WCSU announces largest gift in its history

Dr. Erland and Irene Hagman of Ridgefield pledge support

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University today announced a gift by a local businessman and his wife that is the largest in WCSU history.

Erland and Irene Hagman pledged a gift of $1.25 million that will grow to $1.65 million, if the university reaches certain goals, within the next five years.

Part of the pledge will endow full scholarships in the names of the Hagmans’ two daughters, who were both graduates of WCSU, while the majority of the funds will be an unrestricted gift to the university.

“I want to show support to the president and to the future vision of the university. I know they will do great things with our contributions and make this a world class university” Hagman said. “With the scholarships, I want to assist young, striving individuals in perpetuity, to get an education they otherwise would possibly not have been able to afford.  My goal for this pledge is to invest in our future — in the education of our children. I also want to inspire other community leaders to invest in our local university by setting a higher bar for giving to WCSU.”

Western President James W. Schmotter said the Hagmans’ gift demonstrates a belief in the university’s potential. “With the Hagmans’ leadership, we will continue to grow and to invest in our students.” Schmotter said. “This generous act says to our students that they are right to believe in themselves, and that others expect them to do great things with their lives.”

The annual full scholarships will be to a psychology and biochemistry student.  Veronica Hagman was a psychology major who died in her senior year. She was awarded posthumous graduation. Melissa Hagman graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s in biology, which has allowed her to pursue work in the pharmaceutical field.

“I would not describe myself as a wealthy individual, but more as a fortunate immigrant businessman, who not only wants to show my gratitude to President Schmotter and to his staff and to the university for the support during the dark period when my daughter passed some nine years ago, but also to demonstrate our strong belief in education and in the future of this university,” Hagman said. “Both my daughters received excellent educations at Western, and I would like this gift to help other young people to have the same access to the university’s wonderful professors and programs as my children did. I know from my own life experience that education is a critical key component that will allow an individual to rise to their greatest potential.”

Erland Hagman is founder and owner of Ergotech Inc. , a producer of ergonomic factory equipment in Danbury. He earned an M.S.E.E from Lund University in his native Sweden, an MBA from Pace University and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University. He has worked for Asea Brown Boveri and Curtis Instruments before launching his own firm. Dr Erland and Irene Hagman reside in Ridgefield, Conn.

The gift was publicly announced at a celebration at the university, attended by faculty, students, staff and local officials.

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

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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