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Susan and Robert Payne
Susan and Robert Payne are not Western Connecticut State University alumni. So why did they establish a scholarship here?
Susan, with free time after her retirement, felt that her education had lacked in mathematics. Eager to learn more about one of her favorite subjects, she enrolled
at WCSU as a math major. Struck by how rigorous, challenging and rewarding the classes were, Susan worked diligently, learned new things and made friends with her professors and fellow hardworking students.
Years later when the Paynes searched for local, high- quality and effective charities, they remembered WCSU. After busy, fruitful careers, launching two daughters successfully into the world and settling comfortably in Western Connecticut, the Paynes looked for ways to give back to their community. “We want to help young people graduate without debt,” Robert said. “The way our own daughters were able to do.”
Susan knew first-hand that many WCSU students are the first generation in their families to attend college and must work their way through school to support themselves, and often their families as well. The Paynes designed a way to provide a change in opportunity for focused, committed students.
Established in 2015, the Payne Scholarship was first awarded to an incoming freshman majoring in math or computer science, who demonstrated high potential and financial need. It favors students who have little or no access to financial help other than loans and who need to work to support family or other dependents.
In 2017, thePaynes expanded the scholarship to include all STEM majors, and it is now awarded to two recipients for three years each, starting with students’ sophomore year.
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Jordan Young is recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year
Jordan Young, third-generation president and CEO of Fairfield Processing, has embraced the mantra of “constant change.”
Western Connecticut State University honored him at a March ceremony at the Amber Room.
“The landscape around us is constantly changing and there’s disruption,” Young said. “We’re trying so hard to stay at the forefront of technology. How as a manufacturer do you compete in the Amazon marketplace? How do you respond, react and get in front to capitalize and stay lean throughout that?”
However, Young said, he has also embraced a long-standing company ethos to treat his employees “like family.” He demonstrated this last year when leases expired on a Fairfield factory in Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River. The company wanted to keep the factory operation in the Midwest, but at first had no other restrictions.
“When we analyzed our situation we realized our greatest asset was our people,” Young says. “We needed to really figure it out and align ourselves with that at the core of our decision. So we went from considering a circle on the map of several hundred miles to a circle of five miles. We didn’t want to inconvenience our workers with a commute of any longer than that.”
Although the next transition may be decades away, Young has given thought to family opportunities. “I’m a steward at this point,” Young said. “I’ll make my marks, I’ll make change in the company, hopefully for the better, and just create that opportunity.”
2019 Winter Winetasting Save the Date
Snow Day: February Saturday 23.
More information following.