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12 Outstanding State University Students Honored

Twelve outstanding students from the Connecticut State Universities were honored by the Connecticut State University System Foundation for academic excellence and community service.

Twelve outstanding college students from the four Connecticut State Universities were honored by the Connecticut State University System Foundation for academic excellence and community service at the 25th annual Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Awards. The 12 students — from Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities — received $750 and were honored at a banquet held on April 23 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville.

To be considered for a Barnard Award, a student must have at least a 3.75 GPA, a record of significant community service, and be nominated by their respective universities and presidents. The CSUS Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports education and research within the four state universities. CSUS Foundation President Robert J. Bourne described the students as “exceptional people” who were making a difference not only at their universities, but in their communities.

The event’s keynote speaker was Connecticut Supreme Court Justice and Central alumnus Carmen Espinosa. Espinosa spoke fondly of her time as an undergraduate student at Central Connecticut State University, calling her education there the “linchpin” to her success. To the students, Espinosa said they would likely face many detours and obstacles throughout their lives, but that they should rely on the help and guidance of the people who support them most. “To be sure, we have high expectations for you,” Espinosa said, “but likely no higher than the ones you have for yourself.”

Richard Balducci, a member of the CSUS Foundation, and a member of the Board of Regents, served as master of ceremonies for the evening. “As you know, we are here to recognize the accomplishments of 12 outstanding students from Central, Eastern Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities,” said Balducci. “By doing so, we are continuing a tradition that began 25 years ago, when the CSUS Foundation asked the universities and their faculty to nominate those students who best exemplify the ideals of scholarship, hard work and compassion for others. They demonstrate quite clearly that our universities are doing an outstanding job of educating and preparing the leaders and workers of tomorrow.”

The award is named for Henry Barnard, Connecticut’s first superintendent of schools and principal of what later became Central Connecticut State University. Barnard was also the first U.S. Commissioner of Education.

Central Connecticut State University

  • Ashley Marie Brandt, Watertown
    Majors: English/Geography; Elementary Education
  • Ryan Michael Baldassario, Niantic
    Major: Political Science
    Minor: History
  • Michelle Kayser, West Hartford
    Majors: Biomolecular Science and Music
  • Amy Sonstroem, Burlington
    Major: Management; HR Concentration

Eastern Connecticut State University

  • Laura Kathryn Hilton, West Haven
    Major: Biology
    Minor: Anthropology
  • Suzanne Slater, Brooklyn
    Major: Early Childhood Education and Psychology

Southern Connecticut State University

  • Nicole Cassidy, Milford
    Majors: Elementary/Special Education and Spanish
  • Cody Michael McClave, Colebrook
    Major: Mathematics
  • Angela Lynn Read, Wallingford
    Major: Nursing
  • Anna M. Walters, New Haven
    Major: Social Work
    Minor: Psychology

Western Connecticut State University

  • Thomas Edward Monckton, Danbury
    Major: Financial Accounting
  • Gregory Mark Chamberlin, New Milford
    Major: Biology
    Minor: Math

For more information, please contact:
Leigh Appleby