The moment he heard UConn President Thomas Katsouleas announce a new plan to give lower-income Connecticut students free tuition to UConn, Christopher Lafond ’87 (CLAS) knew he had to act.
He immediately pledged $250,000 to support the Connecticut Commitment, a new financial aid incentive that allows in-state students from families with income of $50,000 or less to go to UConn tuition free.
“I was lucky enough to have parents who believed in the value of higher education and were able to support all of their children in pursuing college degrees,” he explained. “As the cost of a college education has increased over the years, I became passionate about finding ways to help others have the opportunities I had.”
“There are a few things that I believe are foundational to ensure people can achieve their dreams, and education at all levels is one of them,” he said.
Lafond, a passionate UConn donor who lives in Niantic, Conn., has held executive leadership positions at several companies. He is currently CEO of Insurity, a Hartford-based insurance technology and services provider. Lafond, who majored in economics as an undergraduate, earmarked the gift for School of Business students attending UConn’s Stamford campus.
“I hope that this gift will allow students who otherwise would not be able to attend a school like UConn to have their own college growth experience at a great institution,” he said. “With the current environment in the U.S., where we seem to have lost the ability for people of different opinions and levels of wealth to engage effectively with each other, I hope this provides people with a new optimistic perspective to see that we live in a country that still provides great opportunities for everyone.”
The Connecticut Commitment program will be available to all accepted Connecticut freshmen and transfer students starting this fall. School of Business Interim Dean David Souder said Lafond’s gift will have an immediate impact.
“This incredibly generous gift will open doors for many talented, deserving students regardless of their means. We are most grateful for Chris Lafond’s vision and philanthropy,” Souder said.
Lafond urged alums and donors to join him and consider giving to the Connecticut Commitment program to help the next generation of UConn students.
“Scholarships come in all sizes,” Lafond said. “Even a thousand dollars can be the difference between a student attending UConn or not going to college at all. Our collective future depends on how we help the current generation establish a foundation from which to do great things.”