Newtown leaders to address WCSU undergraduate commencement

DANBURY, CONN. — Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra, whose community service spans more than 40 years, and Superintendent Dr. Janet Robinson, will deliver the keynote address at Western Connecticut State University’s undergraduate commencement on Sunday, May 12, 2013.

Llodra and Robinson will address 2013 recipients of WCSU associate and bachelor’s degrees and their invited guests during the commencement ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Westside Athletic Complex on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

As leaders in the community, both Llodra and Robinson faced unprecedented challenges after 26 people, many of them children, were gunned down in a December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Taking charge of their grieving town, the women consoled residents, listened to victims’ families and reached out to political leaders for help. They took their positions among senators and governors in advocating for political responses to the tragedy.

“First Selectman Llodra and Dr. Robinson demonstrated truly remarkable leadership in the days, weeks and months after December 14, 2012,” said WCSU President James W. Schmotter. “I can think of no better role models of courage, compassion and professionalism for our graduates. By honoring them, we honor the entire Newtown community for the lessons in humanity in the aftermath of tragedy that it has taught us.”

A longtime leader and educator, Llodra has served as the first selectman of Newtown since 2009.
Raised on a farm in Massachusetts, she was the first in her family to graduate from college. Her 30-year career as an educator and leader began with her working as a teacher’s aide at Sandy Hook Elementary School and eventually rising to the position of a high school principal.
A staunch commitment to the community and education led her to serve on the Newtown Board of Education from 1976 to 1982. She also served the town as a member of the Newtown Legislative Council and chairman of the Legislative Councils’ Education Subcommittee.

Robinson has led the Newtown schools since 2008 and was recently honored with the Peace Islands Educator of the Year award and was named the Superintendent of the Year by the University of Connecticut.

Known for her “Students First” mantra, Robinson has also served as superintendent in the towns of Derby, Preston and Newtown, Robinson worked as a teacher in California, Hawaii, Florida and Japan. She also worked as a school psychologist and as president and consultant for Robinson Educational Services. She will join the Stratford School District as superintendent on July 1.

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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