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WCSU to celebrate retiring president during gala event

An event celebrating the accomplishments of outgoing Western Connecticut State University President Dr James Schmotter is being held tonight.  Proceeds from the event will establish the James W Schmotter Student Assistance Fund.  University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says Schmotter is being recognized for his leadership and lifelong commitment to excellence in education. 


Schmotter, who led Western for little more than a decade, announced in November that he would be retiring as of July 1st. 


At that time he said that it's been an honor and a joy to work with everyone in the University community over the past decade.  He touted the accomplishments and enthusiasm of the staff and students.  He also thanked external stakeholders for their support.


Under his leadership, the new Visual and Performing Arts Center was built on the west side campus.  Other improvement projects were also seen to completion during his tenure.  Steinmetz says the overall tone of the campus, and administration, is probably his greatest accomplishment.  Schmotter connected Western to the surrounding community.  He often went out and talked about what Western does.  Steinmetz says Schmotter has really changed the way people in the community viewed Western in that it's a good option for any student. 


The speakers at tonight's event will include the chairman of the Board of Regents and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and former Governor Jodi Rell will be in attendance.


Schmotter joined Western from Western Michigan University, where he was dean of Haworth College of Business and professor of management. His teaching career started at Northwestern University and he first became an administrator at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He also served at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management and was dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University.

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