive vice president for finance and administration

most students to earn 48 credits in courses designed to ensure a well-rounded education. under the agreement, most students with an a.a.

enrollment management. A professional

in liberal arts and sciences from Gateway will be

administrator with more than 25 years

exempt from at least 39 of southern’s required 48

of experience in public higher educa-

credits. students will still need to earn 3 credits in

tion, she has served as the chief enroll-

a foreign language and 3 credits in math above an

ment management official at Norfolk

intermediate algebra level, and also must complete

State University (NSU) in Norfolk, Va.,

a capstone course. the first two requirements may

for the last decade. During her tenure

be fulfilled at Gateway, but the capstone must be

at NSU, applications increased by

taken at southern. some academic majors require

13 percent; new freshmen by 20 percent;

students to take a specific lep class or two. in

retention by 9 percent; and total enrollment by 16 percent, with the highest entering-class profile on record.

terricita sass, associate vice president for enrollment management

those case, the major requirement will supersede the new agreement. for more information, go to

Walk this Way


outhern’s Human Performance Lab has added a stateof-the-art treadmill that uses cameras and technology to generate a three-dimensional gait analysis — which

can be used by runners to reduce their likelihood of developing repetitive-stress injuries. “We are delighted to have this high-tech device at Southern and encourage runners of all ages to come in and have their gait assessed,” says Robert Gregory, assistant professor of exercise science. “It is an opportunity for people to see what may cause them problems in the future so that they can deal with it proactively.” While Southern does not currently offer physical therapy,

a new treadmill is used to access a runner’s relative risk of certain injuries.

the new equipment provides data that runners can share when consulting a therapist, trainer, or doctor. It costs $150 for a member of the general public to complete the 30 to 35 minute analysis. Those willing to have their results included in a research database may have some or all of the costs waived, although the testing process will be slightly longer. For more information, contact Gregory at Summer 2015 | 7


S ■

From the pool to the playing field, a look at Southern athletics.

owls run to national Victory! OuTHERN CAPTuREd THE GOLd IN THE 4x400 RELAy

at the NCAA Division II indoor track and field championship, with Crystle Hill, Georgette Nixon,

Sarah Hill, and Shatajah Wattely finishing with a winning time of 3:44.91. This is the Owls’ 79th individual national

on May 1-2. The Owls women’s team defeated second place Stonehill College by 2.5 points — 180.5 to 178. Southern’s men’s team also won the tournament, reclaiming the title. The Owls earned 211 points this year — soundly defeating American International, which came in second with 163 points.

title and the fourth for the women’s track program. Michelle Grecni finished second in the pole vault at the championship with a height of 4.00 meters. Grecni, who was named the East Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), previously set meet records at the Metropolitan Championship, the Northeast-10 Championship, and the All Division New England Championship.

Christopher Curtin

swimmers nab ne-10 Championship


men’s swimming and diving team won its fifth straight northeast-10 Conference

Championship on feb. 8 — the 11th tournament victory in the past 12 years. the owls earned 895 team points, finishing 53 points ahead of second place bentley College. Junior Christopher Curtin was named “most outstanding male swimmer” at the event. F O R M O R E S P O RT S H I G H L I G H T S . . .

turn to tHe “oWl neWs,” now

available exclusively online. Subscribe to the free newsletter by providing your e-mail address on the subscription form found at; click on the “owl Club” heading.

outdoor track triumphs: multiple Championship Wins!


outhern history was made when the women’s outdoor track and field team won its first all-division New England Championship. The Owls earned 72

points, four more than the tournament host, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which finished second. The event was held May 7-9 in Boston. Contributing to the victory, the Owls took first place in the 4x400 relay: Southern’s Crystle Hill, Adriana Carrasco, Georgette Nixon, and Shatajah Wattely won with a time of 3:40.84, an automatic NCAA qualifying mark.

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facebook: Sign in to Facebook and “Like” Southern Connecticut State University Athletics. (Or use the link at the top of the homepage.)


The title builds on recent wins for both the men’s and women’s teams at the Northeast-10 (NE-10) Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which was hosted by Southern 8 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE



Meet the Student-Athlete ■

Luke Houston

Women’s soccer Wins Championship



(ECAC) title in program history, defeating top-seeded Adelphi University. After 110 minutes of scoreless action, the Owls pulled out a 6-5 victory in penalty kicks to emerge the 2014 Division II champions. Freshman Betti Worth made

Senior nu rsing major Men’s Basketba ll, guard and co-captain

the game-winning kick in the ninth round of the shootout. Sophomore goalkeeper Erica Ritella was named the championship’s Most Outstanding Player after making six saves during the game and four in the shootout. Senior defender Sarah Brochu is also stacking up honors. She was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Northeast-10 Conference and the ECAC, the latter of which awarded her co-honors in the category.

claim to fame: Having completed his senior season with

the team, Houston helped guide the Owls to consecutive appearances in the Sweet 16 — including an Elite Eight berth in 2014; also helped the team capture two Northeast-10 (NE10) Southwest Division titles and one NE-10 Tournament title; received numerous academic honors

sarah brochu [left] and the championshipwinning women’s soccer team [below]

recent kudos: Netted his 1,000 career point on Jan. 13 against Saint Anselm College; named SCSU Senior Scholar-Athlete of

the Year

family tradition: Houston’s grandfather played basketball for St. John’s University. His dad, Kevin Houston, played for West

Point, graduating with an Army-record 2,325 career points

and, as a senior, led the nation in scoring.

why Southern: “A lot of schools wouldn’t recruit me. They

thought I was too small and wasn’t fast or strong enough to

play at this level. At Southern, they never once talked about

my size being an issue when they were recruiting. They were

always confident in my basketball ability and my basketball

IQ.” [Houston is 5’11”.]

career aspirations: Nursing and an opportunity to coach.

Houston plans to help as an interim assistant coach next year.

why nursing? “My mom was in and out of the hospital when I was growing up. She passed away when I was in high school.

I saw how a nurse who is positive and communicates well has

a very strong influence on patients and their families.”

Join the team

beHind tHe team !

the owl Club includes donors who support southern’s athletics program with a gift of $50 or more. to make a gift, go to

pride: “I am most proud that we — my senior class basketball teammates — have helped to build the foundation for

Southern basketball today — something [former] Coach

Donnelly had talked to us about from the beginning.

“I am also really proud of the work I’ve done at Southern.

Balancing friends, social life, school, and playing basketball —

and still maintaining good grades. I’m really proud that I’ve

been able to do it.”

Summer 2015 | 9


Fruits of his Labor



“i see southern as a place of opportunity,” farid


says, noting the university is affordable and has a diverse


student body that includes many first-generation college

arrangements out of a 500-square-foot corner of their

students. “but if you don’t have the tools to get a proper

family’s east Haven, Conn., flower shop in 1999. as he

education, you’re going to struggle all the way through.”

nurtured the fledgling business, farid put college on the back burner.

He is a firm believer in the life-changing power of earning a degree and serves on the business advisory

fifteen years later, he has experienced success

Council for southern’s school of business. “the more time

beyond his wildest imagination. today, the Wallingford,

i spend at southern, the more i want to do there,” says

Conn.-based business — which crafts, sells, and delivers

farid, who is taking classes part time after stepping away

edible bouquets of fresh fruit — is known around the

from day-to-day operations of the company in January

globe. edible arrangements, which began franchising in

2014. He remains on edible arrangements board of

2001, now boasts more than 1,300 stores in 14 coun-

directors, and in 2014 founded Kamran Capital Group,

tries, including italy, Hong Kong, Canada, and the united

which helps other entrepreneurs grow their small busi-

arab emirates — and,

nesses. that same year he

according to forbes, the

established the Kamran farid

company hit $500 million in sales in 2013. farid ultimately returned to southern in 2014 (he is only a few credits shy of graduation, and hopes to complete his degree soon), but he knows his story is the exception. not everyone abandons their studies for bigger

Kamran Farid put his Southern education on hold while helping his brother build Edible Arrangements into a global powerhouse. Now he’s back in the classroom — committed to forwarding other students’ success. By Natalie Missakian

opportunities — or with such

continuing the family’s tradition of giving back. the idea for the Helping Hands fund came to life after farid reconnected with his favorite professor, lisa lancor, now chair of the computer science department. He remembered she had a special rapport with students, so he asked her to personally

wildly fruitful outcomes. “When i was first in school, i knew of kids who lost

foundation, committed to

administer the fund. through word-of-mouth on campus, lancor has

their jobs . . . or their car would be crashed, and they

already found several beneficiaries, some with eye-

wouldn’t have money for a bus pass,” says farid. “all of

opening stories. “We had faculty members saying they

a sudden, they had to choose between buying a bus pass

saw one of their students on a corner with an ‘i’ll Work

and paying tuition, so they ended up dropping out.”

for food’ sign,” lancor says.

farid had those students in mind when he donated

“a lot of these students would never seek funds

$20,000 to launch the Kamran farid Helping Hands fund

through the university if they weren’t told to come and

at southern, aimed at aiding students struggling with

see me,” she adds. “i tell them the story of Kamran and

unexpected, short-term hardships that make it difficult to

how he wants to help, and they’re just overwhelmed

finish their degrees.

with gratitude.”

the fund helps pay for the little but vital things that

farid is no stranger to adversity. His family emi-

scholarships don’t — prescription glasses for a student

grated from pakistan to West Haven, Conn., when he

who can’t afford an eye exam, diapers for a single mom,

was 3, and at the age of 6, farid was diagnosed with

medical co-pays for a graduate student facing sudden

leukemia. His father was already working three jobs to

health problems.

continues on page 35 Summer 2015 | 11

And Now, a Word from Our Graduates

Our Owls take a few minutes before and after recent undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies to share memories and inspirations.


t’s one of life’s greatest milestones . . . the culmination of countless hours spent studying, learning, dreaming, and doing. Held every December and May at Southern, commencement recognizes students’ tremendous achievements through treasured ceremonies, music, and inspiring words. Spring exercises — held on campus on May 14 for graduate students, and for undergraduates, on May 15 at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport — were characteristically moving and enlightening. Heather Abbott, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing, delivered the undergraduate commencement address, touching the crowd with her strength and determination. After four surgeries, Abbott made the difficult decision to allow doctors to amputate her left leg below the knee. She went on to be certified as a Peer Counselor by the National Amputee Coalition and is helping other amputees adjust to their “new normal.” Graduates also cheered on John Searles, ’91, the best-selling author of three novels, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Searles majored in business at Southern because he thought it was practical, but minored in creative writing because he loved it — and ultimately followed his passion to great success. On this particularly joyful day, every newly minted Southern graduate shared in his tremendous accomplishment. Consider the words of President Mary A. Papazian, addressing the Class of 2015: “I’m sure many of you have faced roadblocks that made completion of your degree seem, at times, difficult to imagine. But here you are on graduation day. You have succeeded, and the obstacles you have overcome and the academic life and the education you have received along the way, make your success all the more rewarding.” Following some of our recent graduates share thoughts on their Southern journeys. Additional photos and videos from the May commencement ceremonies are at By Villia Struyk


Kyle Pietro, B.S. in Exercise Science Who is most excited to see you graduate? definitely my mother. i’m the first in my family to finish college. What’s your strongest southern memory? being with my friends and enjoying my classes. i was captain of the swim team — an experience that’s been a complete honor. i came to southern from philadelphia and have been here for four years. it’s been an amazing experience.

Jessica Bachinski, B.S. in Liberal Studies with concentrations in interdisciplinary studies, women’s studies, and political science, Cum Laude What’s your favorite place on campus? the women’s studies office. it’s a great community. everyone is so supportive of each other. it’s inviting . . . vibrant. did you have a favorite class? “Women of the non-Western World,” which was an honors class. i learned about so many things that i’d never been exposed to or experienced. We talked about people, music, issues. it was a very creative approach to teaching that encompassed everything that is best about feminist pedagogy.

James Michael Namnoum, B.A. in German, Cum Laude

Saige Yarde-Douglas, B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing, with baby brother Ephraim What did you enjoy most about graduation day? i was really nervous this morning. it’s a big day. i barely slept last night, but i feel great now. i’m so happy that my family is here to support me. i’m so happy to graduate, and i’m so happy that this guy didn’t cry. He’s an incredibly happy baby . . . a real charmer. definitely. i think he’s going to be in marketing, too.

looking back at your time at southern, what are you most proud of? learning another language and being involved with the Veterans Club. as a language major, i could have worn the German flag [sash at graduation], but i served in the marine Corps from 2001 – 2005. i’ll wear a veteran’s [emblem] any time i get the chance. Jack [mordente, m.s. ’77, 6th Yr. ’79, southern’s coordinator of Veterans and military affairs] was incredibly supportive and the veterans group was amazing. i’m proud that i was part of it. mordente: He’s just saying that because i’m standing right here. namnoum: no . . . no, not at all. but it says something that you are here.


Summer 2015 | 13

continued from page 13 Jaleel Erin Smith, B.S. in Business Administration Steven Palma, M.S. in Counseling with a concentration in clinical mental health What was most challenging about earning your graduate degree? at my age, i’d have to say the exhaustion. it’s a lot of work. sometimes you don’t know if you have the energy to keep up with your younger classmates. but i managed to make it through, and i’m so glad that i did.

What’s your favorite place on campus? my dorm room. i lived in north and Chase, and it was always comfortable and felt like home. i met lifelong friends there. What will you miss most about southern? no question at all . . . my friends.

What inspired you to keep going? i was very driven. it was a spur of the moment decision to go back to school. but i felt strongly that once i did, it was important to give it my all. the support was there. dr. foss-Kelly, who is head of the program, provided incredible guidance and kindness.

[Palma didn’t mention that he had a perfect 4.0 grade point average at the time of the interview.]

[From left] Ashley Stackowitz, Nicole Hayes, and Areba Zahid, ’12 all earned an m.s. in Counseling with a concentration in clinical mental health. What are you most proud of? stackowitz: not crying before i went on stage [to get my degree]. let’s see . . . What am i most proud of? Who i was when i came into the program versus who i am tonight. they are two very different women. it’s been a journey. Hayes: they told us when we started that we would not be the same people when we were done, and they were right. i’ve grown professionally and personally — all for the better. and i met some awesome people. Zahid: i agree with both of them. i’m a totally different person . . . a lot more confident since i started the program. Hayes: i see that in you. [Wiping tears from her eyes.] stakowitz: We all come from such different backgrounds. We formed a very intimate group in this program. . . . it’s going to be very, very difficult not to see all of them. 14 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

John’Nae A. Allen-Davis, B.S. in Liberal Studies with concentrations in psychology, sociology, and wellness What are you most proud of? earning my degree . . . making it through. Who is most excited about you graduating? my parents. i’m an only child and the first one in my family to graduate. i did it for them. When you look back 10 years from now, what will you remember most about southern? i’ll remember today. i transferred from a school in maryland, and it took a long time for me to earn my degree. it was a journey, but i made it.

Carmen Martell, M.S. in Nursing What’s most special about today? this is my first graduation. i didn’t attend graduation at [the university of] saint Joseph where i earned my undergraduate degree. i was so depressed, because i didn’t have any family to attend. that’s why today is so amazing. i told all my classmates, ‘We have to be at graduation.’ We made it, and i need to make those memories. did anyone at southern have a particularly strong influence? professor pomarico-denino [interim director of the family nurse practitioner program, pictured below right]. i can call her at any time to talk about issues . . . not only academic concerns but other things related to my career or life. she is my mentor.

[Martell overcame numerous obstacles on the road to earning her graduate degree, including losing her mother to suicide and being moved from home to home as a child in the foster care system. For more on her story, go to]

Koffi Dossa, B.A. in Mathematics, and family What’s your favorite place on campus? the math department lab. it was great — a place to work and hang out where i always felt comfortable. What inspired you to major in math? i kept taking different classes, and the ones i enjoyed most had math as the common denominator. i get inspired by mathematical reasoning. What are you most proud of?

the fact that i made it through and graduated despite difficulties. there were a lot of people — especially my family — who believed in me and told me to keep going. the fact that we are all here celebrating . . . that i made it even though i didn’t think i would at times. it’s an amazing feeling.

Luis Moreira, M.S. in Education with a concentration in elementary education

Malaysia Jimenez, B.S. in Journalism, with (right) Jodie Mozdzer Gil, assistant professor of journalism What are you most proud of? the relationships i built with professors and students in the Journalism department. some of the journalism majors worked on the staff of the campus paper and television station as well, so i met a lot of great people and made a lot of great connections.

What did you enjoy most about earning your degree? the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. i really enjoyed student teaching at Wintergreen [interdistrict magnet school] in Hamden. i’m looking forward to having my own classroom and developing relationships with the kids, their parents, and other faculty members. i can’t wait.

What’s your favorite place on campus? does the newsroom count? i worked there one and a half years — writing one semester and then serving as news editor. it’s an open, friendly, fun office. being there is a real bonding experience. We learned so much navigating the process on our own. We had an adviser, but got to do so much — from deciding on the stories to writing and editing. Summer 2015 | 15

It’s bigger, better, and busier than ever. The expanded and newly renovated Hilton C. Buley Library remains the academic heart of campus.



that those ages 6-29 are slightly more likely than older adults to have used a library in the past 12 months (50 percent compared to 47 percent, respectively). Not surprisingly, access to a high-quality academic library is critical to the success of today’s university students — a fact brought home by a recent U.S. News & World Report story: “4 Reasons Why the Library Should Affect Your College Choice.” Even the choosiest future college students have reason to laud the “new” Hilton C. Buley Library. The second half of a dramatic twophase expansion and renovation was completed this spring. The first phase — construction of a 135,000-square-foot, five-story addition — was finished in 2008, bringing with it a two-story reading room, private study areas, technological advances, and more. In 2013, after numerous construction delays, eyes turned to the original section of the library. The building — which opened its doors in 1970 and is named for then President Hilton C. Buley — had state-of-the-art features for its time, including playback phones that explained how to use the library and its services. Times clearly have changed — and so has Buley Library,





which at 245,000 square feet is among the largest libraries in the state. Inviting spaces abound throughout the facility, including the newly renovated section. Walk through the main doors, and students find themselves in the Learning Commons, a full-service area that includes a computer lab, extensive seating, additional computer stations, a reference help desk, an information technology help desk, and adjoining private group study rooms. Other key areas include space for media and special collections (see page 20), as well as a first-floor art gallery. With students’ needs in mind, further developments are on the horizon. Plans call for a Student Success Center, with tutoring rooms, a computer lab, and conference space, to open in fall 2015. The library also will include a cyber café, an adjacent 24-hour-access section (also slated to open in the fall), a self-checkout station, a library instruction classroom, the IT Data Center, and more. In the meantime, a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 20, and students have been enjoying the space since March. Sophomore exercise science major Eric Iheagwara, who stopped by the library to work on his statistics homework one Thursday afternoon, is among them.“I’ve used the quiet rooms on the other side of the library, but I like the new section,” he says.“It’s cozy . . . homey. I’m enjoying the vibe. This is my spot now.”

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But developing a new product? That’s another story.

Seeing Clearly

some of the information the envisioned diving mask will show the wearer — the time, water temperature, the tank’s oxygen level, and more. the proposed device would also include a camera, a fish finder, and a fish identifier — the latter capabilities the most exciting to the group. the features found in the new group study rooms — which have modern furnishings and centrally located outlets to easily accommodate


numerous computer users — are also a

t’s a cloudy thursday afternoon in

indication, the glass-enclosed setting

march and four southern students —

clearly inspires creativity. their task —

tyler, ryan, Kristen, and melissa — are

to develop a new product to produce

hard at work on a project for their com-

and market — is being tackled with

munication class. they are also among

gusto, the students’ lively exchange the

the first to use one of six new group

only sound in the room that looks out

study rooms located on the first floor of

on the library’s busy main floor. “We’re

the newly renovated section of Hilton

working on a type of gadget goggle —

C. buley library.

specialized deep-sea diving goggles,”

if the group’s enthusiasm is any


says tyler. the group goes on to share


boon say the students. the library has 11 group study rooms overall. one is currently available on a first-come basis; the others can be booked online for two-hour periods. “i like that it’s modernized,” says ryan, of the space being shared by his group. “it’s not our parents’ library.” it’s a decidedly true assessment — even for those students whose parents are southern graduates.

1 2

3 5

4 5 6

Computer stations in the library accommodate the latest technology needs. reference librarian Wendy Hardenberg is based in the center of the action — the learning Commons located on the first floor of the renovated space. “it’s been surreal,” sums Hardenberg, who was on a short research leave when the actual move took place. she continues: “i walked through the front doors, and it was like walking into a completely new library. the students seem to be delighted with the renovations . . . and i am delighted for them.” “i cannot adequately express how happy i am to be here today,” says library director Christina baum at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. in addition to praising the library staff for providing excellent service throughout the lengthy construction process, baum welcomes the opportunity to use the library to further relationships with the community and area schools. freshman pre-nursing student Catherine spends time working on statistics homework. “it’s busy but it’s quiet here,” she says. “before, i usually worked in my dorm room, but i’ve been coming here more this semester.” Junior biology major asford okang uses the library’s computer lab almost daily. today’s assignment? Calculus homework. sophomore exercise science major eric iheagwara completes his statistics homework. “this is my spot now,” he says. Summer 2015 | 19



New & THE

nteresing A look at some of the unique books and special collections that make Hilton C. Buley Library better.







this mid-18th century work of art was created using stencils with the exception of the ornately illustrated initials, which were done by hand. a roman breviary — a Catholic book of daily psalms, hymns, prayers, and/or lessons — the book was likely used by a franciscan order in the southwestern u.s., says librarian paul Holmer, special collections and archives.


a primer used for studying, this rare leather hornbook from the late 17th or early 18th century was placed on a cord so that a child could wear it.


the library houses a collection devoted to Connecticut-born abolitionist and author Harriet beecher stowe, who wrote the bestselling “uncle tom’s Cabin,” which greatly fueled the anti-slavery movement. the tone of the dust jackets and cover illustrations change over time in step with societal views. “in older versions, the illustration depicts a very old man . . . almost frail. in the ’60s and ’70s, he’s shown as a young man in the prime of his life, just as he is in the novel,” says paul Holmer, special collections librarian.




a puritan who came to america in 1637 seeking religious freedom, ezekiel Cheever taught in new Haven where he wrote what is arguably the first american textbook, “accidence, a short introduction to the latin tongue.” He later became the head master of the acclaimed boston latin school — the first public school in america. numerous editions of the textbook — all now extremely rare — were published during and after his lifetime, including southern’s 1773 edition. Considered ultra-racy for its time, “barbarella” by french author JeanClaude forest was initially serialized in france’s V magazine and first published in book form in 1964. included in the library’s collection are examples of the serialized versions as well as french and u.s. first editions of the book — an early precursor of today’s widely popular graphic novels. published in 1841, this guide to watercolor painting included two versions of every image — the first was to be painted by the book’s owner while a copy on the following page was painted by a professional

artist to demonstrate proper technique. that’s right — each fullcolor page in “the Youths’ new london self instructing drawing book” was hand painted. no color printing was involved.



artists’ books — created as works of art — take many forms, ranging from traditional book styles to inventive forms such as flip books, accordion-fold bindings, and other uniquely engineered designs. librarian tina re, arts and special collections, periodically organizes open houses to showcase the collection. (at left) the novel “i.” by stephen dixon features cover art by acclaimed graphic novelist daniel Clowes.

If you would like to discuss the donation of special books and collections to the library, including memorabilia related to Southern’s past, please call the Office of Development at (203) 392-6900.





Summer 2015 | 21

Buley’s Crown Jewels Return Home our maGnifiCent stained-Glass WindoWs Were reCentlY

reinstalled in the library after being kept in storage for nearly eight years while the building underwent construction. Two arched windows, known as the “Hector” window and the “Water Brooks” window, among three donated by the historic First Church of Christ in New Haven, are considered masterful examples of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Along with a third arched window known as “The Angel of Praise,” the “Hector” and the “Water Brooks” are displayed on the first floor of the library in the Learning Commons. The three windows were originally donated to Southern in the 1960s and installed in Buley in 1972. A fourth window, know as the “Congregational” window — was donated by the North Stonington Congregational Church in the 1990s.

before being donated to southern, the “Congregational” window had been stored in a plywood box in a barn on a dairy farm for more than 30 years.

• southern’s tiffany windows are considered fine examples of the work of louis Comfort tiffany (1848-1933), a designer, painter, and craftsman who remains one of america’s most celebrated artists and a leader of the art nouveau movement.



• the late robert Koch, southern professor emeritus, a decorative arts expert and louis C. tiffany biographer, is credited with reigniting interest in tiffany’s work after it fell out of popular favor for a time. Koch and robert phipps, a southern historian and member of first Church, helped the university secure the donation.

• size: 245,000 square feet (including the renovated original wing (98,000 square feet), the new addition (135,000 square feet), and an atrium and skywalk (12,000 square feet)

Read More on Buley look here for photos, video, a little bit of history, and a final word from Commander buley — the

• exterior: Red brick and concrete

groundhog who has lived for

• project completion: 2015 (renovation of the old wing) and 2008 (construction of the addition)

years next to the library:

• renovation architect: Oak Park Architects, West Hartford

• Construction manager: Skanska, New Haven

look closely at the “the Water brooks” window (1904) to see a male deer about to drink at the brook’s edge. (circle inset, middle left)


the 1899 “Hector” or “ship Window,” depicts the ship that brought colonists to new Haven in 1638.

more than a dozen relatives of the late president Hilton C. buley attended the library ribbon-cutting ceremony, including his grandsons, david and James buley. “my first memories of the library were looking at blueprints on the table in the basement of my grandparents’ house,” said James buley, at the event.


“the angel of praise” window was made in 1900.

the art gallery opened with “ashfall,” a memorial to the over one million armenians killed by the turks in 1915. the artist, robert barsamian, (below left) is from dallas, texas, and is of armenian heritage. opened on april 24, the exhibit will run through July. it was part of a series of events held at southern to observe the 100th anniversary of the armenian Genocide.



Summer 2015 | 23

N O S TA L G I A ■

SMag36pp_Spr15-FIN-r1.qxp_Layout 1 7/14/15 12:54 PM Page 24






is a powerhouse in the field of special education. A professor emeritus at West Virginia University (WVU), he was recognized by the institution three times as an outstanding teacher, was a state delegate to the first White House Conference for the Handicapped, received a U.S. Fulbright Award in 2000 to help develop a special education teacher training program in Lisbon, Portugal, authored over 80 publications, and was the runner-up for the Professor of the Year Award among faculty at 25 institutions of higher education in the state of West Virginia. In recognition of these accomplishments, Lombardi was

Thomas and Estelle Lombardi (seated) meet with faculty; Stephen Hegedus, dean of the School of Education (standing, center); and student members of Southern’s chapter of the Council for Special Education.

inducted into WVU’s College of Education and Human Services Hall of Fame in 2014. Reflecting back on his storied career, Lombardi notes that one of his earlier successes has direct ties to his student days at Southern, where he earned an undergraduate degree in special education. More than 55 years ago, he founded Southern’s chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), an international organization dedicated to improving the education of people with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. “When I learned that Southern still had its chapter of CEC, I thought, ‘How wonderful that it is going strong,’” says Lombardi, who also was the group’s first president. “I knew that the next time I was in Connecticut, I wanted to get in touch with them.” Last fall, he and his wife, Estelle Lombardi, ’61, did just that, visiting campus and meeting with student members of the organization, Southern faculty, and Stephen Hegedus, dean of the School of Education. “Teaching is a very honorable occupation,” Thomas 24 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Lombardi, told the students. “It’s important for you to keep learning. Don’t stop at your bachelor’s degree. Stretch yourselves.” The couple also contributed $1,000 to help CEC members who wanted to participate in regional and national educational conventions. “Branch out, participate, go to conventions,” Estelle Lombardi told the group. “I think you’ll find that you’re a lot smarter than you realized.” Estelle — a member of CEC as a Southern student — also had a notable career in special education. She retired from Monongalia County Schools where she was director of special education and also was a special education coordinator for North Central West Virginia. Though both attended Southern, the couple first met while working at a camp for people with disabilities. “I found that in being needed, you could most appreciate what you had,” Thomas told the students. “Whatever you ultimately do, be sure that you know in your heart that it’s important.” ■

Recognized as a college organization in January 1959, Southern’s chapter of the Council for Special Education invited guest speakers to campus, worked with Connecticut Easter Seals to plan a holiday gathering for people with disabilities, and helped organize a state conference. The group’s founder and first president, Thomas Lombardi, ’59, is seated in front.


addition to taking center stage, many southern students learn the art of theatre by working behind the scenes of the John lyman Center for the performing arts. the results are riveting. in fact,

southern’s production of “Godspell,” directed and choreographed by associate

theatre professor larry nye, was one of only six invited to perform at the

regional Kennedy Center american College theatre festival — chosen from almost 200 submissions from colleges and universities throughout new england and upstate new York. additional honors were presented to southern students for costume design, acting, and more. details are at

alumni neWs ■

Hunger 101 fighting food insecurity — one southern student at a time.



director of Alumni Relations at

meals provided to those in need.

GAS TO dRIvE TO CAmPuS . . .

Southern, decided to take action. “I

There is no cost to Southern or its stu-

or buy food? It’s a decision no

knew I had to do something,”

dents for the service, with those

recounts Johnston, who approached

seeking assistance asked only to com-

student should have to make. But faced with the formidable challenge

the SCSU Alumni Association Board

plete a Self-Declaration of Need

of financing their education, some

of Directors with a question: Would

Form. The information is returned

college students have been forced to

they be willing to cut one event to

directly to the food pantry organizers,

consider a healthy diet negotiable. In

help finance efforts to fight hunger

and all correspondence remains com-

other words . . . they’re going hungry.

on campus? The answer — a

pletely confidential.

southern’s on-campus dining hall offers extensive options.

The Connecticut Food Bank estimates that one out of seven house-

resounding yes — has resulted in several initiatives.

In addition, for students with an immediate need for food, a ticket

Since February, a mobile food

voucher that can be exchanged for a

pantry has made food available to stu-

meal at the on-campus dining hall is

a growing number of these “food-

dents in need. Operated through the

available in the Office of the Dean of

insecure” are college students. While

Milford Food Pantry and managed by

Student Affairs. Looking forward, the

exact numbers are unavailable,

the Cornerstone Christian Center, the

Office of Alumni Relations plans to

numerous media outlets, including

“pantry truck” is slated to visit three

establish a permanent on-campus

The Huffington Post, Slate, The

locations on campus, twice a month.

food pantry in the Alumni House once

Chronicle of Higher Education, and

The need for the service is readily

it is completed.

National Public Radio (NPR), have

apparent. On a single day on campus

More on the mobile

covered the disturbing trend.

last March, new visits were made to

food pantry is at:

holds in the state can’t afford the food they need — and it appears that

Listening to an NPR news story on the topic, Michelle R. Johnston, 26 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

the mobile pantry by about 40 stu-

dents, with food for more than 1,100


alumni relations takes the Gold!


outhern’s office of alumni relations has won its seventh award in three years from the Council for advancement and support of education (Case) district i. most recently, alumni relations brought home the gold in 2015 for its multifaceted a to G program

(admissions to Graduation). the program includes five components, all forwarded with the help of alumni volunteers:

admissions Approximately 40 alumni currently participate in this initiative — writing congratulatory postcards to accepted students, hosting gatherings for future Owls, and visiting college fairs and high schools to share all that Southern has to offer. alumni professionals daY Each year, alumni return to campus to provide students with an insider’s view of a wide variety of careers, including law, art, journalism, education, business, politics, and more. The casual, café-style setting — and shared Southern connection — encourages easy conversation. alumni mentorinG Last year, 168 students were paired with alumni mentors. The end result? Muchwelcome advice, networking opportunities, and, in some cases, internships. alumni-student internsHips The Office of Alumni Relations supports the development of internship opportunities, working with alumni, local chambers of commerce, and several Southern departments, including Career Services. alumni netWorKs Local and regional alumni networks are being formed throughout the country to help graduates reconnect with Southern and each other.

sCsu alumni assoCiation board of direCtors

Robert D. Parker, ’76, President Nancy Dudchik, ’88, Vice President Christopher M. Borajkiewicz, ’98, Treasurer James H. Booth, ’97, Secretary Teresa Sirico, ’70, M.S. ’73, Past President Kristin M. Ahern, ’13 Phoebe Donehoo Browning, ’04, MBA ’05 James A. Bruni, ’07, M.S. ’13, 6th Yr. ’14 Nancy Charest, ’71, M.S. ’75, 6th Yr. ’80 Teresa Cherry-Cruz, M.S. ’96, 6th Yr. ’06 Susan Love D’Agostino, ’79 Marybeth Heyward Fede, ’79, M.S. ’87 Miriam Gonzalez-Huff, 6th Yr. ’90 Jerry Katona, ’74, M.S. ’88 Edwin A. Klinkhammer II, ’71, M.S. ’76, 6th Yr. ’92 Dorothy Martino, ’54, M.S. ’69 (Board Member Emerita) Patricia Frisa Miller, ’69, M.S. ’75, 6th Yr. ’81 (Board Member Emerita) Donald Mitchell, ’57, M.S. ’61 Judy Paolini, ’73, M.S. ’79, 6th Yr. ’93 Carolyn Dorsey Vanacore, ’52, M.S. ’68, 6th Yr. ’73 (Board Member Emerita) Deborah Sue Cedar Vincent, ’82 Southern Connecticut State University Office of Alumni Relations 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515-1355 (203) 392-6500 Michelle R. Johnston, Director

for information on these and other alumni volunteer opportunities, see or call the office of alumni relations at (203) 392-6500. Summer 2015 | 27

alumni neWs ■

Support Southern. Leave a Legacy. PLANNED GIFTS — also called deferred or estate gifts — can help you meet your long-term financial goals, while providing critically needed support for Southern’s talented and deserving students. The university’s Development Office can supply information on a variety of planned gifts that help Southern maintain a climate of excellence — from bequests that extend your generosity beyond your lifetime to charitable gift annuities and trusts, which can provide fixedincome payments and several tax benefits. If you’ve already included the Southern Connecticut State University Foundation in your will, please let us know so that we can acknowledge your generosity by enrolling you in the Heritage Society. If not, please consider leaving a legacy by making a planned gift to the Southern Connecticut State University Foundation. For more information, contact the Development Office. (203) 392-6900 Southern Connecticut State University 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515-1355 28 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE


owl pride flying Your Way

he office of alumni relations

is taking its show on the road,

establishing southern alumni

networks throughout Connecticut and in various regions of the united states. in february, president mary a. papazian joined robert stamp, vice president for institutional advancement, and other members of the southern

community at kick-off events for

High flying

both the east and West Coast


aving been honored by NASA for her work on the Hubbell Space Telescope, Rosalie Consiglio,

’86, (left) paid tribute to the role Southern played in

florida alumni networks. following the launch of networks in new York City and Washington,

her life by donating the award to the university’s

d.C., a group was formed in

Department of Physics. Consiglio, who majored in

boston this spring. Closer to home,

physics, presented the award to President Mary A.

local networks have been or will be

Papazian at the kick off of the Washington, D.C., Alumni Network.

Hartford County, fairfield County,

Connect WITH Southern ON and



Office of Alumni Relations

for athletics

501 Crescent Street

New Haven, CT

established in new Haven County,

06515-1355 • (203) 392-6500

and northwestern Connecticut, with events held at venues along the Connecticut Wine trail. additional networks will be unveiled in the coming years, with information on events at various locations listed at alumni/upcoming-events.html.

From buildings lauded for eco-friendly design to a reinvigorated, campuswide recycling program, the university is committed to keeping it green. That’s why southern is a proud signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

Please support Southern and its students by contributing to the Campus Greening

Fund. Donations may

be made online at Or call (203) 392-6900.

on the same page


bronze statue, a gift from the Class of 1956, graces the main entrance of the renovated Hilton C. Buley Library — fittingly depicting the joy of reading.

“We were a very close class — and have remained so over the years. Our officers are very dedicated,” says Concetta Sacco, ’56, who represented her fellow graduates at the

ribbon-cutting ceremony for the library on April 20. Class officers are: Joseph Ciaburri, ’56, president; Barry Herman, ’56, vice president; Ursula Case Gainty, ’56, treasurer; the late Mary Curello Bonadies, ’56, 6th Yr. ’76, former class secretary; and Sacco, who is the acting secretary.

Hello alumni!

For updates specifically for Southern’s graduations go to —

Blue Skies. Green Fields. southern Homecoming 2015 • october 17

the Homecoming football game, the parade of floats, the alumni tent party, and so much more. it’s a traditional owl celebration held on southern’s spectacular campus — home to the stunningly redesigned Hilton C. buley library and the new, state-of-the-art academic and laboratory science building. so save the date to fly on over, and spend the day at your southern. for more information, call (203) 392-6500.

Summer 2015 | 29

alumni notes ■


bill dunn, ’54, writes that he retired

as the boys varsity swim coach at Hillhouse High School. He then went on to be a park recreation director, served as a public relations director for the Connecticut Water Company, and was a probate judge in Clinton, Conn.


JoHn didoG, ’66, 6th Yr. ’78, has

retired after serving 12 years as the principal of Staples High School in Westport, Conn. rosalie pinKHam, ’66, was inducted

into the 2015 Branford Education Hall of Fame. She was recognized for her accomplishments as an elementary school teacher and a professor of

elementary school education at Southern. KatHleen bidneY-sinGeWald, ’69,

M.S. ’76, was named queen of the Shoreline Arts Alliance’s (SAA) Mardi Gras gala fundraiser, which was held at Saybrook Point Inn. She has been associated with SAA since 1990 when her drawing was accepted into their annual art show. She is an adjunct professor at Southern and resides in Madison, Conn.


dan lauria, ’70, was interviewed in

the Orlando Sentinel about his enjoyment of traveling. Lauria is a successful actor, who is widely known for playing Jack Arnold, the main character’s father in the television series, “The Wonder Years.” He lives in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

reunion news

will be recognized in honor of its 50th reunion at the undergraduate commencement ceremony in May 2016 at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. For more information or if you would like to organize a reunion for your class, please contact Alumni Relations at (203) 392-6500. tHe Class of 1966

JoHn “JaY” Klein, ’71, M.S. ’77, has

retired after 13 years of coaching Castleton College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams. He is a retired professor and chair of the Psychology Department at the college, which is based in Vermont. stanleY W. KonesKY Jr., ’73, M.S.

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WITH SOUTH ERN FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES. Mail this completed form to Southern Alumni News, SCSU Alumni Relations Office, 501 Crescent St., New Haven, CT 06515-1355; fax, (203) 392-5082; or e-mail,

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’86, is an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven in the Henry C. Lee School of Criminal Justice. He retired from the Branford Police Department in 1999 and retired from the State of Connecticut Police Academy in 2013. Jerome a. paCelli, ’73, M.S. ’76, has

retired from the Knights of Columbus after a 41-year career that included serving as director of IT operations and systems programming. He resides in East Haven, Conn., with his wife, Kathy. Carl salsedo, M.S. ’73, was featured

in an article in the Hartford Courant about his Peace Corps experiences and his lifelong involvement with environmental issues. He and wife, Beth, live in San Antonio, Texas. marY anGus, ’75, and KennetH “bill” leQuier, ’75, showcase their

artwork at their studio, Readsboro Glassworks, which is located in Vermont. The artists were featured in the Bennington Banner. steVen andreuCCi, ’77, has retired

as captain after 32 years with the New Haven Fire Department. Joan Goldstein, M.S. ’78, was

named Teacher of the Year by the Exeter-West Greenwich Regional School District. She lives in Jamestown, R.I. sandra sCHede, ’78, was named

president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors. She is the owner of Maier Real Estate in Meriden, Conn. franK “sid” maietto, ’79, who is

employed by the Boeing Company, has been invited to develop and conduct a workshop at Boeing Korea. In 2014, he conducted a workshop in China. He lives in Snohomish, Wash.


ramie Koffler-delmoor, ’80, who

lives in Minneapolis, Minn., celebrated over 30 years of marriage this year and, as of press time, had five grandchildren with another on the way. brian KennedY, ’80, was honored by

the Greenwich Old Timers, an organization that supports youth sports. He has been the athletic manager at Greenwich High School for some 25 years. rapHael CalZadillia, ’81, a compet-

itive bodybuilder and the 2004 winner of the World National Bodybuilding Federation Masters Pro Card, has written for He lives in West Palm Beach, Fla. bill eVans, ’83, is the head coach of

the Woonsocket YMCA’s Whalers swim team. He is also a physical education teacher at Mercymount Country Day School and the head coach of the Mount Saint Charles Academy boys and girls swim squad. Evans has been a swim coach since 1983 and holds USA and YMCA advanced swim coach certification. miCHael e. moYniHan, ’84, execu-

tive director of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, was named a 2014 Man of the Year by South Jersey Magazine. He lives in Haddon Township, N.J. tim KennedY, ’85, was appointed to

the CompTIA Telecom Advisory Council, a 19-member think tank focused on IT industry trends and the convergence of IT and telecom. Kennedy is vice president of Carrier Services, an integrator of unified communications, data solutions, and visual communications. He lives in Cheshire, Conn., with wife, patriCia o’Connell KennedY, ’87. melVin Wells, ’85, is the head football

coach for the Yellowjackets at East Haven High School. As a studentathlete, he played the defensive line at Southern. beatriCe adams, ’87, has joined the

Forman Institute for Cognition and

L O C AT I O N ! L O C AT I O N ! L O C AT I O N !

marwin Gonzalez, ’08, (left) and ethan Hutchings, ’08, have careers that capitalize on geospatial information science and technology. both studied with eric s. West, associate professor of geography (center), who recently introduced southern’s new minor in the field.




chains rely on it to track sales and predict the most profitable sites to build new restaurants. Electric companies depend on it to shorten the duration of power outages and improve response times. Welcome to the expanding field of geospatial information science (GIS), in which state-of-the-art technologies — including the global positioning system (GPS), remote sensing, and geographic information systems — are used to gather information related to the Earth’s surface and then combine it with social, economic, environmental, and other data. Experts in the field gather, store, analyze, and use the information extensively in research, business, government, nonprofit organizations, and more. “GIS and geospatial technology are used almost everywhere — from forestry to marketing to public health. The opportunities and possibilities are vast,” says Eric S. West, associate professor of geography, who spoke to students about the field and Southern’s new minor in Geospatial Information Science and Technology. Launched in the fall 2014 semester, the minor requires the completion of 18 credits. Students take two core courses — “maps and map making Technology” and “Introduction to GIS” — and complete a minimum of seven credits, choosing from electives such as “Remote Sensing” and “Cartography.” An additional required capstone experience — a culminating course and/or an internship — furthers students’ knowledge. Southern formally celebrated the introduction of the minor on GIS day, held on November 19. Students from numerous majors enjoyed presentations from two alumni, who discussed how maps and geographic information systems are used at their organizations: Ethan Hutchings, ’08, manager of operations for the city of New Haven’s Transportation department, and marwin Gonzalez, ’08, the GIS project manager at New England GeoSystems (NEGEO). Both majored in geography and studied with West. “If you start to think spatially, you open up your world tremendously,” says Gonzalez. In addition to working at NEGEO where he conducts GIS projects for municipalities and regional planning agencies,

Gonzalez is a marketing GIS coordinator for LEGO kidsFest and teaches at Central Connecticut State university. “I challenge my students to give me a field or career that does not use GIS,” he says. during his presentation, he highlighted numerous real-life applications for geospatial information science and technology. Examples include determining the amount of sand needed by a city snowplow driver and creating ways to securely store maps and other data for city water systems. He notes that the latter is critical in light of terrorism concerns. The outlook for those employed in the field is bright, with an average salary of $82,340 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Alumnus Ethan Hutchings parlayed a successful internship obtained with the assistance of Associate Professor of Geography C. Patrick Heidkamp into a career with the city of New Haven. Hutchings initially attended the university of maine, majoring in forestry and wildlife. The fit wasn’t ideal, and he left school and ultimately traveled across the u.S. and internationally, visiting Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and vietnam. When he later took an introductory geography course at Gateway College, he knew he had found his niche and transferred to Southern where he completed his B.S. in geography. As the manager of operations for New Haven’s department of Transportation, Traffic, and Parking, Hutchings developed ways to help the city effectively manage data generated through SeeClickFix, which lets residents use cell phones and other technology to report non-emergency issues — like potholes or broken parking meters. He says GIS plays a major role in helping cities and businesses address peoples’ needs. For example, he notes that electronic parking meters provide a wealth of information. “They can tell us all sorts of things . . . how many people used a space in an eight-hour period . . . how they paid,” he says. “We can look at that data and determine locations where we need more meters. GIS has helped the city do a lot of interesting things.” West concurs: “GIS has transformed the way organizations operate and the way people in organizations handle their work flow. We are excited about propelling students forward in their knowledge of GIS and geospatial technology, and working with them to customize their education in a way that will have a positive impact on their careers.” By villia Struyk Summer 2015 | 31

alumni notes ■



hen Heidi voight, ’10, — traffic reporter for NBC Connecticut — was a freshman at Southern, she worked 40 hours a week waiting tables at the union League Cafe on Chapel Street. She took the city bus from campus, and when her shift ran into the early morning hours and the buses weren’t running, she’d ride her bike . . . even in the winter . . . sometimes even in the snow. There was no fallback. Her parents had divorced, and while voight’s mom worked three jobs, they lost their milford home. There was no money to pay for college. “But I was going

Hendry says voight had an immediate rapport with the news team when she arrived in July. “you can joke with her, but when it’s time for business she gets right to it. She’s dedicated and focused,” he says. So focused, in fact, that often when he’s eating dinner with his family, he’ll see a traffic tweet from voight six hours after her shift ended. “She cares about our viewers and they see that,” he says. “She’s made a real connection.” voight has loved the news and storytelling since her days at Southern when she wrote for the student paper and won a

to be the first of my siblings to get my college degree,” she says. “Southern gave me so many incredible opportunities.” While studying at Southern in 2006, she won the miss Connecticut title and later competed in the miss America Pageant — all while juggling her job and volunteering for nearly half a dozen organizations. Not much slows her down, voight notes with a smile. Consider her work schedule: It’s shortly after six in the morning and voight is at her desk, checking her computer and a bank of screens displaying views from department of Transportation cameras set on highways throughout the state. up since 2:30 a.m., her first coffee around 4 o’clock, and on the air a half hour later, she’s feeding information to the control room, typing notes for her next on-air traffic update, calling the state police to check on a snarl on I-84 east in Waterbury, and tweeting traffic news every few minutes to her thousands of followers. She speaks into her earpiece to the director, Jay Hendry: “Can you see if camera 1073 shows a crash?” He confirms it does, and she tweets that out. Then she’s in front of the green screen giving a live traffic update. She and meteorologist Bob maxon share an easy banter. At 7 a.m., as the “Today Show” begins and her updates become less frequent, voight and maxon gather at the news desk with anchors Shirley Chan and Todd Piro, the reporters, and production staff to assess the morning newscast together. “I work in the best newsroom in the state,” she says.

national competition for criticism. “my liberal arts education at Southern served me very well,” she says. “To be a journalist you have to know a little about everything, and then you ask questions to find out more.” She got her start at WWLP in massachusetts, where her first news director, skeptical about hiring a beauty pageant winner, handed her a pile of equipment and said, “Let’s see what you can do.” voight showed him. “I was a one-man band,” she says, of reporting, filming, and producing her own stories. In 2011, minutes after a tornado struck and devastated part of the city, voight climbed around toppled trees to be one of the first to report the event. Her hands-on experience has paid off. While voight’s main role at NBC 30 is traffic reporting, she also does general reporting, sports fill-ins, and a regular feature on education. Even with her daunting hours, she continues to volunteer for many organizations and gets in a daily CrossFit workout. Recently she was in New Haven for a charity event and a city bus passed by. She and maxon were pictured on the back in an ad for the NBC Connecticut morning newscast. The moment gave her pause. “I thought back to when I used to ride that bus to and from campus, and I was really struggling to make ends meet,” she says. “I love where my life is right now. I’m very grateful.”


By Jackie Hennessey

Learning in Litchfield, Conn., as a specialist in effective multisensory reading strategies. HeatHer latorra, ’88, M.S. ’94, has

been appointed president and chief executive officer of Marrakech Inc. In addition to her 28 years of service at Marrakech, LaTorra has worked for the Brooklyn School for Special Children and as an adjunct instructor at Southern. She lives in Rocky Hill, Conn. CHristopHer Harrison, ’89, has

tional therapy at Quinnipiac University, received the Roster of Fellows Award from the American Occupational Therapy Assoc. at a ceremony in Nashville, Tenn. CindY boYnton, ’94, author of

“Remarkable Women of Hartford,” is an English and communications instructor at the Yale School of Medicine and Housatonic Community College, as well as host of the weekly Literary New England Radio Show podcast.

been named executive vice president and chief human resources officer with Beacon Roofing Supply in Herndon, Va.

miCHael f. KoWalCZYK, ’94, is presi-

marK tuCHmann, ’89, has joined the

’00, has contributed to research published in two academic journals recently: “Community Healthcare Delivery Post Hurricane Sandy: Lessons From a Mobile Health Unit,” and “Beyond the ‘Go Kit’: Empowering Older Adults in Disasters.” He lives in Huntington, N.Y.

board of CXT Software as a board adviser. Tuchmann is the founder and principal of Million & Assoc., providing advise and support to clients, that include entrepreneurs, small businesses, Fortune 100 companies, and private equity firms. In November 2014, he stepped down as the chief executive officer of BeavEx, Inc., which he founded.


Jean leonard, ’91, has conducted

continuing education classes on addressing women’s unique financial issues. A financial adviser and strategist since 1996, she is president of Jean Leonard Wealth Management in Newtown, Conn. KellY a. mCCue, ’91, has earned a

Doctor of Nursing Practice from Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences in Boston. She lives in Brattleboro, Vt. CHristopHer J. adams, ’92, is the

vice president for student affairs at Suffolk County Community College in Selden, N.Y. lara Carlson marelli, ’92, associ-

ate professor at the University of New England’s Westbrook College of Health Professionals and the Center of Excellence in the Neurosciences, presented at the 2015 NASCAR Summit. She published her motorsports physiology research in the Journal of Thermal Biology. Her research quantifies the thermoregulatory stress and cardiovascular strain drivers experience during competitive stock car racing. She lives in Middletown Springs, Vt. Jim o’brien, ’92, M.S. ’10, is the head

coach of Fairfield University’s women’s soccer team. O’Brien is the former goalkeeper of Southern’s 1992 team, which was the national runnerup. He is the founding coach of the women’s program at Southern. traCY Van oss, ’92, M.P.H. ’00, a clin-

ical associate professor of occupa-

dent of Pro-Motion Technology Group in Wixom, Wis. CHarles Jarmon, M.P.H. ’97, M.B.A.

irene siKorsKi, 6th Yr. ’97, was

included on the Norwalk High School Honor Wall. She retired in 2008 after teaching for 25 years — 19 of which were as an English teacher and the chair of the department at Norwalk High School. She lives in Wilton, Conn. Juan Carlos osorio, ’98, is the

coach of Atlético Nacional, a leading soccer team in Colombia.


saraH JadaCH, ’00, was one of six to

receive the John Wentworth Good Sports Award for 2015 from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance. In 2009, Jadach was elected state chairman of Connecticut USA Wrestling, an organization that serves approximately 3,500 athletes and coaches. She is also involved in the sport at the high school and youth levels. Jill bassett, ’03, M.A. ’08, the associ-

ate director of residential life and student conduct at the University of Bridgeport, was cited in a university publication for her efforts to increase awareness of and end violence against women and children.

in print and on screen news on books, television, and film releases from southern alumni

Children’s book author June estep fiorelli, M.S. ’43, retired as the district department head of staff development in Stamford, Conn., and then taught in Bogotá, Colombia, for two years. Her book, “Stuck Toast and Mud Pies: Poems for Kids,” was published in partnership with Words Matter. Drawing on research, insight, and 37 years of classroom experience, James d. Howson, M.S. ’72, outlines some of the biggest problems of the U.S. education system and his views on what can be done to address them in “American Education, A Nation in Crisis, A Blueprint for the Future.” Available at Amazon and raymond bechard, ’84, is the author of “The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America.” He resides in Old Saybrook, Conn. nancy manning, ’85, of Oxford, Conn., has published a book called, “Undertow of Silence,” written for a young-adult audience. “Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse,” by leslie bulion, M.S.W. ’86, is designed to spark young readers’ interest in poetry and human biology. Illustrated by Mike Lowery and published by Peachtree Publishers. richard d. biondi, ’90, M.S. ’96, 6th Yr. ’98, has published a book on Italian-American boxers called, “Pugilistic Paisani.” He currently is working on a book about the Italian community of New Haven. susan strecker, M.F.T. ’97, is the author of “Night Blindness,” a novel about choices, the sanctity of friendship, and the power of love. She resides in Essex, Conn. david J. renza, ’05, has co-authored a book titled, “Military Education Benefits for College: A Comprehensive Guide for Military Members, Veterans and Their Dependents.” He lives in Southbury, Conn. debbie pausig, M.F.T. ’11, has self-published “An Affair Worth Remembering with Huntington’s Disease — Incurable Love and Intimacy During an Incurable Illness.” Southern’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program is mentioned in the dedication of the book.

mindi sCala-sanders, ’03, is the

head softball coach and physical fitness teacher at Flagler Palm Coast High School in Florida. saraH mCCusKer, M.L.S. ’05, has

accepted the position of head of reference and technical services of the Windsor Public Library. She lives in Burlington, Conn. anGelina CarneVale, ’08, the chil-

dren’s librarian at the Guilford Free Library, was highlighted as a “Person of the Week” by the Valley Courier.

ramon laboY iii, M.S.W. ’08, was

inducted into the Danbury High School Hall of Fame. Laboy was AllFCIAC (Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference) for four straight years in three sports: cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. At Southern, Laboy achieved All-American status in the distance medley relay. sara raY, ’08, M.L.S. ’10, is the teen

librarian at Simsbury Public Library.

Formerly, she worked with the Bristol Public Library System for 11 years. darren Yoos, ’08, is the athletic

trainer at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. lauren ClarK, ’09, a web graphics

professional in Connecticut, had her artwork exhibited at the Mountain Laurel Arts Show. CHristopHer KoZiol, ’09, is the

wellness director of The Gleason Summer 2015 | 33

alumni notes ■

eVan e. ConfreY, ’62, Oct. 26, 2014,

Hartford, Conn. robert W. sHields, ’63, M.S. ’70, Oct.

27, 2014, Milford, Conn. eVe marCuCCi, ’64, M.S. ’67, 6th Yr.

’72, Dec. 1, 2014, Orange, Conn. JoHn a. martino, ’64, Nov. 10, 2014,

Wallingford, Conn. susan louise sHort palmer, ’65,

M.S. ’71, Oct. 15, 2014, Orange, Conn. VinCent a. rasCati, ’65, M.S. ’72,

Feb. 2, 2015, Hamden, Conn. saraH franCes Greene, M.S.N.

’67, Sept. 12, 2014, Waterbury, Conn. JoHn l. sulliVan iii, ’67, 6th Yr. ’85,

Oct. 17, 2014, Meriden, Conn. antHonY piCColo, ’68, Sept. 17,

2014, Shelton, Conn. albert e. piKul, ’69, M.S. ’77, Sept. 20,

2014, Milford, Conn. undergraduate commencement speaker Heather abbott, a survivor of the boston marathon bombing, met with members of the Class of 1965, who celebrated their 50th reunion: (from left) enrica pizzorusso amore, ’65, m.a. ’71; abbott; patricia bracnaro banfe, ’65, m.a. ’71, m.s. ’71; and William banfe, ’64. the ceremony was held on may 15 at the Webster bank arena in bridgeport, Conn.

Family YMCA in Wareham, Mass. Most recently, Koziol worked as a developmental social worker assisting people who have mental health disorders and other disabilities. meGan o’neill, M.S. ’09, 6th Yr. ’14,

is the assistant principal at Thomas Edison Middle School, which is part of Area Cooperative Educational Services.


KatY dillman, M.L.S. ’10, has been

named the development and outreach librarian at the James Blackstone Memorial Library in Branford, Conn. steVe onGleY, ’12, is the assistant

coach for the Colby College men’s basketball program and is the codirector of his own basketball camp. He also has worked as an Amateur Athletic Union and high school coach. lauren piZZoferrato, M.A. ’12,

wrote an article, “Greater Awareness Will Help Combat Sexual Assault,” which was featured in the Hartford Courant’s Fresh Talk column. Caitlin tWoHill, ’12, was promoted

to the position of marketing coordinator of Hoffmann Architects, which specializes in rehabilitation of building exteriors in Boston, New York, and Hamden, Conn. erVis tanellari, ’13, has joined

Dworken, Hillman, LaMorte and Sterczala Certified Public Accountants as a staff accountant. 34 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

tommY beliVeau, ’14, is the regional

sales manager at Creative Marketing Group in Bristol, Conn. Jade miller Giamattei, ’14, is the

marketing coordinator for Wayback Burgers in Cheshire, Conn. lYnette martineZ, ’14, is a teacher

and coach at Stamford High School in Connecticut. Martinez is a former member of Southern’s women’s lacrosse team. Jennifer paul, 6th Yr. ’14, a literacy

specialist at Southington High School, has been named the 2014-15 Teacher of the Year.

VirGinia mandeVille, ’50, Sept. 29,

2014, West Haven, Conn. niCHolas e. d’aGostino, M.S. ’51,

Sept. 20, 2014, Wolcott, Conn. HenrY J. miCHnieWsKi, ’51, Nov. 19,

2014, Ewing, N.J. frederiCK fontneau, ’52, Jan. 26,

2015, Stamford, Conn. rutH JoHnson mees, ’52, Nov. 10,

2014, Englewood, Colo. alred J. maiorano sr., ’53, Jan. 9,

2015, Madison, Conn. JaCQueline WeinsCHenK pelletier, ’54, Feb. 3, 2015,

Stratford, Conn.

in memoriam Clare bradoC Gallant, ’43, 6th Yr.

’72, Dec. 25, 2014, New Haven, Conn. marYrita eliZabetH oneto pontillo, ’43, M.S. ’78, Oct. 20,

2014, Clinton, Conn. ree pierCe miller, ’45, Nov. 9, 2014,

San Diego, Calif. June s. delano, ’46, May 12, 2014,

Pittsburgh, Pa. anna faGiolo, ’46, Sept. 1, 2014,

Fairfield, Conn. anne lillis sCHWab, ’46, Jan. 5,

2015, Hamden, Conn. Gloria landino morrisseY, ’47,

Jan. 31, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz. Colleen reeVes ClarKe WilCox,

’47, Jan. 23, 2015, Mystic, Conn. muriel edna lent HastinGs, ’49,

Aug. 24, 2014, Lacey, Wash.

eliZabetH l. (bettY lou) sCofield, ’55, Oct. 30, 2014,

Stratford, Conn. lois brunZell, ’56, M.S. ’84, Dec. 3,

2014, Milford, Conn. barbara t. peterson, ’56, Nov. 1,

2014, Branford, Conn. JosepH W. Valerio, ’56, M.S. ’69, Oct.

15, 2014, Milford, Conn. JosepHine “Jo” bosCH, ’57, Dec. 10,

2014, Hamden, Conn. antHero niColau, ’57, Dec. 6, 2014,

Wareham, Mass. antHonY Guido Jr., ’58, Oct. 20,

2014, North Haven, Conn. franCis mCHuGH, ’60, Nov. 20, 2014,

Bonita Springs, Fla. GeorGiana debonis blaKe, ’61,

M.S. ’75, Jan. 19, 2015, Waterbury, Conn. anna Hadden dunn, ’61, Dec. 15,

2014, West Haven, Conn.

Justine nerroW rYan, ’69, Jan. 15,

2015, Sudbury, Mass. naomi sCHreiber, ’69, M.L.S. ’80,

Oct. 2, 2014, Stamford, Conn. stepHen t. emerY, ’70, Feb. 5, 2015,

Bangor, Maine irene deiKis Zemaitaitis, M.S. ’70,

Dec. 7, 2014, Prospect, Conn. diane a. JoHnson, M.S. ’71, Jan. 4,

2015, Watertown, Conn. ellen W. Kadden, ’71, Nov. 30, 2014,

Fairfield, Conn. blanCHe f. Kent, M.S. ’71, 6th Yr. ’75,

Jan. 4, 2015, Stratford, Conn. marY d. alVes, ’73, Dec. 28, 2014, New

London, Conn. salVatore buCHetto, ’73, 6th Yr.

’91, Oct. 15, 2014, Stamford, Conn. riCHard C. CapobianCo, ’73, M.S.

’77, Nov. 29, 2014, Cheshire, Conn. trinidad Gomis, ’73, M.A. ’83, Dec.

19, 2014, West Hartford, Conn. JosepH C. masiulis Jr., M.S. ’73,

Burlington, Conn. armand p. maZZetti, ’73, Sept. 11,

2014, Waterbury, Conn. annett mCGee silVa, M.S. ’77, 6th

Yr. ’79, Nov. 10, 2014, Winchester, Mass. louise Giordano, M.A, ’78, Oct. 2,

2013, Daytona Beach, Fla. deboraH l. mulloY, ’78, Aug. 29,

2014, Trumbull, Conn. daVid W. osterGren, M.L.S. ’78,

Feb. 15, 2015, Wilton, Conn. Joanne a. suomi, ’79, Sept. 2, 2014,

Stevens Point, Wis. marlene C. saViano, M.S. ’80, Nov.

3, 2014, Norwalk, Conn. GeorGe banas, M.S. ’82, Nov. 8, 2014,

Hamden, Conn.

JeffreY l. lumbra, ’83, Oct. 25, 2014,

Bristol, Conn. marY Hartnett dellostritto,

M.S. ’84, Windham, Mass. patriCia Carroll larsen, ’84, Dec.

30, 2014, New Hartford, Conn. elaYne dimenstein, M.S. ’85, Oct. 2,

2012, Milford, Conn. JoHn K. matYi, ’85, Sept. 1, 2014,

Alabaster, Ala. CHarles a. mCKenna, 6th Yr. ’86,

Aug. 24, 2014, Westerly, R.I.

Celeste YVette daVis, M.S. ’87, 6th

Yr. ’92, Jan. 8, 2015, Hamden, Conn. Janie sHaVer, M.S. ’87, 6th Yr. ’01,

’07, Feb. 2, 2015, Branford, Conn. Carol daWson treat, ’89, M.S. ’95,

Jan. 14, 2015, Stratford, Conn. William “rudY” HuGHes, M.S. ’90,

Lansing, Mich.

deboraH taYlor naVes, ’91, Sept.

23, 2014, Escondido, Calif. patriCia a. sKeWes, ’93, Feb. 4, 2015,

Bowie, Md. JoYCe Wrabel, M.S. ’95, Oct. 10,

2014, Windsor, Conn. stepHen sCHWanK, ’96, Dec. 24,

2014, Sinking Spring, Pa.

Kurt G. leindeCKer, ’90, Oct. 10,

2014, West Haven, Conn. ann C. HusHin, ’91, M.S. ’98, 6th Yr.

’04, Dec. 9, 2014, Wallingford, Conn.

Caroline f. bulloCK, ’05, M.S. ’09,

Nov. 16, 2014, Watertown, Conn. faitH mulCaHY, ’05, Sept. 4, 2014,

Wallingford, Conn.

CatHY s. fortin, M.B.A. ’07, Dec. 16,

2014, Daytona Beach, Fla. JoHn a. speHar, ’10, Oct. 15, 2013,

New Haven, Conn. donald t. buCK, Professor Emeritus

of Economics and Finance, Nov. 29, 2014, Hadlyme, Conn. JaCK r. foster, Professor Emeritus of

History, Nov. 17, 2014, Naples, Fla.

Class notes are compiled from submissions from alumni, as well as announcements made in newspapers and magazines.

The Fruits of His Labor continued from page 11 pay the bills, including a shift sweeping floors at burger King. the

new idea — his brother, tariq, had seen edible bouquets on cruise

illness put a strain on the family — both financially and emotionally.

ships and others were doing fruit kabobs — farid says they suc-

With only one family car, farid recalls how his mother would

ceeded in professionalizing the concept and creating a lucrative

take the bus and then walk to and from Yale for his cancer treat-

business model. that combined with a quality product are the keys

ments, often carrying him home because he was so weak. He beat

to edible arrangements’ success, farid says. “a lot of love and care go into our product,” he adds, recalling

the cancer, and his mother’s determination during the ordeal left a lasting impression, as did her work ethic and belief in helping those

the early days when he handpicked the fruit for the arrangements. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: don’t overthink it. He

in need. Growing up, he remembers delivering newspapers and shovel-

remembers telling a trusted confidant about the idea for edible

ing driveways with his five siblings to help support the family. in

arrangements and almost becoming disheartened by his cautious

middle and high school, when his friends were out having fun, he

response. “He said, ‘i don’t know. Have you done your market

spent evenings and weekends helping out at the family flower shop

research?’” farid remembers. “We told him, ‘Well, we showed it to

and then working at his brother’s computer business. “i don’t think we knew any different,” he says. “We never

our friends and our family and our neighbors, and they loved it.’ “sometimes it’s just taking that risk,” he adds. “i was no one

thought, ‘let’s go to disney’ or things like that. it was always, ‘How do we save money, reinvest [in the family business], and also give back?’”

special. i was just another southern student who went on to start

transitioning from floral to fruit bouquets was a logical segue.

edible arrangements with my brother. We were just a family that

although arranging fruit to look like flowers wasn’t a completely

real. world. education.

saw an idea and worked very, very, very hard to see it grow.” ■

Study-abroad experiences at more than 300 prestigious institutions of higher learning in 42 countries. Education that takes place outside of the classroom at archeological sites, state-of-the-art laboratories, and schools and hospitals. Internships at leading businesses, including ESPN, the Hallmark Channel, and more. See all Southern has to offer. UNDERGRADUATE OPEN HOUSE

October 18 (203) 392-5644 • (888) 500-SCSu GRADUATE STUDIES OPEN HOUSE

October 24 (203) 392-5240 Summer 2015 | 35

soutHern eVents ■

eddie izzard


force majeure World tour

■ aug. 28 | 8 p.m.

A campus-wide celebration for the entire family. Come home to Southern for the parade of floats, the alumni tent part, the Homecoming football game, and much more.

One of the most popular stand-up comics in the world as well as a highly regarded actor, Izzard is known for his bizarre, hysterical comic narratives that are rooted in wit and creativity. Catch the show that is traveling to 25 countries on five continents.

Stay tuned for more details. (203) 392-6500

undergraduate open House

■ oct. 18 | 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Experience all Southern has to offer through campus tours and programs on academic offerings, admissions, student life, and much more. Details and registration to come. or call (203) 392-5644 or (888) 500-SCSu

$65 for premium seating (main sections m 1-6); $45 for regular seating for Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and student guests; $35 for Southern students; and $55 for regular seating (upper sections u 1-12). (203) 392-6154

Gerald albright and peabo bryson*

■ oct. 23 | 8 p.m.

A celebrated star of R&B, contemporary music, and jazz, Albright is a master saxophonist and bassist. He’s joined by Bryson, a two-time Grammy Awardwinning vocalist.

Gregory porter* ■ sept. 25 | 8 p.m.

■ oct. 17 | Events throughout the day

Enjoy an evening with the Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and entertainer that NPR has dubbed “The next great male jazz singer.”

$30 for Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and student guests; $35 for general admission; and $20 for Southern students. Tickets on sale Aug. 31 and, for the series, Aug. 22. (203) 392-6154

$35 for Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and student guests; $40 for general admission; and $20 for Southern students. Tickets on sale Aug. 31 and, for the series, Aug. 22. (203) 392-6154

Graduate studies open House

■ oct. 24 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Explore Southern’s graduate programs in more than 55 areas of study in the fields of education, business, health and human services, and arts and sciences. Details to come. or (203) 392-5240

■ oct. 9, 15 -16 | 8 p.m.

■ oct. 10 | 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m ■ oct. 17-18 | 2 p.m.

A rousing rock musical loosely based on Puccini’s opera “La Boheme,” Rent tells the story of a group of poor artists striving to build a life in New York’s Alphabet City under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Brought to you by the Theatre Department and the Crescent Players. Directed and choreographed by Larry Nye, associate professor of theatre, with musical direction by Kaia Monroe Rarick, associate professor of theatre. $10 for general admission; $5 for senior citizens and Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and student guests; and free for Southern students. (203) 392-6154

bWb norman brown, Kirk Whalum, and rick braun* ■ nov. 13 | 8 p.m.

The Lyman stage comes alive with the riveting sounds of BWB — the acclaimed jazz band that took its name from its three show-stopping members: guitarist Norman Brown, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and trumpeter Rick Braun. $30 for Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and student guests; $35 for general admission; and $20 for Southern students. Tickets on sale Aug. 31 and, for the series, Aug. 22. (203) 392-6154

almost, maine

■ dec. 1-5 | 8 p.m., dec. 6 | 2 p.m.

In a town so far north it’s almost in Canada, the residents spend a Friday night under the northern lights, falling in and out of love in the strangest ways. A romantic comedy by John Cariani, brought to you by the Theatre Department and the Crescent Players. Directed by Sheila Hickey Garvey, professor of theatre. $10 for general admission; $5 for senior citizens and Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and student guests; and free for Southern students. (203) 392-6154

Vincent ingala featuring Gregg Karukas and steve oliver* ■ dec. 5 | 8 p.m.

Hot new saxophonist Vincent Ingala and some very special friends bring their smooth jazz style to the stage, with a dusting of holiday classics added in. $25 for Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and student guests; $32 for general admission; and $20 for Southern students. Tickets on sale Aug. 31 and, for the series, Aug. 22. (203) 392-6154

Js earzi ezs

*only $120 to attend four shows! Plus $1.50 per ticket handling charge Gregory Porter • Gerald Albright & Peabo Bryson • BWB • Vincent Ingala Jazz Series on sale: Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. Tickets for single shows: Aug. 31

*All events held in John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts unless otherwise noted. Southern students must have valid identification to receive their ticket discounts and are limited to purchasing one student ticket and two student guest tickets per event. For tickets and additional information and listings, visit 36 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Southern Journeys

Why we give. Why it matters. Charitable Giving Report

Dear Alumni and Friends, On behalf of the entire SCSU Foundation team, we would

support provided through the SCSU Foundation, she

like to express our sincere gratitude. It has been an outstanding

had the freedom to embark on numerous leadership

year for Southern — and the future of the university and its

opportunities at Southern and beyond.

students is filled with promise. Donor support of university

• In recognition of the central role Southern played in

scholarships and programs is at a record-high level, and the

their lives, members of the Drobish family created an

foundation’s endowments are performing well. Equally

endowed scholarship to benefit an in-state student

important, a strong partnership unites the leaders of the

who is involved in his or her community and holds a

university, the Alumni Association, and the SCSU Foundation.

leadership position at the university.

As Southern embarks on an exciting era marked by the

We hope that you find their stories inspiring. As this

development of its new 10-year strategic plan, the university

annual report helps illustrate, there is strength in numbers. We

continues its commitment to intellectual rigor, creativity and

are part of a powerful partnership — a Southern community

innovation, community engagement, quality technological

of alumni, donors, faculty, staff, friends, and volunteers —

experiences, and a climate of civility, respect, and inclusion.

committed to changing lives through our collective efforts. To

Clearly there is much to celebrate, yet work remains to be

that end, the SCSU Foundation continues to fund numerous

done. Numerous factors contribute to student success. But for

important initiatives, all designed to help Southern’s talented

many, the journey begins at Southern — an institution known

students succeed. The SCSU Foundation Student Support

for excellence, access, and affordability. This annual report

Fund, for example, provides students with assistance outside of

spotlights a few of those journeys and illustrates some of the

the traditional financial aid process — in some instances

countless ways your gifts benefit the university and its

covering tuition and fees for those facing a budgetary crisis.


Similarly, the Book Loan Scholarship offers funds for

• Neil Proto earned his undergraduate degree at

textbooks, annually benefiting approximately 40 students in

Southern with the help of scholarship support. He

need. Your support makes it possible for the foundation to offer

went on to build a highly successful, multifaceted

these and numerous other equally important funds — all of

career and later gave back to his alma mater by

which enable Southern students to remain at the university

creating a scholarship for Southern students

and earn their degrees.

planning to attend law school.

These are exciting times for Southern, and we hope you

• Sarah (Green) Greco, the former valedictorian of

will continue to support us as we provide an exemplary,

West Haven High School in Connecticut, has made the

transformative, and accessible education to its students.

most of her Southern education. Thanks to scholarship

Thank you for your continued trust and generosity.

Very truly yours,

38 | Charitable Giving Report

Robert L. Stamp

David R. McHale

Executive Director SCSU Foundation

Chairman SCSU Foundation

Southern Journeys: Why We Give. Why it Matters.

Year in Review 2014 30 25.7

25 20 15

Total Net Assets 17.4

20.1 17.2

“One day I hope to be fortunate enough to pay


it forward and assist a college student with their education goals. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude . . . ”

10 5

With sincere gratitude, we share words of thanks from recent scholarship recipients.They represent the tens of thousands of Southern students whose lives have been changed for the better through the gift of education.

Dollars Raised












in millions of dollars • as of fiscal year end June 30

“ . . . I am the oldest of four and the first to attend a four-year university. These funds greatly contribute to my ability to pay for textbooks throughout the school year.” “Although I have learning difficulties

, 1000


800 754



Donor Support of University Programs



531 463


“I was honorably discharged from the U.S.

466 Donor Support of Scholarships and Awards

295 209




and a hearing disability, I proudly attend SCSU as a sports management major with the hope of coaching high school basketball. Your donation and continued pledge to financially assist those with disabilities allows people like me to fulfill our dreams.”




in thousands of dollars • as of fiscal year end June 30

78% Support for university programs has increased 78 percent in the past five years, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

103% Thanks to our donors, support for scholarships and awards soared 103 percent from 2010 to 2014.

Army as a sergeant with over seven years of service time, including two combat deployments. . . . Your scholarship will go a long way in helping me afford the high cost of books . . . as well as tuition for the graduate courses that I plan to take in the spring. ”

“I came from a difficult inner-city life to become an aspiring English teacher and lawyer. As a 30-year-old mom of three . . . [I appreciate] that this scholarship will tremendously aid in helping reduce my student loan repayment upon completion of my studies.”

“As I tell the incoming students during orientation, Southern is where I found myself, my voice, and my confidence. I am very thankful for your generosity.” Summer 2015 | 39

Renaissance Man Having excelled as a lawyer, writer, and professor, Neil Thomas Proto, ’67, establishes a scholarship designed to help Southern students succeed. By Jack Kramer

40 | Charitable Giving Report


hen you look at Neil Thomas Proto’s body of work, it is hard to believe that he was, in his own words, “not an exceptional student’’ during his undergraduate years at Southern Connecticut State University. “I had an overall average of about a 2.75, and, if I recall correctly, maybe a 3.5 in my major,’’ says Proto, ’67, who focused his studies in history and political science. “Most of that was the product of my junior and senior years.” Proto has enjoyed great success in numerous fields since graduating from Southern close to 50 years ago, giving heightened meaning to the phrase late bloomer. His public service and private practice in law includes 45 years of experience in land use, environmental, and federal litigation, as well as teaching assignments at Yale and Georgetown universities. Proto is also an accomplished author, having covered topics ranging from Three Mile Island to baseball. His contributions to the law field began early. In 1971 and 1972, while still a law student at George Washington University, he chaired Students Challenging Regulatory Agency Procedures (SCRAP). Their work resulted in the first Supreme Court case to consider the National Environmental Policy Act (1973), and the court ultimately concluded that SCRAP had standing to sue. Since that time, both as an appellate attorney with the United States Department of Justice and in private practice, Proto has orchestrated legal, cultural, and political challenges on behalf of public and private entities. Widely held as a leading environmental litigator, he has fought against the construction of highways on civil rights grounds, shopping malls, coal-fired utility plants, the use of natural resources, and harm to Indian reservations. In 1993, for example, Proto drafted a unique statutory scheme at the behest of the state of Hawaii that resulted in the conveyance of Kaho’olawe Island from the United States to Hawaii for the special use of native Hawaiians. Another legal battle pitted Proto against the Walt Disney Company, which planned to open a park in Virginia near historically important Civil War sites. Working pro bono on behalf of the Natural Trust for Historic Preservation and Protect Historic America (a group of writers and historians including Pulitzer Prize-winning Pictured at left and in authors David McCullough and James a 1967 yearbook photo, Neil Thomas Proto McPherson), Proto achieved what some received Southern’s considered impossible — helping to stop Leadership Award in Disney in its tracks. his senior year.

Proto’s passion extends to the arts. He sat on the board of directors of the Shubert and Long Wharf theaters in New Haven, and served as chair of the city of New Haven’s Committee for the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Execution of Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco. Working with director Tony Giordano, he also co-adapted from the original Dutch the musical drama, “The American Dream, The Story of Sacco and Vanzetti,” which was performed at the Shubert in April 2002. And there is much, much more for Proto, who continues to consider his time at Southern as playing an integral role in his life story — so much so that he’s establishing an endowed scholarship in his name at the university. The Neil Thomas Proto Scholarship Fund provides practical support to undergraduate or graduate students seeking to attend law school. “Practical support” is defined as providing all or a portion of the cost of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the LSAT preparation course, and law school application fee or fees. “Southern had special virtues,” says Proto. “It welcomed firstgeneration students with decent academic standings, and it was within my financial reach. I had a scholarship from the New Haven Scholarship Fund, which covered my tuition, and with a part-time job and my parents’ help — and my dad’s car, when necessary — we could afford it.” As he recalls, Southern had deep roots in the community, with education majors completing their student teaching in New Haven public schools, and students and faculty members often volunteering with charitable and community groups. Proto was raised with a similar commitment. “I was the product of a working-class family, with parents who were civically active — with a strong sense of values about fairness. They were informed,” he says. “Both supported education for their three children, and were involved in all aspects of our academic lives. . . . My brother Richard, my sister Diana, and I were products of New Haven’s public schools, and the first to go to college in our family. That was the case with most of my classmates at Southern.’’ Proto developed as a leader at Southern. He was student body president in his senior year (1966-67) and received the Leadership Award in 1967. His ties to the university remained strong, with Proto delivering Southern’s commencement address in 1976 and receiving the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1981. He, in turn, recounts that the late President Emeritus Michael J. Adanti was an inspiration. “I walked the halls at Southern Connecticut; I knew as a student and friend —and admired its latter president — Michael Adanti and his special commitment,” says Proto. “Michael’s model ensured that many graduates, myself included, never forgot Southern’s valued place in our lives.’’ He continues: “I applaud Southern’s ongoing mission to educate and inspire. The scholarship is intended to make this imperative plain. The financial constraint is often the one requiring the most imagination, persistence, and risk-taking to confront — but once managed, the intellect and imagination can blossom in ways that could lead to success. . . . I wanted to lessen that constraint.’’

Summer 2015 | 41

The Perfect Investment Sarah (Green) Greco, ’14, is gifted, hardworking, and determined. Thanks to scholarship support, she and other deserving students are making the most of their time at Southern. By Natalie Missakian

42 | Charitable Giving Report


a student representative on the State Board of Regents for Higher Education — the governing board of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system — Sarah (Green) Greco, ’14, plays a role in shaping the future of public institutions of higher learning — including Southern. It’s a dream appointment for the 2010 valedictorian of West Haven High School, who envisions a future for herself in higher education, perhaps leading a department like Student Affairs on a college campus. But she doubts the opportunity would have been available to her without the aid of scholarship support. Freed from the need to work long hours to cover tuition, Greco says she had more time to participate in activities like the Student Government Association, where she built relationships that led to her Board of Regents post as well as a part-time job in Southern’s Office of Residence Life. “It wouldn’t have happened if I was stressed out every semester worrying about paying my school bill,” says Greco, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in English education at Southern. As an undergraduate in the Honors College majoring in English education, Greco received the prestigious, merit-based Presidential Scholarship, which covers full in-state tuition and fees for the university’s highest-achieving students. Thanks to a variety of other scholarships offered through the SCSU Foundation and other sources, she also was able to cover the cost of books and educational expenses. Among these was a winter study abroad program in Jamaica in Greco’s sophomore year, during which she visited schools in the Montego Bay area to compare the U.S. and Jamaican education systems. “I can’t say that I would not have gone to school at all [if it weren’t for the scholarships]. We would have figured it out. But I wouldn’t have had an opportunity like the one I had at Southern,” she recalls. Currently 71 percent of Southern’s students receive some form of financial aid, according to Gloria Lee, director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. But federal grant money, which unlike a loan does not have to be paid back, is limited, she explains, and there’s never enough to meet every student’s need. “I don’t have enough money to cover everybody. I wish I did,” Lee says. “That’s why when I go out to workshops I encourage students to apply for scholarships.” Although it takes a little more legwork — most scholarships have their own application processes above and beyond that for financial aid — Lee says the effort can pay off substantially by reducing the amount students need to borrow for tuition. Levels of debt have continued to rise nationwide. The Pew Research Center estimates that 69 percent of new college graduates in the Class of 2012 took out student loans to finance their education, borrowing an average of $26,885 — more than twice the $12,434 (adjusted for inflation) borrowed by the Class of 1993.

“Because I was valedictorian in my class they just assumed I was going to go to an Ivy League.” — Sarah (Green) Greco, ’14, on why Southern was her first college choice Greco says her goal was to graduate with as little debt as possible, a priority she appreciates even more now that she is married with a 10-month-old son. “I came from a hardworking family that struggled with being in and out of debt because they were trying to make ends meet,” Greco explains. “I didn’t want to graduate from college with that burden.” Although she decided to attend Southern before she learned of her aid package — the university moved to the top of her list after her first campus visit — the generous amount of scholarship support she received reinforced her decision. Once on campus, Greco continued to shine academically, graduating summa cum laude with a 3.95 grade point average. She was one of only four Southern seniors to earn the 2014 Henry Barnard Foundation Distinguished Student Award, one of the state university system’s top academic honors. An extremely active undergrad, Greco was vice president of the Student Government Association, president of the university’s chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta English honor society, vice president of its chapter of Sigma Alpha Pi National Society of Leadership and Success, and a member of the honorary service organization Zeta Delta Epsilon. She also worked every summer helping to plan and execute Southern’s New Student Orientation. Now living in New Haven, Greco remains a firm believer in the state’s public universities — and encourages high-achieving high school students to consider Southern and other public institutions of higher learning for their quality and value. “Education is what you make of it. There are people at Southern who will give you the highest-quality education and beyond if you are looking for it,” says Greco. “I don’t think I’d be sitting on the Board of Regents and working at a university right now if I had made a different decision.” For her part, Greco felt she could make more of a difference at Southern than at a bigger school where she might have been “just a cog in a wheel.” But she remembers some people being surprised by her choice. “Because I was valedictorian in my class they just assumed I was going to go to an Ivy League,” she remembers. Initially, that’s what Greco thought too, noting that her father was a Yale University alumnus. Southern was barely on her radar. But when she visited campus, she says she immediately could picture herself as a student: “It’s a feeling I hadn’t gotten anywhere else.”

Summer 2015 | 43

All in the Family A new scholarship furthers the Drobish family’s long-held commitment to Southern and its students. By Natalie Missakian

44 | Charitable Giving Report


he romance began in a crowded gymnasium on registration day in 1958. Marian (Riggio) Drobish, ’62, was a Southern freshman and Robert M. Drobish, ’61, had just transferred from Providence College, when the two met while waiting in line to sign up for classes. “She kept inching her way closer to the front because she knew all these people,” Drobish recalls. That night, he asked her to dance at a student mixer. Four years later, they were married. The couple’s connection to Southern remained strong following graduation, growing in step with their family, which soon included a son Robert K., named after his father. The elder Robert became the assistant director of admissions at Southern. Marian also began a job on campus — as hall director (then called “house mother”) at the newly opened Wilkinson Hall — so the family moved into the all-girls dorm where the younger Robert spent his toddler years. Not surprisingly, the family’s ties to Southern have expanded to include the next generation. Consider the aforementioned toddler who once happily walked the halls of Wilkinson. Today, Robert K. Drobish, ’88, M.S. ’90, works in the Registrar’s Office as a scheduling officer at Southern — which he considers much more than his alma mater and employer. As Drobish see it, Southern is his home. “Not even a second home. It’s home,” says the younger Robert. “I literally grew up on Southern’s campus.” Robert remembers visiting his dad at work — in the office where he himself would work decades later — and tagging along at football games when his father was a statistician and announcer for the college marching band. He also recalls how much he looked up to the Southern students. “As a kid, they seemed so old. So much larger than life,” he says. His siblings’ ties to Southern run wide and deep as well. Diana (Dee Dee) Dahlman, graduated from Southern in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in education and now works in the Office of Residence Life. A younger sister, Andrea Kennedy, spent two years at Southern before leaving to pursue a career in musical theater. Southern is also where the younger Robert met his wife, Director of Student Life Denise Bentley-Drobish, ’90, M.S. ’92 — whose diverse responsibilities include supervising daily operations of the office, clubs and organizations, and the Programs Council, as well as serving as the primary adviser to the Student Government Association. The couple began dating while working as hall directors — Robert at Chase and Denise at Farnham Hall — and married in 1995. All told, the family holds seven Southern degrees. It was Denise who first suggested establishing a scholarship at the university to honor the Drobish family legacy. In recognition of the institution that played a central role in all of their lives, the relatives established the Supporting Southern is a family affair for (from left) Drobish Family Endowed Diana (Dee Dee) Dahlman, ’91; Scholarship at Southern. The Robert M. Drobish, ’61; Marian (Riggio) Drobish, ’62; scholarship was presented as a Robert K. Drobish, ’88, M.S. ‘90; surprise to Marian and Robert and Denise Bentley-Drobish, ’90, M. Drobish, who have M.S. ’92.

subsequently contributed to the fund as well. The scholarship will go to an in-state student who is involved in his or her community and holds a leadership position at Southern. “Southern is a part of us,” says the younger Robert. “We thought it was important to do what we could to give back.” Others in the Drobish family share his sentiment. Marian’s voice brightens when she talks about the early days of her marriage spent living in Wilkinson Hall, and her relationship with “the girls,” who doted on her then 15-month-old son, and often babysat while she counseled students. “My door used to be open until all hours of the night to see students. It was a very warm and family kind of relationship,” she says. Dorm structure was different then, and she was house “mother” in every sense — right down to enforcement of the strict curfews and room inspections. She left the job with the birth of her second child, but the elder Robert stayed on as registrar until 1976, when he accepted a similar position at what is now Western Connecticut State University. He retired in 1992. Marian would build a career teaching special education at the Foundation School in Milford, Conn. An accomplished singer and performer, she also ran a school for theater arts. “I’ve had a few careers in my life, and I really owe it to Southern,” she says. “It was a wonderful foundation for everything I did afterwards, and I am forever grateful.” The younger Robert says he and Denise decided to make community involvement and campus leadership a requirement for the scholarship to honor the example set by his parents, who were active in campus life. As undergrads, his father served as senior class president while his mother was instrumental in bringing the American Association of University Women, an advocacy group, to campus. She was also among the university’s first female leaders in student government, serving as president her senior year. Looking back, Marian and the elder Robert say they always encouraged their children to follow their own paths, but are thrilled they chose to study and work at Southern. “They always enjoyed our stories about Southern and, of course, Bob spent some of his formative years there. But they really discovered Southern on their own,” says Marian. “There’s no question that they are happy with their decision.” A career at Southern wasn’t initially the plan for the younger Robert, who majored in communications and hoped for a career in television. But after an internship at WTNH-Channel 8, he realized the late hours would be difficult when he had a family. In contrast, the idea of working as a university administrator in support of students seemed a natural fit. He says he is proud to have landed in the office where his father made a name for himself decades ago, even if it sometimes causes confusion. “To this day, I’ll get people calling and saying, ‘Bob? I can’t believe you’re still there!’” he says with a laugh. “I say, ‘Oh no, that’s my dad. He’s retired.’”

Summer 2015 | 45

Dollars & Sense


More than



of Southern seniors work 21 or more hours a week.

of Southern students receive financial aid.

$600in,000 scholarsahripdss and aw

More than

$2.74 milli

h the were made througin 2014. SCSU Foundation



scholarships and awards we


re made through the SCSU Foundation between 2008 and 20 14.

the median level of loan debt for recent Southern graduates

The Importance of College On average, the benefits of a

four-year college degree Over their entire career, the typical college graduate with a bachelor’s degree earns

an investment that returns


15.2% a year.

Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, the Brookings Institution-based Hamilton Project

$1.9 million– twice what a typical high school graduate earns. The Brookings Institutionbased Hamilton Project

46 | Charitable Giving Report


of jobs in Connecticut will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020.


46% of adults currently have an associate degree or higher.



of Southern’s annual graduating class remains in Connecticut to live and work.

Student Debt: Who Borrows?

In 2012, a record

69% of the nation’s new college graduates had taken out student loans to finance their education.


of those from low-income families graduated with student loan debt in 2012 — almost four out of every five.

$26,885 $12,434

Student borrowers are graduating with much higher levels of debt than in previous decades: the median level of debt was $26,885 for graduates in the Class of 2011-12 compared to $12,434 for the Class of 1992-93. (Figures adjusted for inflation.)

Class of 1993 Class of 2012

From “The Changing Profile of Student Borrowers,” a report from the Pew Research Center

Summer 2015 | 47

Southern Connecticut State University Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors OFFICERS David R. McHale • Chairman Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Eversource Energy Richard F. Tripodi • Vice Chairman President RFTS, Inc. Michael R. Chambrello • Treasurer Chief Executive Officer GTECH Mary O’Connell Kozik • Secretary Senior Chemist AECOM Corporation Robert L. Stamp • Executive Director Vice President for Institutional Advancement Southern Connecticut State University

BOARD MEMBERS Paula Armbruster Associate Clinical Professor (Retired) Yale University Dr. Robert S. Frew Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Southern Connecticut State University

Anthony F. Verlezza Associate Partner Equus Group LLC

Diane L. Wishnafski Executive Vice President (retired) NewAlliance Bank

Pieter W. van Vredenburch Head of Linear USD Rates HSBC Bank USA



Dr. Charles E. Baraw Assistant Professor of English Southern Connecticut State University

Frederick R. Afragola Chairman Frame Advisors

Alicia DiVito Student Representative Southern Connecticut State University

Lucille W. Alderman Community Activist

Dr. Mary A. Papazian President Southern Connecticut State University

Frank D. Antin Senior Vice President (retired) The Bank of New York Mellon Mackey Barron President HB Communications Inc. Lynn Fusco President Fusco Corporation Robin Sauerteig Higher Education Activist

Thomas J. Madigan Vice President, Investments UBS Financial Services, Inc. John Mezzanotte Partner-in-Charge Marcum LLP Marc A. Nivet, Ed.D. Chief Diversity Officer Association of American Medical Colleges William H. Pratt, Esq. Intellectual Property Licensing Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP John Soto President Space-Craft Manufacturing, Inc.

48 | Charitable Giving Report

Robert D. Parker Alumni Association Representative Director of Communications (retired) ACES (Area Cooperative Educational Services) Mark Rozewski Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Southern Connecticut State University Teresa Sirico Alumni Association Representative Teresa Sirico Realtor LLC

CONTACT US For additional information, please contact: Southern Connecticut State University Foundation, Inc. Telephone: (203) 392-6900 Gifts may be made online at: (203) 392-6900

Thank YOU

for answering our call!

“I am fortunate to be a Southern scholarship recipient. Our alumni understand students’ financial challenges firsthand. I’m grateful to know they care about the university and its students.” Gregory Jr., ’15 Psychology major PHONATHON STUDENT CALLER • SECOND-GENERATION SOUTHERN STUDENT • HONOR SOCIETY MEMBER • FUTURE CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

ast fall, 1,047 Southern


alumni and parents

pledged more than $61,000 to support Southern students.

“Without financial assistance, I don’t think I’d be able to attend college. . . . It’s encouraging to know our alumni care enough about me and my classmates to give back.”

Your gifts make it possible for Southern to create a climate of excellence and

Jacob Sharpe, ’18 Business Administration major

provide critically needed financial assistance to talented and deserving students.


Couldn’t answer our call? Please consider making your gift online at or use the enclosed envelope. A tax-deductible gift of $35 or more entitles you to active membership in the Alumni Association.

“I receive financial aid, which has lifted a huge burden. The show of support from alumni is a testament to how great our university is — and why I know I made the right choice in Southern.” Ruth Sarfo, ’15 Biology major

Office of Annual Giving (203) 392-6514 ANNUALGIVING@SOUTHERNCT.EDU



Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Burlington, VT Permit No. 19

Summer | 15 Alumni Association 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515-1355 Address Service Requested


U E S T I O N : What

measures 20 feet

across, has 20 faces,

and welcomed a talented community of mathematicians to Southern?


N S W E R : A giant

icosahedron, which was built by Southern’s Math

Club under the guidance of Joseph Fields, professor of mathematics. The three-dimensional figure, consisting of 20 equilateral triangles, was constructed for the 2014 meeting of the northeastern section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), which was held on campus. With a focus on mathematics that is accessible at the undergraduate level, the MAA has a diverse membership including teachers, graduate and undergraduate students, pure and applied mathematicians, computer scientists, statisticians, and many others in academia, government, business, and industry. The northeastern section of the organization covers Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts,

Who’s Counting?

Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as several Canadian provinces.

Southern Alumni Magazine Summer 2015  

A publication for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University

Southern Alumni Magazine Summer 2015  

A publication for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University