Three highly qualified women, Sarah Ribeiro,
Kathleen Romagnano and Jane von Trapp, have joined the WCSU
Foundation Board promising to bring fresh perspective,
representation and expert advisement throughout their terms.
A non-profit sector of Western Connecticut
State, the Foundation Board accepts donations on behalf of the
university for scholarships, faculty innovations and program
support. The Board has the fiduciary responsibility of investing the
monies prudently and guiding the Office of Institutional Advancement
in their long term goals.
Members of the Board are comprised of Danbury
area community members, the Student Government Association
president, alumni, WCSU parents and former parents, a faculty
representative, a dean, the associate vice president of
Institutional Advancement, the president, and the director of
development. Coming from distinct backgrounds, the three new members
are devoted to being university ambassadors.
Having moved to the area six years ago, Sarah
Ribeiro is a Western “newcomer.” Her resume though, includes
extensive work for public schools, city government and university
administration. Such experience and knowledge will be a great
resource for Western and the Board.
Ribeiro, a Florida native, is a full-time
mother of two. Prior to settling in Connecticut with her husband and
children, she was Deputy Mayor for Schools and Policy for the city
of St. Petersburg, Florida. Before that, she taught at both the high
school and university level. “I was a high school administrator and
teacher before becoming Deputy Mayor,” said Ribeiro.
“I also worked as an adjunct professor at The University of
South Florida teaching graduate level courses in School
Interest and involvement with Western began a
year and a half ago when President Schmotter invited Sarah Ribeiro
and her husband, attorney Agostinho Ribeiro, to a Director Dinner at
the home of Thomas and Lois Crucitti. “The purpose of the dinner was
to inform the guests about many of the unique and significant
programs and advancements happening at Western,” she explained.
“Surprisingly, I came away from the evening feeling like we
have this great gem in our community and wanting to be more a part
Over the past year and a half, Ribeiro attended
different events hosted by the university in an effort to learn more
about its culture. During this time, she remembered repeatedly
stating to herself, “I can’t believe I’m just now realizing how
great this school is.” Her dedicated commitment to learning about
Western, those associated with the school and their goals did not go
overlooked. After several discussions and meetings, Sarah Ribeiro
was voted on to the Board in December 2012.
During her term, Ribeiro wants to help in
showing the community what a vital role Western plays in the culture
of the area, and she wants to continue to help advance university
“I see my key role as a board member as that of
an ambassador,” she said. “I will continually support the school as
it focuses on its mission to serve as an accessible, responsive and
creative intellectual resource for the people and institutions of
Current EVP/Chief Operating Officer and soon to
be President /CEO of the Savings Bank of Danbury, beginning on March
1, Kathleen Romagnano hopes to bring fresh perspective to the
Romagnano is an esteemed executive that first
became interested in the Foundation Board at a city leadership
event. “I attended Leadership Danbury with Jane von Trapp where she
provided me with great background on the university,” she said.
“After helping me better understand the Foundation’s objectives, she
invited me to meet with the university leaders and the Foundation
Also voted as a new member of the Board in
December 2012, Romagnano prepared for the role by reviewing
Foundation materials of past work and current goals. Such knowledge
enabled her to get up to speed quickly and begin contributing from
the start. Romagnano ensured that appropriate preparation before all
meetings and events will be an essential part of her term.
Coming from a financial background, Romagnano
will be an active participant in the various fundraising activities
of the Foundation and university. “I have been impressed with how
the university has worked diligently to improve the services
available to students,” she said. “I want to continue that by
offering the support of an organization [Savings Bank of Danbury]
that understands the key role the university plays within the
Danbury community.” Romagnano hopes to do this by offering
internships when appropriate and ensuring that her employees are
aware of the outstanding offerings and success at Western.
A firm believer that “the university is a
hidden gem,” Romagnano’s enthusiasm and commitment will be a great
asset to the Board and their continued mission of spreading the good
news of Western.
Jane von Trapp, current director of development
in the WCSU Institutional Advancement office, is well seasoned in
all aspects of the Foundation Board’s activities.
Von Trapp’s membership was a result of a bylaw
change made to ensure that the director of development would sit on
the Board as a non-voting member. Also serving as the Foundation’s
campaign director, von Trapp felt it was a prudent move to include
the director of development on the Foundation Board because the
expertise brought to the table by the person in this position can
help guide the Board’s decisions on fund raising, investment and
community partnerships. The Board voted and approved the amendment
in September 2012.
As a member, von Trapp hopes to prove that the
amendment was a worthwhile change for the Board. “It is quite common
in non-profits for the director of development to serve on the
Board,” she said. “I hope to use the opportunity to educate them
about fund raising and their role as solicitors and supporters.”
Jane von Trapp is sure to bring a well-rounded
perspective as a board member because of her work in both the
corporate and non-profit worlds. She was a business owner for 18
years, a writer and editor for publishing companies for six years
and a published author. Additionally, von Trapp has over a dozen
years of fund raising and communications experience in private
schools and WCSU, a public university.
“My multi-faceted background
gives me a 360 degree view,” said von Trapp. “As a
result, I think I bring vision and forward-thinking
and an innate ability to see the big picture.” Her
passion for making a difference for students who
might not otherwise be able to take advantage of
higher educational opportunities is also a great
motivator for serving on the Board.
It is key that Board members
participate in WCSU activities, act as ambassadors for the
University and are supportive of our faculty, programs, mission and
vision. Above all else, they must possess a strong dedication and
passion. Although individually unique, Sarah Ribeiro, Kathy
Romagnano and Jane von Trapp, are sure to be tremendous additions to
the Board and will work collectively toward continued advancement of