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CAHNR Celebrates Students, Donors at Annual Scholars Celebration

Hundreds of students and their families joined donors and CAHNR administration to celebrate achievement, generosity, and community

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) recently held an annual Scholars Celebration honoring student scholars, their families, and the donors who have supported their UConn education.

Donor generosity provides financial support allowing students to enrich their educational and experiential opportunities while at UConn and reduces the potential burden for families. In 2023, CAHNR had over $1,000,000 in total scholarship funding to disperse. This allowed for nearly 400 scholarships to 300 deserving students.

The event kicked off with remarks from associate dean of academic programs and Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture, Kristen Govoni, who welcomed hundreds of students, their families, and CAHNR donors.

CAHNR Dean Indrajeet Chaubey expressed gratitude for the generous scholarship gifts that continue to bolster talented student scholars. He also reflected on the opportunities made possible through their gifts.

“Here today are many of CAHNR’s best and brightest students who have committed to working hard, expanding their knowledge, and pushing themselves to excel during their UConn experience. But the journey does not end here. In fact, this is just the beginning, with a bright horizon of achievement still to come,” said Chaubey.

The event also featured remarks from UConn Provost, Anne D’Alleva, who spoke about the caliber of CAHNR students and the supportive infrastructure provided by faculty and staff within the College.

“CAHNR students are some of the most accomplished amongst their peers, especially in areas of new scholarship and research. The education provided within CAHNR’s departments connects people, health, food, the environment, and agriculture in economically viable and sustainable ways. This celebration is a testament to the success of our students,” D’Alleva said.

CAHNR donor Tom Spignesi shared the donor perspective on the importance of philanthropy for students. Spignesi, along with family and friends, established a memorial scholarship to honor his brother, James V. Spignesi, an alumnus and conservation law officer who lost his life in the line of duty. This endowed scholarship supports students who wish to dedicate their careers to protecting the environment.

Gabriela Fonseca-Cordero ’24, an undergraduate student majoring in natural resources and environment who is the recipient of a Spignesi scholarship, closed the event by describing her experience and gratitude for the support that allowed her to explore her interest: fisheries and wildlife conservation.

“College tuition is expensive, especially for an out-of-state student like myself. [Paying for college] would have been a financial tightrope without the assistance of scholarships. As I stand on the precipice of graduation, I’m gearing up for a career in wildlife that promises adventure, gear upgrades, and seasonal gigs galore. Thank you, Mr. Spignesi and family, this award will help me go far by allowing me to continue educating myself and taking advantage of opportunities I otherwise would not be able to due to financial reasons.”

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