From the UConn Foundation's Our Moment newsletter (September-October 2012)
Joann DeBlasis '76 '83An alumna who has become a leader in the insurance industry is giving back to help UConn students.
Joann DeBlasis '76 MBA '83, the president of the Accident & Health Division of Navigators Re, has established a scholarship fund to provide support for students with demonstrated academic achievement and financial need in the School of Business. Priority consideration will be given to students enrolled at the Stamford Campus.
She believes that in this difficult economy, education is vital to succeed.
"The college experience is so very important to a young person's development," she says. "Not just for the classes, either, but also the act of accomplishing something on your own, being around different types of people, and experiencing everything you can at that time of your life."
Her support is targeted to the Stamford Campus because of its emphasis on business and technology, as well as the fact that some students there may not be able to afford room and board, and choose to live at home before transferring to the Storrs campus.
"I would hate to think that there is a student out there in the situation where they wanted to go to college, but couldn't afford it," she adds.
DeBlasis was one of two featured speakers at a 2010 symposium at another regional campus—the Graduate Business Learning Center in downtown Hartford—on the topic of women in business.
"When I earned my MBA in Hartford in 1983, the facilities were nothing like today. It's amazing to see, really," she adds. "And when I was working on my undergraduate degree, women were finding that there were more opportunities for them in business than even a few years prior."
The daughter of immigrant parents, DeBlasis was the first in her family to attend college. Her family's savings ethic, as well as her part time bookkeeping job at the Daily Campus, meant that she left UConn without the debt some peers carried.
"I was so fortunate in that respect and was able to start a career in public accounting in New York City right after graduation," she recalls. "When I decided that wasn't for me, coming back to Connecticut and working on my MBA at UConn gave me the solid knowledge to succeed in business."
She sees great things ahead for UConn.
"The school is going places. I look at where UConn is headed, and think they are doing a good job of building an excellent reputation, balancing athletics and academics and offering students a wide range of career options. The breadth and depth of UConn was impressive when I was there, and it's grown since," she says.
"Through my giving, I would hope that there's a student out there who can complete their degree, pursue something of interest to them and find success. That doesn't mean just success in the business world, either. They could start their own company, work for a nonprofit, anything that provides a stepping stone for their happiness in life. That's why I've decided to establish this scholarship."
By: John Sponauer '92 '10, UConn Foundation
To support the Stamford Campus, please contact the Foundation's development department.