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University of Hartford Alumni Association Elects New Officers, Members


Posted 06/25/2014
Posted by David Isgur

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The University of Hartford’s Alumni Association Board of Directors has elected officers and new members, including individuals from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.  In electing a slate presented by the board’s governance committee culled from an unprecedented number of nominees, the Alumni Association is adding seven first-time members to the board, representing a range of careers and university experiences. 

The mission of the University of Hartford Alumni Association is to promote lifelong relationships between current and future alumni and the University of Hartford; to support and sustain the objectives of the University; and to serve as an advocate for the University and its alumni. 

Bernard L. Kavaler (’79, M ’88) of West Hartford has been elected president of the Alumni Board of Directors.  Kavaler is founding principal of Express Strategies, a strategic communications and public policy consulting business, and compiles the news website Connecticut by the Numbers.  He has three decades of senior level executive experience in communications strategy, policy development and program management with state government organizations focusing on finance, law, business, civic involvement and higher education, in addition to prior experience in journalism.

John M. Jaramillo (M ’09) of Plainville was elected as treasurer of the Alumni Board.  Jaramillo is principal budget specialist at the Office of Policy and Management for the State of Connecticut, the state’s budget office.

Mary Murphy (’04) of Madison, N.J. was elected as chair of the governance committee of the Alumni Association.  Murphy is a news producer at MSNBC.

Kavaler, Jaramillo and Murphy will be members of the executive committee, joining Celia Duke Lofink of Granby, who serves as vice president of the Alumni Association.

The slate of newly elected board members also includes:

  • Karen Botcheller (’03) of Somerville, Mass. was elected as dean’s liaison for the College of Arts and Sciences.  Botcheller is a high school counselor in Hudson, Mass. 
  • Sharae O. Lewis-Hunter (’13) of Brooklyn, N.Y. has been elected as a member-at-large.  Lewis-Hunter is a member of the New York Corps for Teach for America.
  • Elite Rubin (’98) of Riverdale, N.Y. was elected as director of regional activities.  Rubin is director of marketing for UHY LLP in New York City.
  • Kerrie Lane Sullivan (’93) of Glastonbury has been elected as a member-at-large.  Sullivan is a portfolio manager at BNY Mellon Wealth Management in West Hartford.
  • Kaitlin M. Walsh (’02, M ’04) of Windsor has been elected as member-at-large.  Walsh is assistant director of instructional design at Charter Oak State College in New Britain.

The University of Hartford’s Alumni Association is an outstanding organization made up of dynamic undergraduate, graduate and doctoral alumni.  Activities and events include the annual “Hawktober” weekend, slated for October 17-19, as well as reunions, regional events, community outreach, career development and enhancement workshops, cultural events, and recreational activities.  The association also provides an array of benefits to members, and has chapters in various cities around the country.

Terms on the Alumni Board run for three years, and members may serve two consecutive terms.  Continuing as members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors are Carolyn Reibling Bligh of Simsbury, Steven H. Bontempi of Atlanta, Ga., Christopher P. Carr of Jersey City, N.J., Robert J. Carr of East Hartford, Elsa Chin of New York City, Matthew C. Cooke of Windsor, John M. Demma of Enfield, Bobbi McNeil of Simsbury, William N. Rodriquez of Wethersfield, Paul Sittard of Marlborough, Mass., Adam Stanisic of New York City, Ariana Tarpinian of Vernon, and Naomi Tussin of Avon.  Immediate past president Da’Rel J. Eastling of West Simsbury continues as a member of the executive committee.