WCSU Foundation annually recognizes leaders of the community who
have devoted themselves to improving circumstances for their
This year, the honorees were Robert and Dianne Yamin, who each
have made a difference in their own areas of expertise, and who
together are one of the most respected couples in the region.
More than 100 people attended the WestConn Society Luncheon at
The Matrix Convention Center to honor the Yamins and raise money for
the WCSU Foundation, the private fundraising organization that
supports the university.
When master of ceremonies David Nurnberger introduced the Yamins
to accept the Community Service Award from President James W.
Schmotter, they took turns telling the audience about each other, in
gently humorous terms.
“The other day the local paper referred to Dianne as a
‘high-powered woman,’ Bob Yamin said. “Now those who know Dianne,
who is the most humble and self-effacing person I know, probably had
to stop and think about that description. But high-powered doesn’t
necessarily mean pushy or aggressive. High-powered also means
influential and effective, and in that sense, Dianne is one of the
most influential and effective leaders in our area.”
Dianne Yamin introduced Bob by describing his sense of humor and
the fact that he shops for all of her clothes.
“Those of you that know my husband probably know him for his
Yamin & Yamin pens, but he is much more than that,” Dianne said. “He
has a heart of gold and he is the smartest lawyer I know.”
Both Yamins are third-generation Danburians. Bob graduated from
Western Connecticut State University in 1979 at the top of his
class, Summa Cum Laude, completing double majors (a BA in History
and a BA in Political Science) in two years, with a 4.0 GPA.
He was then accepted at the Harvard Law School, where he earned his
law degree, the first Western alumnus to achieve that distinction.
Bob is the Managing Partner of the Greater Danbury Law Firm of
Yamin & Yamin. Since 2002, he has also served as the city of
Danbury's corporation counsel and chief legal officer.
Dianne Yamin, a graduate of Lehigh University and the Mercer
University School of Law, has been elected six times as Danbury’s
Judge of Probate and is routinely the highest vote-getter in
Dianne is a partner at Yamin & Yamin, served as President Judge
of the Connecticut Probate Assembly, as chair of the Mayor’s Task
Force of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and in 2010 was
elected the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Greater Danbury
Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the advisory board for the
WCSU Institution for Financial Literacy
The Yamin’s described their deep belief in helping and improving
“I credit my parents for involving me in volunteerism from a very
young age,” Dianne Yamin said. “I fondly remember my days at Danbury
Hospital in the 1970s as a Candy Striper. Danbury is a large city,
but with a very strong sense of community. The business community is
incredibly philanthropic with one of the five community banks and
other businesses always donating or sponsoring. The religious
community is strong and individuals galore come out always for
community projects and volunteering.
Bob Yamin expressed his commitment to his alma mater.
“I know you’re being tugged in a million directions these days,
especially being the core givers and doers in our community, but I
believe no cause you support is more important to all of us than the
support of this university at this time,” he said. “And no cause you
can contribute to or volunteer for in our area has a greater
multiplier effect or creates more synergy than this university. It’s
at the core of our culture, or economy and of course our educational
community, and none of those spheres of our collective lives would
be the same without a robust WestConn.”
Mayor Mark Boughton, the keynote speaker at the luncheon,
discussed the rigors of governing in the 21st century.
David Nurnberger, recently retired senior vice president of human
resources at Boehinger Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and chairman of the
WCSU Foundation board of directors, was the master of ceremonies.
The WestConn Society is the earliest established giving arm
of the WCSU Foundation. This group has, for decades, supported
innovative programs, outreach opportunities, and enrichment
initiatives. With their support, members have optimized our
students' collegiate experience and invested in our faculty's
potential to meet ever-evolving demands of teaching to our future.
Members of this club donate annually at the $250 to $499 level.