Sisters’ Bond Even Stronger Through UConn and Philanthropy

Grace Merritt
Grace Merritt

2 min read

Sisters Lori and Treacy Riiska may as well be twins.

They have the same mannerisms, the same voice, and they finish each other’s sentences.

They’re both accountants, love golf, and take vacations together.

Warm and outgoing, Lori ’84 (BUS) and Treacy ’89 (BUS) are both loyal Husky fans, active alums, and burgeoning philanthropists.

Naturally, they signed up right away when they heard that the UConn Foundation formed a Women and Philanthropy group to raise scholarships for female students.

“Lori and I had been talking about starting a scholarship but we couldn’t agree on what type,” Treacy explained. “It’s just one of those lightbulb moments when all of a sudden you know exactly how to best help. All of a sudden, with this new initiative with Women and Philanthropy, we had a common goal. It was just so obvious.”

They donated $50,000 to set up a need-based, endowed scholarship for female UConn students through the UConn Women and Philanthropy initiative. They said they want to give other women the same opportunity they had to go to college and pursue their dreams.

“If you can better one person, two people, it’s empowering,” said Lori, who sits on the UConn Foundation’s board of directors. “You can get them in the door so they can become the successful person that they want to be.”

Both sisters have a strong, independent ease about them, qualities they attribute to their mother, Beverly.

“She just always had an independent side to her and passed that trait on to us. She’d tell us ‘be strong, be brave’ and ‘you’re responsible for yourself,’ ” Lori said.

In addition to an independence streak, accounting runs in the family as well. Their dad was a CPA, and so is their brother, Lori’s daughter, and Treacy’s son.

Both sisters have been math whizzes ever since they were kids.

“That side of my brain works better,” Lori explained. “It was an easy choice for me I just knew it was a better fit for me because I was good at it and comfortable with it.”

Lori partnered with her father, Oscar J. Riiska CPA, for many years and took over his Winsted-based firm when he died. She recently expanded the business, adding branches in Granby and Canaan. Treacy lives in Stamford, where she is a tax accountant and is currently developing a program to help people manage their finances.

Lori compares accounting to the mental challenge of solving a puzzle.

“You put together a puzzle every time you sit down at your desk,” Lori said. “Someone brings in their material. You take everything they gave you, use your knowledge, and you put it together. It’s a challenge.”

Lori has been involved alum for years, serving as president of the former Alumni Association and a member of the UConn Athletic Club Board. Treacy has become involved more recently and is excited about getting more involved with UConn’s Stamford branch.

Now in its second year, UConn Women and Philanthropy is focused on recruiting sustaining members who donate $500 each year for five years.

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