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Board of Directors

Kate Farrow Stoddard HCW AA'72
has been a development professional since 1981, with 30 years of advancement experience in higher education. Kate holds an Associate's Degree from Hartford College for Women, her Bachelor's Degree from University of Connecticut and a Master's Degree from Saint Joseph College.


Nancy Gately Dean retired in 2005 from the Trust Company of Connecticut, which she co-founded and served as President, CEO and Director. She earned a B.S. in accounting from Boston College.

Caryn Christensen is currently the Interim Dean of Undergraduate Learning at the University of Hartford as well as an associate professor of psychology. She earned her PhD at Ohio University, her MA at Ohio University and her BA  St. Lawrence University.

Tokunbo Akinbajo
is currently assistant council for Pratt & Whitney and previously was a senior attorney for Sikorsky Aircraft. He earned both a J.D. and M.S. at Boston University. He also holds a B.A. from SUNY Albany.

Deb Javit HCW AA'83 is currently the Owner and Manager of DDS Development, LLC, a real estate development firm she founded in 2007. Deb earned an A.A. from Hartford College for Women, and a Bachelors Degree from Simmons College.

Valerie Fleming Lewis HCW AA'62, HON'08, retired after serving more than eight years as the Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Connecticut. She earned her Ph.D. in Education at the University of Connecticut and completed her Bachelor's Degree in English at Mount Holyoke College. Ms. Lewis is also an alumna of Hartford College for Women.

Bobbi McNeil '94 was the Director of Radiology at Hartford Hospital, where she held several positions before retiring after 16 years. She is an alumna of the College of Education, Nursing, and Health Professions (ENHP) at the University of Hartford and the Hartford Hospital School of Radiography.

Karen Gibbs Orefice HCW ’65 is presently Vice President of J A Orefice & Co. and works with her husband and son designing custom homes. She is a founding and current member on the executive board for Pepperdine University Center for the Arts. She received her BA from SCSU. Ms. Orefice is also an alumna of Hartford College for Women.

Bill Webster is Vice President and Branch Manager for Webster Bank of West Hartford, CT. His expertise in customer service and employee relations was noted in The New York Times. Bill attended the New England School of Finance and Johnson and Wales College.

Founding Board Chair
Lucille M. Nickerson
, is President of Nickerson-Zegarelli Consultants, LLC, and specializes in strategic planning, leadership, governance, and board-related issues for non-profits and small businesses. Lucille's education credentials include a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, a Master's Degree from the University of Connecticut, and a Bachelor's Degree from Connecticut College. She is currently Chair of the University Board of Regents and was a Trustee of Hartford College for Women.