Direct from Donors

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Last year, more than 32,000 donors gave to support the University of Connecticut through a private gift. Some of them gave because of a favorite professor. Others because they met their future spouse here. The reasons are as individual as the donors themselves, but all of these expressions of philanthropic vision help make the University of Connecticut stronger!

To all of our donors, thank you! Please take a moment and tell us why UConn matters to you!


 

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"The four most enjoyable years of my life so far have been the ones I spent as an undergrad at UConn. A big part of this had to do with the Honors Program, which exposed me to incredible classmates, supportive and caring professors and an ecosystem that enabled me to dream big. I've only been out of school for six years and it is absolutely incredible to see the success of my peers. Finally, with the highly effective and passionate leadership of Dr. Lease Butts, I have no doubts about the future and continued success of the program. Giving back is a no-brainer."

Paul Millerd '07
Donor, Honors Program
Posted February 22, 2014

 

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"The UConn brand continues to get stronger every year and I want to do my part to strengthen the brand. I want UConn to be recognized as so much more than a great basketball school."

Jim Sizer '78
Donor, Chemical Engineering Laboratory Renovation Fund
Posted February 6, 2014

 

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"My daughter Melissa is a junior at UConn. It's been a pleasure for us to visit often and attend some of the concerts. Over the past three years, we have been consistently impressed with the young talent and have enjoyed each of these events. I do feel that the productions have taken a huge leap forward under the direction of Mr. Harvey Felder. I enjoy how he connects with both the audience and the students. I hope our yearly donation will have some impact on a student at the UConn Music Program."

Tom D'Albora
Donor, Music Department
Posted February 3, 2014

 

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"I was so grateful for the opportunity to have a world-class clinical education at an affordable price. I am so appreciative of the training I received. I am acutely aware of how rich my education was--especially at this point in my career, as I periodically assist in supervising current MSW grad students."

Melinda Grey Crossman MSW '86
Donor, School of Social Work Dean's Fund
Posted January 29, 2014

 

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"Both my wife and I, and now our two sons, have received a great education from UConn. We all take great pride in our state university and marvel at the strides it continues to take."

Patrick ’85 and Ann ’06 Wellspeak
Donors, Student Excellence & Scholarship Fund
Posted January 15, 2014

 

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"I gave because of the quality of education I received and the commitment of all of the professors in the physics department to the development of their students."

Josh Welch '05
Donor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Fund
Posted January 11, 2014

 

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"I am afraid that the story of my relationship with UConn is really a novel. I have three degrees from UConn and was the first person from my family to attain a college degree. My sister and a brother graduated from UConn. I was in the marching and pep bands as an undergraduate. As a graduate student, I was fortunate enough to meet that special professor - one who not only guided my studies but who also became a friend for life (now, 36 years and counting). I have since taught many graduate courses at UConn (and other universities) as an adjunct faculty and am currently on the faculty in the Neag School of Education. Thirty three years ago I met my wife on campus while I was working on my dissertation. Our son is currently a sophomore on the Storrs campus. Many years ago my wife (also a UConn graduate) and I endowed a scholarship in my father's name. We are season ticket holders for football and men's and women's basketball. I also attend as many men's soccer games as I can. The university is so intertwined in my life that, at times, it feels like an extension of myself."

Peter Behuniak '71 '73 '81
Donor, Peter Behuniak Sr. Scholarship Fund
Marching and Pep Bands
Posted January 8, 2014

 

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"The Elizabeth Nicholson Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded in memory of my niece, Liz Nicholson. She was the most wonderful, beautiful and talented young woman. We helped start the fund with money that our father left us, and then decided instead of exchanging gifts amongst our siblings each year, we would donate to the fund in hopes of keeping it strong."

Jan Withers
Donor, Elizabeth Nicholson Memorial Scholarship Fund
Posted January 4, 2014
(PHOTO: Jan Withers with brothers Jim Nicholson (left) and Mike Nicholson, Liz's father (right). Not pictured: brother Rob Nicholson)

 

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"I loved the Honors English classes. They taught me to question everything I believe with rigor—a habit I cherish to this day! I give generously to the places that have inspired me to seek truth!"

Rob Wozniak '94
Donor, Honors Program
Posted January 2, 2014

 

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"We give to support the multitude of opportunities that the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Union provide students to develop leadership skills and prepare them for life after UConn. We met at UConn, and had a wonderful experience earning our master's and working in the Union. Congratulations to Chuck Morrell on his retirement!"

Dr. Ryan E. Alcantara '97 and Suzanne O'Connor Alcantara '97
Donors, Chuck Morrell "Customer Service" Award Fund
Posted December 30, 2013

 

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"I give to support what’s important to a young woman that I enjoyed teaching in her high school days. Alexis was always engaged, curious, and ready to work. I am so proud that she has continued to hone these skills and assets and that she has the inner grace and outward drive to follow her considerable talents to help make the world better."

Celeste Markle
Donor, Community Outreach Service-Learning Fund
Posted December 29, 2013
See related "Scholarship Story" from Alexis Chisolm '14

 

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"The UConn Marching Band has had a very special place in my life. I played in every band on campus during my years on the Storrs campus. During my sophomore year (1962), I founded Delta Omicron, the first chapter in New England of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national band fraternity. Eight new brothers joined D.O. during the fall 2013 semester. I am pleased and thankful to know that I have left a legacy at UConn with the formation of D.O. and to have heard from many KKY alumni how much this fraternity meant to them."

William Dick '64
Donor, UConn Marching Band
Posted December 24, 2013

William also writes that this will be his 21st year as Santa for families in the Youngstown, OH region. "I am Santa all year. It is a very important part of my life."

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"My years at UConn's School of Physical Therapy equipped me to excel in a career that I loved and performed until my 70th birthday. I am proud of my years in service to others and helping others maximize their recoveries. I thank UConn for this."

Bethann Kravetz Baskies '64
Donor, Physical Therapy
Posted December 20, 2013

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"The professors and staff of the EMBA program provided a complete experience to ready me to advance my career. They and the Assistant Dean and Dean continue to be interested in me and my success. That is why UConn, and the School of Business, gets my support. A UConn professor told us on our last day of class that contributing to your alma mater strengthens the value of your degree. How the school is viewed today matters most."

Janet Grace '97
Donor, The Fund for UConn and
Dean’s MBA Excellence Fund
Posted December 13, 2013

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"UConn Basketball is family. It has given me life memories and been a major part of my journey. Jim Calhoun has been generous and kind in many ways, and by just doing what he does, taught lessons about hard work, achievement, dealing with loss, and accepting victory with a nod to all that contributed. I can't express how much I will miss him on the bench, and how thankful I am to have been able to witness his career from this perspective. Thank you, Coach! I look forward to the future success of Coach Ollie!"

AJ Fucile
Donor, Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center
Posted November 13, 2013

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"My family has been connected to UConn my entire life. That connection came from my parents and our scholarship is a way to honor that legacy. Dad was UConn's Sports Information Director for 25 years and mom was active in the UConn community. Our scholarship is aimed at supporting the next generation of students who are striving to enter the field through their commitment to UConn's athletic communications. Spending time with Jeff (photo, left), this year's outstanding and enthusiastic recipient, was an affirmation of all that we hoped to achieve with the scholarship."

Mike Soltys '81
Donor, Joseph J. and Elizabeth A. Soltys Scholarship
Posted October 29, 2013
See related Scholarship Story from Jeffrey Piascik '14

 

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"I give to support the program that gave me the knowledge to succeed. I learned wonderful clinical skills at UConn and learned to always share some personal story with my patients to put them at ease. This was one message I will not forget from Dr. Peter Schulman."

Ketan P Parikh MD '03 and Falguni K. Parikh, MD '03
Donors, Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center
Posted September 12, 2013

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"My father, Norman Olenik ’65, was so proud to be an alumnus and was an even bigger supporter of the men's and women's athletic programs. Over the past five years, while he struggled with various medical issues, the one constant thing that kept him smiling was any opportunity to watch UConn games. Our family thought it would be a great idea to support the school he cherished so much by asking for donations in lieu of flowers in memory. We hope any amount of donations we are able to send will help a future alumnus enjoy the UConn experience as much as my father did."

Jason Olenik
Donor, UConn Basketball
Posted September 6, 2013

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"Bob is a UConn alumni. Our two daughters currently attend UConn. We both believe that education is one of the best investments we can make. We're impressed with how UConn has evolved over the years and feel the University will provide a good return on our investment--not only for our daughters but for all who decide to be part of the University community."

Cathy and Bob ’87 McMahon
Donors, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean's Fund
Posted August 21, 2013

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"I have every reason to support UConn for my life! Because of my dedicated professors, math department's actuarial science program, UConn Health Center, international student house, UConn basketball teams, dairy bar… Everything related to UConn brings me peace, joy and success. My best years of study and making friends occurred at UConn. There's no other place that can match that power of influence in my life. There's tremendous potential to wake up the deep heart of giving from all the alumni."

Yvonne Chueh '94 PhD '99
Donor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Fund
Posted July 30, 2013

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"I give to support the Dave Solomon Scholarship Fund because Dave (photo) was passionate about journalism and getting the story right the first time. He was also a very good man and a family friend who was taken from us too soon."

Karen Levine '78 MPA '80
Donor, Dave Solomon Scholarship Fund
Posted July 25, 2013

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"There is no greater joy than being able to support a program that literally changed my life. Both the BRIDGE program and the University of Connecticut set my life on a course that I never thought was possible, and I owe so much for the great opportunity that was made possible to me. Giving this small donation was the least I could do. It does little justice to the immeasurable assistance that this institution has provided me."

Ayodele M. Asaolu '11
Donor, Endowment for the BRIDGE Program
Posted July 18, 2013

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"Our son, Michael, is enjoying his college experience at UConn and frequently finds the materials he needs at the library. Donations make many things possible for students, and a good education is something that can never be taken away (as my mom used to say)!"

Marc and Lisa Daniels
Donors, Fund for University Libraries
Posted July 12, 2013

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"UConn was a fantastic part of my life. Every young adult who has the desire to attend should be afforded the opportunity! I was the recipient of scholarships while I was a School of Business student. These scholarships greatly assisted my being able to afford UConn."

T.J. Whyte '02
Donor, The Fund for UConn
Posted July 9, 2013

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"I would like to support students seeking a pharmacy education."

Paul R. O'Dea '69
Donor, Pharmacy Scholarship Fund
Posted June 28, 2013

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"In the winter of 1978, I was a freshman at UConn, living in Shippee Hall, which was an all-girls dorm. I was very ill, had a high fever (104), but could not get to the campus health center because it was in the middle of the Blizzard of ‘78. My dorm-mates who were nursing students cared for me while others dug out a car to drive me to the infirmary. They probably saved my life. UConn did change the course of my life in many ways. For example, both Alan Gillespie and David Maker were great advisors and teachers; they helped shape my musical experience while at UConn and beyond."

Lisa Maxwell '81
Donor, Department of Music
Posted June 28, 2013

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"After earning my UConn MBA degree, I was hired by Rob Hoskin, who was serving as associate dean at the time, to set up a publicity & marketing office within the School of Business. In that role, Rob became a mentor to me, and I'll always be appreciative of the support, guidance and friendship he provided me. I wish Rob the all the best in his retirement!"

Michael J. Deotte, MBA '98
Donor, Hoskin/Helman "If We Rest, We Rust" Fund
Posted June 28, 2013

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"As one of the original faculty members of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine, and the father of an alumnus, I applaud the Health Center's opportunities and successes."

Ronald M Maenza, M.D.
Donor, School of Medicine Academic Programs
Posted June 24, 2013

(Photo: Richard L. Maenza, M.D. '92 receiving his newly earned hood from his father upon graduation from the UConn School of Medicine) 

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"When I enrolled at UConn in 1964, I was trying to grow as a young adult both socially and in my area of study in Engineering. For me, UConn provided a balance of diverse life experiences and educational growth at an affordable cost. Life in an Independent dormitory at the time offered me my first experience with a breadth of people, responsibilities, and interests. I worked at WHUS as an announcer and officer and gained new appreciations for music, news and sports. Most importantly, my classes and professors provided access to differing thoughts, knowledge, and problem-solving skills that helped me be successful in my subsequent career. While I might have found other institutions of higher education that excelled in one area or another, UConn provided just the right balance and inspiration for me. As we now focus on the high cost of college across the country, I often reflect on the great value I received in my undergraduate education at the University of Connecticut (and the generosity of the State of Connecticut) and I wish the same for other students today. My gifts to the UConn Foundation, and support of continued state funding, are ways to give back to an institution that was so important to me in my college years and during my lifetime."

Brian Young '68
Donor, School of Engineering Dean’s Fund
Posted June 19, 2013

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"My son had a wonderful 5-year experience in the drum corps of the UConn marching band. The teaching and mentorship of the director, assistant director, and the many alum volunteer directors greatly inspired him. In addition to the musical skills he gained, he acquired valuable leadership and teamwork skills and made lasting friendships. The UConn Marching Band will always have a place in our family's hearts."

Michele Myers
Donor, Marching and Pep Bands
Posted June 14, 2013

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"UConn changed my life and allowed me to pursue my aspirations and dreams. I still have and have had a wonderful life that could have only happened by my graduation. The fact that is was affordable in 1960, my freshman year, and the incredible generosity of the scholarship fund made it possible for me to achieve my dreams. This would have never happened without UConn."

Paul O. Braatz, PhD '65
Donor, Engineering Scholarship Fund
Posted May 15, 2013

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"I give to support the UConn Ski Team, which has been a source of great happiness and pride for my daughter for the past four years.”

Elizabeth Elliott
Donor, Student Activities Fund – Ski Team
Posted May 12, 2013

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"My undergraduate nursing program was the foundation for a fabulous career in nursing leadership. As we strive to reach the challenge of 80% BSN nurses by 2020 in the Future of Nursing Report, I feel fortunate that my path started at UConn in such an excellent program. I was fortunate to receive scholarships and financial aid during my journey. I'm hoping my small contribution will help someone else."

Dale Ghione Danowski MBA, BSN, RN ‘81
Donor, School of Nursing Endowment Fund for Excellence
Posted May 7, 2013

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"I give to support the School of Business and am proud UConn has continued to improve every year. It was a great school when I attended and it's amazing the progress that has taken place since I graduated. That progress takes a dedicated staff and financial support."

Maudie Long '86
Donor, School of Business
Posted May 2, 2013

   

Close to Home Co-Chair Jennifer Person '92 talks about the importance of faculty and staff giving, and why she supports the arts.
Posted April 4, 2013

       
   

Close to Home donor M. Kevin Fahey talks about the importance of faculty and staff giving, and why he supports UConn's students
Posted March 20, 2013

       
   

Close to Home Co-Chair Rob Hoskin talks about the importance of faculty and staff giving, and why he supports students, cancer research and the arts.
Posted March 12, 2013

       
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"I graduated from the Waterbury Campus of UConn. I am now a professor at one of Connecticut’s community colleges. I still have contacts at the Waterbury campus and actually taught a biology lab there for a semester. It is a great asset to students who want to stay home for two years before going to Storrs, and it is a stepping stone for success."

Christina Gentile-Renda '92
Donor, Waterbury Campus
Posted February 12, 2013

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"The most rewarding experience I had at UConn was volunteering for the Women's Center. Funds were very tight back then (1990-1991). I hope my small gift can help them accomplish their goals this year."

Catherine Thompson '92
Donor, Women's Center
Posted February 7, 2013

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"I give to support the Campus Sustainability Fund and the M. Kevin Fahey Endowment fund. The reason I chose to donate is because UConn has been a tremendous influence in my life and I have enjoyed my time as a student. My donation, although small, will be used to help two areas that are important to me, which are improving the environmental foot print of the university and supporting my former adviser, M. Kevin Fahey (photo, right), in his goal to help provide financial support to future SUBOG members. I am honored to be able to call myself an alumni of the University of Connecticut and hope to support the experiences of future students."

Taylor Perry '12
Donor, Campus Sustainability Fund and
M. Kevin Fahey Endowment Fund

Member, UConn Alumni Association
Posted February 4, 2013

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"It is important to give back to my school because it laid the foundation for my current success."

Tamara Gravely Griffin DMD '00
Donor, School of Dental Medicine Annual Fund

Posted January 29, 2013

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"I donated to UConn’s Department of Accounting to support the initiatives of our Department Head, Professor Mohammed Hussein and Tax Professors: Amy Dunbar, John Phillips and Michael Redemske. The dedicated professors and faculty gave me the practical technical base to launch my career. The Department has continued their commitment to their Alumni through many outreach programs that truly support our current undergraduate and graduate students and research initiatives. Proud to be an UConn Alumnus. Go Huskies!"

Jeffrey J. Webb '04
Donor, Accounting

Posted January 06, 2013

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"Like so many others, I felt compelled to do something to help the people most affected by the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. It was a horrible event that we have a difficult time wrapping our heads around. Words are hard to come up with to describe feelings and reactions. We instinctively want to do something positive and supportive in an otherwise horrific situation and it was heartwarming to see the outpouring of compassion by so many individuals. Current efforts are addressing the immediate situation and I was moved to look further into the future. Contributing to the UConn Foundation’s Sandy Hook School Scholarship Fund just felt right for me, not only because I am a proud alumna of UConn, but also because the scholarship money will provide a glimmer of hope for the future."

Penny Goetjen '82 MBA '92
Donor, Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund

Member, UConn Alumni Association
Posted January 06, 2013

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"The NCAA introduced heat acclimatization guidelines in 2004. Secondary school athletes comprised the largest population of athletes nationwide yet no such guidelines were specific for them. Eliminating catastrophic heat illness in secondary school athletics has been a personal mission since 2004. I took charge of a sub-committee creating guidelines while serving concurrent terms with the NATA and NFHS. As a member of the KSI Medical Advisory Board, I'm now able to join their mission in promoting state-to-state adoption of the NATA Heat Acclimatization Guidelines. Together, the KSI staff will one day see the elimination of exertional heat stroke in secondary school athletics. Douglas Casa, PhD at UConn was an integral part of the process and the reason for my involvement with KSI."

David Csillan, MS, ATC, LAT
Donor, Korey Stringer Institute

Posted January 06, 2013

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"I give to support the Student Union and the programs that have roots there. While at UConn, I feel that my involvement in activities sponsored by Student Union organizations helped me develop strong and valuable core behaviors that allow me to be successful in my profession of health care. Although my career is not related to student activities, I feel that my value for customer service, organization, integrity and teamwork were all lessons I learned while being a member of the Student Union Board of Governors."

Meredith Cadiz Roche '03 '04
Donor, M. Kevin Fahey Endowment Fund and
M. Kevin Fahey Endowment for Student Activities

Posted January 06, 2013

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"We are retired UConn employees, and when we first moved to Connecticut, we lived in Brookfield Center, which is very close to Newtown. We wanted to do something about this terrible tragedy and we saw Geno Auriemma on TV talking about this scholarship fund. "

Tony and Phyllis DeCristofaro
Donors, Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund

Posted January 06, 2013


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