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University of Hartford’s Department of Psychology to Unveil Tribute to Alumna who Died in Newtown Tragedy

Posted 10/06/2014
Posted by David Isgur

The University of Hartford’s Department of Psychology, with the generous support of the Parents Association, will dedicate a bench and study alcove located in East Hall in celebration of Rachel D’Avino’s life and the positive impact that she had on her community. D'Avino, who graduated from the University of Hartford in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in psychology, was one of six staff members who were killed during the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

The dedication will take place on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 10:30 a.m. in East Hall, on the University of Hartford campus, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford. The event is open to the entire campus community and the general public.

D’Avino was a behavior therapist who was passionate about education and working with students with autism. After receiving her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Hartford, she went on to earn a master's degree and post-graduate degree from the University of St. Joseph and she was completing her final requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. At the time of her death, D'Avino was preparing to enroll in a PhD program at the University of St. Joseph.

In addition to the bench and study space, there will be a dedication of “The Classroom” photo display, which is a group of 12 images created by Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology (GIPP) students who contributed monetary and creative resources to establish a photo display in East Hall’s first floor lobby that would evoke the cherished elements of the classroom: peace, safety, friendship, community, energy, achievement, and growth. This is the spirit they wanted to showcase in their Sandy Hook memorial. Here is a link to view the images)

For more information, contact Mala Matacin, co-chair and associate professor of psychology at the University of Hartford, at 860.768.4541 or