President-to-President scholar Curtis looks forward to new challenge
Waterbury resident earns grant to attend WestConn

DANBURY, CONN. — Setting goals is one thing — reaching them is quite another. And Juanita Curtis does both with grace and ease.

Curtis was chosen as this year’s recipient of the President-to-President Scholarship awarded jointly by Western Connecticut State University and Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury. The annual grant pays full tuition costs for an exemplary associate’s degree graduate at NVCC to complete the final two years of studies and earn a bachelor’s degree at WestConn.

A mother of four, Curtis lives in Waterbury with her husband, The Rev. Ricky Curtis. She earned her associate degree in liberal arts from NVCC, one of many goals. Another recent goal for Curtis was overcoming her struggle with obesity. After tipping the scales at 300 pounds, Curtis is now at a comfortable weight and getting her bachelor’s degree is her primary focus.

Curtis, who maintained a 3.9 GPA at NVCC while raising her four school-age children and working the midnight shift at a local healthcare facility, will be studying communications at WestConn. “I liked everything about WestConn,” said Curtis. “The courses offer flexibility and the professors and advisors I’ve met with have been wonderful.”

Curtis applied for the scholarship last year and said she had a positive vibe from the very beginning of the process. “I knew that WestConn had something for me and I knew I would excel here,” Curtis said. “For so long, I concentrated on my family and marriage and put my dreams on the back burner. Then you hit a certain age and you have to do what’s screaming inside of you.”

Nervous and excited, Curtis is looking to beginning classes in the fall and thinks she’ll just ease into the workload. “It’s like the weight loss, once I set my mind to something, I usually do it,” said Curtis. “And I knew this was meant to be.”


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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