Several local celebrations of art, innovation and music on June 1 in Danbury

DANBURY, Conn. — The first weekend in June will provide a wide variety of arts, music, food, entertainment, innovation and hands-on opportunities in Danbury. The Fourth annual Art at Ives, Juried Fine Art & Crafts Show will be from 1 to 7:30 p.m. with a concert by flutist Sherry Winston at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2019, at Ives Concert Park on Danbury’s west side. Saturday also will feature CityCenterDanbury’s Street Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. downtown on Main Street, and the Customer Appreciation Fair from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Housatonic Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 51 Austin St. in Danbury.

Habitat’s event is to thank the public for its support of the organization’s 10-year growth. Among the featured activities will be a storewide sale, kids’ crafts, live music, STEM for students activities by Microsoft offering classes all day in Coding with Minecraft, Digital Art with Windows 10 and skills testing in the Xbox Game Zone with six stations. For the littlest shopper, there will be kid crafts offered by Macaroni Kid and custom-painting and antiquing classes for adults.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary of serving the community, CityCenterDanbury’s StreetFestival, presents “A Celebration of Arts & Innovation” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street. Enjoy art, music, games, food and beverages along with fascinating technology and live performances. The festival offers free admission, rain or shine. Main Street will be closed to motor vehicles during the festival.

Newtown Savings Bank presents the Juried Fine Art & Crafts Show at Ives Concert Park on the Western Connecticut State University Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The two-day event on June 1 and 2 will feature high-quality original works from more than 50 artists in a diverse scope of art forms representing every major category. Among the items represented will be one-of-a-kind paintings, mixed media masterpieces, jewelry and wood furnishings. The event will take place rain or shine with gates open from 1 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. A one-day ticket to attend the art show for either day is $5.

On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., The Sherry Winston Band will perform. A ticket to attend the Saturday night concert is $15, and provides entry to the Art at Ives show on Saturday only. Winston, a jazz flutist, has performed alongside many music superstars including Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Vanessa Williams, Sinbad, Patti Austin, Richard Elliott, Ramsey Lewis, Chaka Kahn, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, and Grover Washington Jr.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday will be “Brush and Brunch” at Ives Concert Park. This creative handcraft will involve making 2D decorative relief shapes called “Repousse.” Participate in this activity, enjoy brunch and then shop the artist booths at Art at Ives. Sponsored by The Art Spot, tickets for Sunday admission to the art show plus “Brush and Brunch” are $36.

Children under 16 are admitted free to the art show. Get tickets for the various days and events at www.eventbrite.com/e/art-at-ives-juried-fine-art-crafts-show-featuring-sherry-winston-band-tickets-57738731099.

Ives has partnered with the WCSU Art Department, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Brookfield Craft Center to present this event.

For Art at Ives tickets and information, visit www.ivesconcertpark.com. For Danbury Street Festival information, go to www.citycenterdanbury.com. To learn more about the Customer Appreciation Fair, visit www.facebook.com/pg/DanburyRestore/events.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 




WCSU’s 121st Commencement will be ‘family affair’ for Wilton mother and son

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will hold its 121st Commencement exercises at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2019,  at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.

Among the approximately 1,250 degree recipients will be Carole and Chauncey Allers, a mother and son from Wilton. Cheering them on as they receive their bachelor’s degrees will be a sizable entourage that includes Carole’s mother and sister, her husband Andrew, daughter Emily and son Harrison. Also in the Allers’ cheering section will be several of Carole’s closest friends.

As Carole says, Commencement will be “a family affair” for the Allers. It has been that way since she and Chauncey enrolled at WCSU. Harrison is following in the family footsteps as a WCSU student-athlete. He is a sophomore who plays soccer and is studying Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences.

image of Chauncey Allers

Chauncey Allers

Chauncey, 23, was recruited by WCSU’s soccer program to help turn the team around. Up until that point, college hadn’t been high on his priority list.

“When WCSU Soccer Coach Joseph Mingachos contacted me, I realized the true potential I had in the classroom, too,” he said.

An elective class in criminology set Chauncey on a course to pursue of Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration.

Along the way, he was captain of both the Men’s Soccer (2017-19) and Men’s Tennis (2018-19) teams and accumulated an impressive number of athletic awards. Those awards included 2016-18 Little East Conference All-Conference First Team (Men’s Soccer), 2017-18 LEC Offensive Player of the Year (Men’s Soccer) and 2018 LEC All-Conference Doubles First Team (Men’s Tennis). He also is the WCSU record holder for goals in a season (24), goals in a career (59), points in a season (57), points in a career (131) and tied the school record for most goals in a single game (4) for soccer.

image of Carole Allers

Carole Allers

Carole, who took a number of community college classes for several years, said the harsh realities of life ultimately brought her to pursue a bachelor’s degree at WCSU.

“After my husband had cancer, I realized that I needed to prepare for having my own career,” she said. “At the same time, Chauncey was enrolled at WCSU and I began talking to him about his experiences — and making sure that he would be OK going to the same school as his mom. I had met Psychology Department Chair Dr. Shane Murphy, and his background, along with my original plan to study sports psychology, was another big factor in choosing the school.”

Carole’s interest in sports psychology stems from her role with U.S. Soccer, where she “officiated games up to NCAA level and was actively involved in identifying, training, assessing and mentoring young referees — especially females. I thought that a degree in sports psychology would help me with the tools to better help young referees reach their potential. As I took more classes across the department, I was drawn to psychology itself, particularly as it relates to the local community base.”

It took Carole 2 1/2 years to complete her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Community Health, and she is currently finishing a semester at WCSU as a non-matriculated graduate student.

Juggling being a wife, mother and college student would leave many feeling overwhelmed, but that was not the case for Carole. She joined the WCSU Women’s Tennis team and found herself defeating opponents half her age on the court. She is graduating Cum Laude with 3.66 GPA, was initiated in 2018 into the Chi Alpha Sigma Connecticut Eta Chapter, was captain of the Women’s Tennis team (2017-19) and was named 2018 Colonial of the Year. She also was on the LEC Fall All-Academic Team, LEC All-Conference First Team (Doubles) and LEC All-Conference Second Team (Singles) from 2016-18.

When asked about attending WCSU with his mom, Chauncey said, “Sadly, we have never had any classes together. Every now and then, we would meet for a bite in the Westside campus cafeteria and chat. Whenever I would see her walking on campus or vice versa, we would make it publicly known she was my mother and people around us would laugh.”

Why the laughter?

“It has happened several times where people think I’m my sons’ (Chauncey and Harrison’s) sister instead of their mother,” 47-year-old Carole explained.

Next fall, Carole and Chauncey finally will have the opportunity to take classes together, since both have been accepted into WCSU’s new Master of Science in Addiction Studies program. They plan to continue their athletic endeavors as well — Chauncey on the WCSU Football and Men’s Tennis teams, and Carole on the Women’s Tennis team.

“With the program being brand new, we will definitely be in classes together — most likely all of them,” Carole said.

And while mother and son are extremely competitive in their respective sports, Carole said she doesn’t anticipate that in the classroom. “As for being competitive, I want both of us to do our very best and succeed in the program. That will push us to try and raise the bar for each other as well.

“The thing we have talked about the most is helping each other during our sports seasons,” she added. “Time management becomes the number one strategy during our school and team demands. Having someone helping you be more efficient during those times is important.”

As has been the case throughout the course of their time at WCSU, Carole said, “I have tried to make all of my sons’ games and they try to make mine as well. As a family, we have always cheered each other on.”

At WCSU’s May 19 Commencement ceremony, the “family affair” will continue.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 



WCSU Master of Fine Arts recipients to exhibit at New York gallery

Blue Mountain Gallery to host opening reception June 20 for eight featured artists

DANBURY, CONN. — Eight Western Connecticut State University recipients of the Master of Fine Arts degree in 2019 will present their works in the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition running from Tuesday, June 18, through Saturday, July 6, 2019, at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York.

The exhibition is supported by the Jason and Ellen Hancock Student Endowment Fund, managed by the WCSU Foundation. An opening reception for the artists will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, at the gallery, located on the fourth floor at 530 W. 25th St. in Manhattan. Admission will be free to the reception and the exhibition, and the public is invited. The gallery will be open for viewing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Department of Art organizes the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition each spring as a capstone experience demonstrating the personal artistic direction and mastery of candidates for the M.F.A. in Visual Arts, expressed in the works they present for viewing. The following M.F.A. graduates will show their works in this year’s exhibition:

  • Dee Rose Barba, of New Haven. Barba, who was born in California and grew up in Stamford, earned B.A. degrees in Interior Design and Studio Art from the University of New Haven. Her two- and three-dimensional works incorporate a variety of mediums including oil on canvas and wood, pen on paper, and clay. A keen awareness of her surrounding environment inspires works that feature figurative expressionism, non-representational forms and exaggerated landscapes. Barba has shown her works in the City-Wide Open Studios festival of Artspace in New Haven and at Art Helix Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Brett Colon, of New Windsor, New York. A native of northeastern Connecticut, Colon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration/Animation as well as a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut. Working primarily in watercolor paint and dip pen ink, she explores the boundaries of expression and precision to depict the ambiance of the scene as well as the appearance of the subject. Her thesis work incorporates pages for an illustrated cookbook inspired by her grandmother’s recipes. Colon has exhibited at venues in Dutchess County, New York, and across Connecticut, including her artwork for the 2018 Women Composers Festival in Hartford.
  • Brian Ferreira, of Bethel. Recipient of a B.A. in Illustration at WCSU, Ferreira is a U.S. Army veteran with a wife who remains on active military duty. Employing his artistic skills during his deployment to create murals, logos and platoon shirts, he returned to WCSU to pursue an M.F.A. with specialization in illustration for children’s books. His focus on stories about children with special needs has been inspired by his son’s diagnosis with autism. “It’s never easy to fit in when it comes to meeting new people, even more so for those with disabilities,” he said. “I want to help younger people learn to see through others’ unique behaviors and truly find the person, passions and motivations inside.”
  • Greg Mursko, of Watertown. Recipient of a B.A. from WCSU and an M.F.A. in Advertising and Graphic Design from Syracuse University, Mursko garnered numerous professional honors over the span of a distinguished three-decade career in marketing and design including three Ozzie and five Gold Ink awards as well as recognition at the International Festival of Fashion Photography at Cannes, France. He currently serves as an adjunct arts instructor at Naugatuck Valley Community College. His thesis work in illustration features two series of mixed media and digital images addressing the themes “Matrixing: A Study in Stone” and “The Seven Deadly Sins.”
  • Mildred Paulino, of Danbury. Paulino, who earned her B.F.A. from Paier College of Art, has worked recently in oils on gesso board and plexiglass as well as charcoal and graphite on paper. She paints and draws from direct observation, exploring themes of identity and family in portraits that convey powerful stories about personal relationships. She has participated in the City-Wide Open Studios festival in New Haven and in exhibitions at the Silo Gallery in New Milford and Mercurial Gallery in Danbury. She currently serves as an art instructor at Hudson Country Montessori School in Danbury.
  • Dee Dee Perrone, of Ridgefield. Perrone earned a B.S. degree from Wesley College and enjoyed success in a previous career as a graphic designer before taking up painting. Inspired by masters such as Casper David Friedrich and Andrew Wyeth, she paints still-life and figurative works that capture moods and emotions, seeking through brush stroke, texture and color to echo feelings evoked by memory and passing moments. She applies multiple layers of oil paint to convey movement and change over time, leaving a history on the canvas. Her works have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York and the Art and Frame Gallery in Danbury.
  • Rima Rahal, of Danbury. A native of Delmar in upstate New York, Rahal holds dual B.F.A. degrees in Illustration and Graphic Design as well as a master’s in Visual Art Education from Lesley University. Her detailed, dry-layered watercolor paintings offer reflections upon her Lebanese heritage and draw inspiration from her father’s professional trade as a jeweler. Over the past decade, she has exhibited in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts as well as China and Turkey. She has visited 30 countries and has taught visual art in Beijing and Istanbul. Her selections for the thesis exhibition have been inspired by her travels around the world.
  • Andrea Rios, of New Milford. Recipient of B.A. degrees in Painting and Illustration from WCSU, Rios is a professional illustrator who uses various mediums including scratchboard, watercolor, ink and gouache to tell stories that connect diverse peoples and cultures. She specializes in illustration for children’s books and has explored classical and contemporary folk tales from around the world, drawing parallels between the values and beliefs held by foreign cultures with those held by Americans. “I love the power of narratives and how they lead us to empathize and learn and connect with each other,” she said.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.



Western Connecticut State University recognized by Exercise is Medicine for efforts to create culture of wellness on campus

WCSU among 139 campuses honored worldwide

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University is one of only 139 colleges and universities around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. University Health Service (UHS) made physical activity a vital sign by asking students how often they exercise, and the Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences Department (HPX) coordinated with UHS and the Counseling Center to offer exercise counseling. These two initiatives helped WCSU earn gold-level designation from the Exercise is Medicine On Campus (EIM-OC) program.

According to WCSU Professor of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences Dr. Jeffrey Schlicht, EIM-OC has been a part of WCSU since 2016.

“We started as a Bronze-level campus in fall 2016,” he said. “The following year our department worked closely with University Health Service to integrate physical activity as a vital sign into their intake form, earning us our first Gold-level recognition. Adding this physical activity question, ‘Do you do at least 150 minutes of structured cardio (walk, run, swim) per week?’ onto the patient intake form encouraged the staff at UHS to expand their discussion about exercise with patients and this led to the creation of our exercise counseling program.

“This year at our spring Health Fair, two HPX undergraduate students, Isabel Lara Trinidad and Alejandro Velasquez, staffed an EIM-OC table where they talked to students, faculty, staff and community members about the importance of exercise for maintaining good health,” Schlicht added. They created 20 questions about exercise prescription guidelines and the health benefits of exercise, and used those questions to interact with and educate the public.”

Of the 139 campuses recognized this year, 55 received gold, 56 silver and 28 bronze. All gold, silver and bronze colleges and universities will be officially recognized on May 29 as part of the 2019 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting.

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives,” said Robyn Stuhr, vice president of Exercise is Medicine. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.”

For more information, contact Schlicht at schlichtj@wcsu.edu.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 



WCSU hosts Fifth Annual Media Arts Film Festival

image of Media Arts Film Festival posterDANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host its Fifth Annual Media Arts film Festival on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Sponsored by the Broadcast Education Association student club, video projects from students in the Art, Media Production, Communication and Digital and Interactive Media Arts majors will be shown. The event is free and open to the public. There will be free refreshments and a cash bar. Formal attire is encouraged.

The event will begin with a Digital & Media Arts Exhibit from 3 to 5 p.m. in Room 202 of the Student Center on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. A reception will take place from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by the entry screening and awards ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Student Center Theater.

Entries to be screened at the festival fall into the categories of animation, basic video, digital & interactive media, documentary, drama, experimental, spots, and studio and packages. Judges will review the entries in terms of editing, aesthetic appeal and quality of content.

Professor of Communication & Media Arts Dr. JC Barone, Assistant Professor of Communication & Media Arts Paul Echeverria, Assistant Professor of Communication & Media Arts Dr. Jaqueline Guzda, Assistant Professor of Art Sabrina Marques, Adjunct Instructor of Communication & Media Arts Guy Perrotta and Urban Archaeologist Greg Van Antwerp are this year’s judges. The festival also will feature a “People’s Choice Award,” decided by audience members via live interactive judging.

“It’s a great way to end the year and support student creative work,” Barone said. “All are welcome to this red-carpet event.”

The festival is supported in part by the Communication & Media Arts Department, Art Department, the DIMA program and WXCI-91.7 FM.

For more information, contact Barone at baronej@wcsu.edu or Echevarria at echevarriap@wcsu.edu.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.



WCSU alumni to share entrepreneurial experiences in public service

Entrepreneurial Arc forum May 6 highlights innovation & problem-solving in public policy

DANBURY, CONN. — Three Western Connecticut State University alumni who have discovered varied outlets for innovation, creativity and problem-solving in public service will discuss their experiences at an Entrepreneurial Arc panel discussion on Monday, May 6, 2019, at the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

Participants in the Entrepreneurial Arc panel, presented as part of the WCSU series of programs showcasing local entrepreneurs, will include Alex Larsson, 2018 Democratic candidate for the 66th House District and a co-founder of the Connecticut Crossroads Project; John Board, New Britain Conservation Commission member and chairman of New Britain Pride; and Christal Preszler, deputy director of Economic and Community Development for the town of Newtown.

The forum will be at 6 p.m. in Room 218 of the Classroom Building on the Westside campus. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend. Co-sponsors for the event include the Center for Entrepreneurship, Research, Innovation and Creativity (E.R.I.C.@THEGARAGE), the Ancell School of Business and the Macricostas Entrepreneurial Endowment, all at WCSU; the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce; and the Danbury Hackerspace.

Dr. Pauline Assenza, associate professor of Management and coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Arc program, observed that the forum will offer perspectives on the personal experiences and evolving careers of the panelists in the public arena and explore what each hopes to accomplish in public service going forward. Assenza noted that public sector work often demands an entrepreneurial mindset attuned to identifying and acting upon opportunities to arrive at innovative solutions for the benefit of citizen stakeholders in society.

“If the goal of the entrepreneur is to look for opportunities to solve problems for those who are in need, and if innovative solutions are necessary, why not apply this energy to public service and become an advocate for your constituents?” she remarked. She added that each of the featured panelists provides an example of seeking opportunities “to exercise creativity in pursuit of something meaningful and to work actively for change.”

image of Alex Larsson

Alex Larsson

Larsson, who received his B.A. and M.A. in History at WCSU, participates in the management of the nonprofit organization Connecticut Crossroads Project, which seeks to record and archive oral histories of residents in communities across the state. A native of New Milford and Woodbury who now resides in Bantam, he observed, “Connecticut’s Northwest corner has a rich history and culture that can be opened up even more with programs through the historical societies and libraries.” He currently serves as a member of the Litchfield Conservation Commission, alternate member of the Litchfield Parks and Recreation Commission and chair of the Litchfield Democratic Town Committee. He also volunteers in a program to train guide and service dogs.

He competed in 2018 as the Democratic nominee for the 66th District seat in the state House of Representatives, losing to incumbent Republican Rep. David Wilson. Describing himself as a youthful progressive, Larsson campaigned to promote public education, free community college enrollment, accessible health care, affordable housing, economic revitalization and other programs to build up communities and expand opportunities for Connecticut residents.

image of John Board

John Board

Board, recipient of a B.A. in Political Science at WCSU, is a current member of the New Britain Conservation Commission and previously served on the Redding Parks and Recreation Commission. An Eagle Scout who dedicated more than 1,000 hours to community service, he interned in the offices of the Newtown first selectman and the mayor of New Britain and has been active in Connecticut political campaigns since 2012. During 2018, he served as campaign manager for Fifth Congressional District Republican candidate Manny Santos and later joined the campaign of independent gubernatorial candidate Oz Griebel as scheduler and deputy policy director.

As founder and chairman of New Britain Pride since 2017, Board has led the organization in coordinating LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations and promoting an atmosphere of acceptance in the city. He has been a frequent “citizen advocate” in testimony before the Connecticut legislature over the past decade, appearing to speak at hearings on House and Senate bills covering a diversity of issues including health and human services for the LGBTQ+ community, student financial aid and debt, transparency in college tuition decisions, and community college consolidation. He served as a student member of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education and an anchor for the award-winning 2017 WCSU Election Connection broadcast. In his anchor role, he observed, “It is fundamental for the community to know and understand what is happening in their local town halls, how their municipal CEOs respond to residents, and how all levels of government interact.”

image of Christal Preszler

Christal Preszler

Preszler, who earned her M.B.A. from the WCSU Ancell School of Business, began her career in the private sector as associate product manager at Duracell, working in diverse areas including customer service, sales, logistics and business-to-business marketing. She joined the Newtown Economic and Community Development office in 2012 and in January 2017 became its deputy director, where she serves as an advocate for development grants, brownfield recovery, business startups and other measures to build a vibrant and economically strong community. Her office seeks to identify property options for Newtown commercial and retail businesses that are planning expansions as well as for firms that are considering relocation to Newtown. Other tasks include assistance to new businesses to gain fast-track permitting and publicity for events such as Sandy Hook Restaurant Week and the Newtown Arts Festival.

Assenza noted that Preszler has become an effective and innovative business advocate for the town where she also makes her home. “Working with diverse stakeholders, the public, government agencies and private organizations, Christal’s goal is to create a business-friendly environment in Newtown,” she said.

For more information about the panel discussion, contact Assenza at assenzap@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.



‘Sip & Sketch’ evening at WCSU pairs art with wine and refreshments

Guests of all artistic levels invited to participate in May 3 event

image of Sip & SketchDANBURY, CONN. — An entertaining and creative evening that pairs the experience of drawing from a live model with wine and refreshments will be offered in the “Sip and Sketch” series event to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2019, at Western Connecticut State University.

Guests of all artistic skill levels are invited to create original drawings as they enjoy wine and assorted snacks during the “Sip and Sketch” evening in the Drawing Studio, Room 241 of the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The admission fee includes refreshments as well as basic art supplies including charcoal and paper. Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own drawing supplies if they wish.

The ticket fee is $25 for general admission, or $20 for WCSU alumni who may obtain the discount code by email correspondence to robeaul@wcsu.edu or coladarcie@wcsu.edu.

Admission to the event is open to adults 21 years of age and older. Tickets may be purchased online at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com. The “Sip and Sketch” series is sponsored by the Department of Art and the WCSU Alumni Association.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.


Scriven is WCSU’s sixth Fulbright recipient

image of Krysta Scriven

Krysta Scriven

DANBURY, CONN. — Waterbury native Krysta Scriven had never traveled beyond the eastern United States before attending Western Connecticut State University as a freshman in 2015. Currently a senior preparing to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and a minor in Linguistics, Scriven has racked up plenty of frequent flier miles during her four years at WCSU with educational experiences that have included stops in Bulgaria, England, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece and Ireland.

Now, thanks to her receipt of a Fulbright Fellowship to be an English Teaching Assistant, Scriven will return to Bulgaria next September to serve as an English language teaching assistant at a top-rated high school in Vidin, Bulgaria. She is the sixth WCSU student in the past decade to earn a coveted Fulbright award.

Scriven, a graduate of Waterbury’s Kennedy High School, initially enrolled at WCSU as a science major, but soon switched her focus to writing and later, linguistics.

“I started with what I thought would make money and be practical,” she said. “I switched to what I like and enjoy.”

While at WCSU, Scriven participated in the university’s Kathwari Honors Program; had an internship in the WCSU Office of Publications and Design; and served as a Teaching Assistant, a Student Ambassador in the Admissions Office and is an RA in a residence hall. She’s also a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success and has won the Ronald K. Goodrich Award for Outstanding History Based Research Essay and the Peter Lyons Award for University Service.

As a professional writing major, she worked as a tutor in the university’s Writing Center in the Ruth A. Haas Library. It was there during her freshman year that she first saw a poster for a travel opportunity with Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Dr. Jeannie Hatcherson to volunteer over the summer to work at an orphanage in Bulgaria. Scriven said she saw the poster around the same time she was formally changing her major.

“I was in the midst of thinking about changing my major, and I was a little lost at the time,” Scriven said. “The trip cemented my career choice — working with children. It also led to the discovery that I’m really into linguistics. I taught myself Bulgarian so that I could better communicate with the children there and help them more.”

Hatcherson said, “I met Krysta as a 19-year-old freshman when she volunteered for the summer service learning trip to Bulgaria that I had organized through Corawill. Everything about international travel was new to her, so she booked a flight with Emilia, a well-traveled graduating senior of Polish descent, and the two shared a room throughout the trip.

“Since that first experience, I have watched Krysta blossom into an accomplished academic in the Honors Program; a peer leader and teacher, sharing her knowledge, guiding and creating overseas opportunities for other students; and an empathetic, compassionate volunteer caring for people and animals by volunteering in Bulgaria and Greece. That first trip ignited Krysta’s love for travel and languages. The next semester she studied abroad as part of the International Student Exchange Program in England, using her free time to explore Europe.”

Scriven also engaged in a sea turtle conservation experience in Greece, shepherding hatchlings into the sea.

Professor of Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process Dr. Patrick Ryan was one of Scriven’s writing instructors and authored one of her Fulbright recommendation letters.

“Last summer, Krysta combined her compassionate impulse to help others with her deep interest in other cultures when she organized a trip for WCSU students to Vratsa, Bulgaria, where they volunteered at an orphanage,” Ryan said. “Krysta engaged a native speaker of Bulgarian to teach her the language, an undertaking rendered more difficult by its use of the Cyrillic alphabet. In addition to studying Bulgarian, she took courses in Arabic, undeterred by current prejudices against Arabic culture. These are examples of what made her an ideal candidate for the Fulbright.”

Scriven’s fourth trip with Hatcherson to Vratsa, Bulgaria, will take place this summer. When fall arrives, she will begin her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Vidin, Bulgaria, about an hour train ride away from the orphanage.

Scriven, of course, has already figured out how to visit the children she has come to love in Vratsa, which comes as no surprise to Hatcherson.

“I was very impressed that after the first year, she revitalized the Humanitarian Travel Club,” Hatcherson said. “After the summer 2017 trip, she worked with the Honors Club to secure funding for 20 students who traveled to Bulgaria in 2018. For the summer 2019 trip, she worked closely with this year’s sponsor, the WCSU Rotaract Club, and will again be an adviser for the group, making this her fourth trip with Corawill to Bulgaria. At the Assen Zlaterov Social Home in Vratsa, Krysta is wonderful with the children. She is their champion, coach and English teacher.”

After her Fulbright year in Vidin, Scriven plans to head to Guatemala as part of another sea turtle conservation effort and to teach local children English. From there, she plans to obtain a Master of Arts in Teaching in order to move to Dubai to teach English there.

“There are so many beautiful and fascinating countries,” Scriven said. “I want to be an English teacher all over the world. I want to be a nomad.”


Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 


‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at WCSU

DANBURY, Conn. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Theatre Arts will present William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” from May 1-4, 2019, in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Preview performances will be at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 (on-campus preview) and Thursday, May 2 (high school night). Public showings will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 3, Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5; with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Written between 1598 and 1599, and formally published in 1600, the comedy pits bachelor Lord Benedick against the governor of Messina’s niece, Beatrice, in a “merry war” amidst romance, gossip and farce. Finding marriage repugnant, the aloof Benedick secretly longs for Beatrice’s affection. While his friends plan to set the two up, the villainous Don John seeks revenge for past ills by ruining the wedding of the governor’s daughter Hero and Benedick’s companion Claudio.

“In my mind, there has never been a satisfactory conclusion to the story of Hero and Claudio,” Director and Sound Designer Anthony Cochrane  said. “In our current cultural moment, I set about putting that right. This story could happen now. How would this play out in our present environment?

“My vision for this production was simplicity,” Cochrane continued. “As an artist I find the best creativity comes from necessity and structured storytelling. I am a firm believer in all things magical; allowing actors to create a world, through the characters and the drama, but also creating environments by themselves.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” was first performed in 1612 by Shakespeare’s main patron, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men theatre company. Notable adaptions include the 1959 and 1972 Broadway performances, the 1993 film adaption starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, and a 2007 performance starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave at the Old Vic theatre in London.

The cast includes Sam Rogers, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as Benedick; Sam Everett, of Kent, as Don John; Caleigh Lozito, of Bristol, as Beatrice; Zachary Adam Brown, of Jewett City, as Claudio; Dante Cyr, of Waterbury, as Leonato; Emma Giorgio, of Ridgefield, as Hero; John Mudgett, of Danbury, as Pedro; Isiah Bostic, of Hamden, as Antonio; Patrick Ramsay, of Sandy Hook, as Boraccio; Ryan Henry, of Cortlandt Manor, New York, as Verges; Jared Hirsch, of Monroe, as Conrade; Kat Karl, of Bethel, as Ursula; Emily Lopez, of Stratford, as Friar Francis; and Alex Niatopsky, of Wolcott, as Dogberry.

The crew includes Sound Designer/Composer Anthony Cochrane, Set Designer Joshua Rose, Costume Designer Nancy Palmatier, Lighting Designer Scott Cally and Technical Director/Production Manager Thomas Swetz.

For tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/much-ado-about-nothing-tickets-53196154129



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 



WestConn Society Breakfast to honor Farooq Kathwari

image of Farooq Kathwari

Farooq Kathwari

DANBURY, Conn. — Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc., will be honored at the WestConn Society Breakfast for Student Success on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

The event to recognize Kathwari, a longtime supporter of Western Connecticut State University, will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

“We are celebrating Farooq Kathwari not only for his work as a longtime benefactor of WCSU, but also because of his leadership in the community, the state and the nation,” said Ron Pugliese, chairman of the WCSU Foundation, which sponsors the breakfast. “We are honored to be able to say ‘thank you’ in this way.”

Kathwari has been president of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. since 1985, and chairman and CEO since 1988.

Kathwari also serves in numerous capacities at several nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the board of overseers of the International Rescue Committee, a member of the advisory board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, chairman emeritus of Refugees International, an advisory member of the New York Stock Exchange, former chairman of the National Retail Federation, director emeritus and former chairman and president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, co-chairman of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, and a member of the International Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace. He also serves on the boards of the Western Connecticut State University Foundation, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale and ArtsWestchester.

He is the founder of the Kashmir Study Group and he served as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2010 to 2014. Recently, Kathwari was tapped to join the congressionally mandated United States Institute of Peace bipartisan Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States co-chaired by former Gov. Tom Kean and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, who both had led the 9/11 Commission. Among his recognitions, Kathwari is a recipient of the 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has been inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. He has been recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice by the U.S. government.

Kathwari has received the Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute Lifetime of Leadership Award, the New American Dream Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants Legacy Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee, the National Retail Federation Gold Medal, the International First Freedom Award from the Council for America’s First Freedom, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian Award, City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry Spirit of Life Award, and the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the National Association of Asian MBAs. He has also been recognized by Worth magazine as one of the 50 Best CEOs in the United States.

Kathwari holds BAs in English Literature and Political Science from Kashmir University, Srinagar, and an MBA in International Marketing from New York University. He is also the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees.

Proceeds from the WestConn Society Breakfast will benefit the students of Western Connecticut State University through the WCSU Foundation.

For information on sponsorships and individual tickets, go to wcsu.edu/giving/events or call
(203) 837-8479 by Monday, April 29.

For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.