Center for Housing Equity and Opportunity in Eastern Connecticut launches with inaugural gathering at Conn
Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron and veterans Brandon Boyd ’21; Tom Hobaica, interim director of facilities and utilities; and Mary Vona, senior programmer-analyst; along with faculty, students and staff, gathered at the Gatehouse Flag Pole for a flag-raising ceremony on Nov. 11.
“As a veteran, it’s special to take part in this ceremony,” said Boyd, who served in the U.S. Navy from 2001 to 2006. During his time in the Navy, Boyd was stationed in Georgia and Groton, Connecticut, and specialized in submarine service, satellite communications and cryptology.
“When I got out of the Navy, I went to Three Rivers Community College, and afterward worked in the service industry, including as a general manager of a restaurant in downtown New London. That connection with New London is how I learned about Conn.
“Conn has done so much for me. I’m majoring in digital psychology (self-designed) and would have never been able to pull all of this off without the amazing team of people at Conn.”
Vona served in the U.S. Navy between 1978 and 1983. She went into the Navy as a second class Seaman during a time when the Navy “called us WAVES, Women in the Armed Volunteer Emergency Services.”
“The experiences and disciplines I’ve learned in the Navy are with me today in both the serious—truth and honesty dictate my days—and the silly—my towels are folded and stacked military style,” Vona said.
Connecticut College has a long history of supporting U.S. veterans. “Students in our very first class–the Class of 1919–supported the First World War in numerous ways. And, when Armistice was declared on Nov. 11, 1918, Conn students marched downtown to join the sailors, soldiers, and residents of New London in a citywide parade,” Bergeron said.
“Given our history and our close proximity to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Naval submarine base, the Conn community perhaps has a greater knowledge of—and appreciation for—military service than people on many other college campuses.”
Hobaica, who graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a civil engineering degree and a commission in the Coast Guard, said that he appreciates the partnership between Conn and the Academy. The two institutions recently signed a new Memorandum of Agreement that renews and reinvigorates a nearly 40-year partnership between the two institutions.
“Normally, in a non-pandemic year, we have cadets from the Coast Guard Academy walking the campus and attending classes at Conn,” Hobaica said. “The two institutions have a wonderful relationship where Conn students and students from the Academy can take advantage of the educational opportunities at each college.”
In addition to the ceremony, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Programs will focus their weekly PAUSE event, this Thursday at noon, on commemorating Veterans Day. All are welcome to attend via Zoom.