Gengras Gift to Fund Center for Integrative EducationThe University of Saint Joseph received a $3 million gift from Trustee E. Clayton (Skip) Gengras, Jr. The donation, one of the largest in the institution’s 80-year history, is the leadership gift for expansion and enhancement of the Gengras Center and Institute for Autism and Behavioral Studies. (Read the story in the Hartford Courant September 24, 2012 issue.)
The donation will be used to help construct the Center for Integrative Education, a new 18,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art building which will enhance the University’s current services for children with special needs, with a special emphasis on individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
“With his exceptionally generous gift, Skip Gengras is once again playing an invaluable leadership role for the University of Saint Joseph,” said President Pamela Trotman Reid, Ph.D. “As a longtime member of the University of Saint Joseph Board of Trustees, chairman of our new fundraising campaign, and ongoing supporter of the institution’s future, we will be forever grateful for Skip’s’ counsel, vision and dedication. His commitment continues to benefit all of us associated with the University of Saint Joseph.”
“As a member of the University of Saint Joseph community, I am very excited to be associated with an educational institution that is on the move and so vital to our region,” said Gengras, CEO of Gengras Motor Cars, Inc. “Saint Joseph’s recent transition to university status, its new School of Pharmacy in downtown Hartford, and its continuing commitment to special needs children – started with the support of my family more than 50 years ago with a donation from my father E. Clayton Gengras, Sr., and uncle Reverend J. Calvin Gengras that established the Gengras Center for Exceptional Children – are just some of the reasons why I’m dedicated to this institution.”
The latest Gengras gift is part of a comprehensive fundraising campaign by the University of Saint Joseph. “Skip’s gift will lead us into a new age for the University of Saint Joseph students, alumni and the community, including children with special needs and the growing population identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Doug Nelson, vice president for Institutional Advancement.
The new Center for Integrative Education will enhance two existing facilities on the USJ West Hartford campus: The Gengras Center, the renowned special education facility that currently serves 120 special needs children from 53 communities throughout Connecticut; and the Institute for Autism and Behavioral Studies, an interdisciplinary center that offers a 15-credit Graduate Certificate Program in Autism Spectrum Disorders and provides continuing educational opportunities for teachers, parents and community service providers.
Building on its tradition of helping children with special needs, the University of Saint Joseph, beginning in the fall 2012 semester, is the first in the state of Connecticut to offer a Master of Science degree program in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. Construction of the Center for Integrative Education is anticipated to begin in 2013.