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New Foundation Board members for fiscal year 2011-2012: Joe Giaquinto '70, Tracy Hoffman Horosky '93, and Erland Hagman, alumni parent

Alumnus shows prowess beyond athletics
For Bridgeport native and retired school administrator Joe Giaquinto, his recent appointment to the WCSU Foundation Board of Directors offers the opportunity to make an overdue contribution to the alma mater where he enjoyed wide-ranging athletic success and earned a bachelor’s degree in English more than four decades ago.

 “I was away too long,” remarked Giaquinto, who graduated from Western in 1970. “My involvement now is a sort of payback.”

Giaquinto’s versatile athletic career at Western capped off a series of earlier accomplishments in sports for the Boys’ Club in Bridgeport, Notre Dame High School and Southern Connecticut State University. At WCSU he lettered in football, basketball and baseball, establishing numerous milestones and records. As baseball captain, he led the team in home runs and maintained a batting average consistently above .300. He also joined Western’s first football team and scored its first touchdown, serving as captain in his senior year and averaging more than 100 yards gained per game.

Following his graduation from Western, Giaquinto went on to earn a master’s degree in secondary education/English and a law degree, as well as teacher certification in English and psychology and a Sixth Year Professional Certificate in education administration.  Beginning as an English teacher at Central High School in Bridgeport, he went on to serve for many years as an administrator and expulsion officer for the Danbury school district.

After retiring in 2008, he renewed his relationship with Western as an executive committee member of the Board of Directors of the WCSU Alumni Association. Other volunteer activities have included service as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bridgeport Boys and Girls Club and as vice president of the Greater Bridgeport Athletic Association. Among his avocations are skiing, scuba diving, gardening and travel.

As he enters this new chapter in his commitment to Western as a WCSU Foundation director, Giaquinto is impressed with the growth in enrollment and diversity in academic disciplines at his alma mater.

 “I really like what’s happening at Western,” he observed. “The university is undergoing tremendous change. This really hit home when I attended commencement this year, and realized that elementary education was the smallest graduating class when it used to be the largest.”

Giaquinto agrees with WCSU President James Schmotter’s commitment that the university must put students first and ensure they receive a quality education at an affordable cost. “As my mother said about students at more pricey schools, ‘they have the same books you do,’” he recalled.

As a member of the Foundation board, he said, “my agenda is to help the school that did so much to provide me with the educational base to continue moving forward.”

Alumna is eager to start giving back
Tracy Hoffman Horosky has many reasons to be grateful for her experience at Western — both professionally and personally.

A 1993 WCSU graduate, Horosky said it was her top-notch, affordable education that landed her a great job right out of college with a Fortune 500 company. “It was the start of a very good career,” she said. She also met her husband Rich, a former Colonials soccer player, at Western, and they have been married for 17 years.

“Western has been such a huge part of success for me,” Horosky said.

As a new member of the WCSU Foundation Board of Directors, Horosky is eager to start giving back to the school that gave her so much. A senior vice president with Dubraski & Associates, an independent insurance brokerage firm in Kent, she said public education should be valued because it provides opportunities for everyone.

“I was honored to accept a position on the board,” said Horosky, who also serves as chairman of the Kent Board of Education. “I’m a huge advocate of public education and am doing what I can to improve it.

“I like the diversity at Western,” she observed. “It’s more ‘real world’ while being supportive and accepting of people. I support an environment where everyone is given an opportunity to succeed on their own merits. I also appreciate what Western brings to the community. Without the university, Danbury would be a very different city.”

Horosky is looking forward to her new role on the board and eager to learn where her background and skills will have the biggest impact in contributing to Western’s future success.

Donor says Danbury area thrives because of WCSU contributions
"Hard work and education are the keys to a successful life," says Western supporter Erland Hagman, "which is why the university is such a vital part of the community." Now Hagman is becoming an even more vital part of the Western community by joining the Board of Directors of the WCSU Foundation.

Hagman, a member of the WCSU President’s Club, recently donated $5,000 to the Veronica Hagman Memorial Scholarship in memory of his daughter, a psychology major at Western who died during her senior year. Recipients of this scholarship must be female and have a minimum 3.5 GPA and at least 70 credits, 40 of which are from WCSU.

Hagman supports Western because of its critical community role, which includes providing opportunities for students long after they have earned their degrees. “WCSU has a good foundation to grow its student size and student caliber,” he said. “And I want to be part of that success story.

“It was an honor to be asked to join the board,” Hagman said. “I have watched all of the positive changes being made at Western. With my strong business and academic background, hopefully I can make a real contribution toward the future.”

Hagman sees the educational system’s biggest challenge as preserving the capacity to provide a quality education in today’s climate of budget cutbacks.

Because both of his daughters attended the university, Hagman knows firsthand about the quality of a Western education. “Our students need a good education to compete in today’s global environment. The WCSU curriculum, new campus and teachers are wonderful and provide a good value for a college investment. I want to support Western and all the good work they do for young minds,” he said.

Hagman is the founder and owner of Ergotech Inc., a producer of ergonomically beneficial equipment in Danbury. He earned an engineering degree from Lund University in his native Sweden, an MBA from Pace University and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University. He worked for other companies, including Asea Brown Boveri and Curtis Instruments, before launching his own firm.

Hagman explained his view that Western’s contributions extend far beyond education by sharing students’ talents and passions with the community.

“One of the things I enjoy most about Western is the music and theater performances throughout the year,” Hagman said. “The talented music and arts students provide a broad and excellent family entertainment. Every year I try to attend as many performances as I can.”

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