Western Connecticut State University

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Western Connecticut State University
WestConn logo.jpg
Type Public State university
Established 1903
Endowment $12.8 million[1]
President Dr. John B. Clark
Academic staff
223 (FT), 308 (PT)
Administrative staff
876 (223 full-time faculty, 308 part-time faculty)
Undergraduates 5,952
Postgraduates 510
Location Danbury, Connecticut, USA
41°24′00″N 73°26′37″W / 41.399954°N 73.443584°W / 41.399954; -73.443584Coordinates: 41°24′00″N 73°26′37″W / 41.399954°N 73.443584°W / 41.399954; -73.443584
Campus Urban, 398 acres (1.61 km2) on two campuses
Colors Navy Blue and Rust Red[2]
Athletics NCAA Division IIILittle East, ECAC
Nickname Colonials
Affiliations Connecticut State University System
Sports 14 varsity teams[3]
Mascot Chuck the Colonial
Website www.wcsu.edu
Western Connecticut State University.svg

Western Connecticut State University (also known as Western and WestConn or abbreviated to WCSU) is a public university located in Danbury, Connecticut. WCSU consists of four schools and one division: the Ancell School of Business (which includes the Justice & Law Administration program), the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Professional Studies and the Division of Graduate Studies. Founded in 1903, WCSU is part of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, along with Eastern, Southern and Central Connecticut state universities, as well as a number of community colleges; between the four state universities, more than 34,000 students are enrolled.

WCSU is also home to the Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies, which is the result of a partnership between WCSU and the Jane Goodall Institute (a private non profit organization that promotes research, education and wildlife conservation). The university’s Westside campus also houses the Ives Concert Park, one of the premier performance venues in the area.


These are the gates located on the WCSU Mid Town campus.

Western started as a teachers' college, training the primary and secondary school educators for Connecticut's Fairfield County and surrounding areas. The school's name has changed over the years as it has focused on additional areas of study. First named the Danbury Normal School, in the 1950s it was called the Danbury State Teachers College. The college was renamed Danbury State College in 1959, then Western Connecticut State College in 1967, and finally, in 1983, Western Connecticut State University.[4] In 2011, governance of the University was transferred to the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system (CSCU). In 2012, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso visited the university for two public talks. WCSU became home to the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, and is now officially one of two universities in the country to be recognized as a “University of Compassion” by the Compassion Action Network. The Sikyong (prime minister) of Tibet, Lobsang Sangay, also lectured at the university's midtown campus earlier that year.

In 2005, former President Bill Clinton visited WCSU to personally thank students for their fund-raising efforts in the wake of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Connecticut students raised about $300,000 to fund a 1,500-student school in Sri Lanka; in an address given at WCSU’s William O’Neill Athletic and Convocation Center, Clinton thanked students for their efforts and stressed the importance of continuing to provide relief to disaster-stricken areas.



  • Ancell School of Business
  • Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Visual and Performing Arts
  • School of Professional Studies
  • Division of Graduate Studies


Western has two campuses (Midtown and Westside) located three miles (5 km) apart and connected by a campus shuttle service.

The Midtown Campus is the original campus, located on White Street near Downtown Danbury and the Main Street Historic District. It is home to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Professional Studies, and most of the school's administration. Dormitories on this campus include Fairfield Hall, Litchfield Hall, and Newbury Hall. The Midtown student center is located on this campus.

The West Side Campus is located on land purchased in 1969 on the outskirts of Danbury. This 439-acre (1.78 km2) lot is home to the Ancell School of Business, the School of Visual and Performing Arts, the Westside Nature Preserve, an amphitheater and three residence halls. The West Side also houses the athletic facilities, including the O'Neill Center. On January 23, 2007 the new West Side Campus Center was officially opened. This new facility serves as a student center, meeting, and banquet facility for the West Side Campus. Westside also houses athletic facilities, including the William O'Neill Athletic and Convocation Center (completed in 1995), and the Westside Athletic Complex (completed in 2003), as well as an observatory with a 20-inch Ritchy-Chretien telescope and a 20-foot planetarium dome. On January 23, 2007, the Westside Campus Center was officially opened. This new facility serves as a student center, meeting and banquet facility for the Westside campus. In August 2014, the Westside campus saw the opening of the new Visual and Performing Arts Center, a comprehensive arts building with Theatre Arts, Music and Visual Arts wings.

A major improvement program was started in the mid-1990s to beautify the campus. Several parking lots became green space, and improvements were made to the landscaping. While a significant improvement, the full extent of this beautification is not immediately apparent and will take several years to reach full maturity.

In April 2013, startup of a newly installed fuel cell power unit for the Science Building on the university’s Midtown campus began. The PureCell System, provided by ClearEdge Power, will support the university to reap significant energy cost savings and enhanced electricity and heating efficiencies. [5]

The Midtown campus Science Building was the first state-funded building project to seek LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Visual and Performing Arts Center as well as Centennial Hall also obtained LEED certification. In 2014, WCSU installed four EV (electric vehicle) charging stations, two on each campus. These charging stations are available to both students and the public, free of charge. The university is a participant in EV Connecticut Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions program.

The "WestConn at Waterbury" program is located on the campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut. The program offers completion courses for a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in management or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), as well as a Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.).[6]


Midtown Campus[edit]

  • University Hall (Administrative Offices)
  • White Hall (Classrooms & Faculty Offices)
  • Warner Hall (Classrooms & Faculty Offices)
  • Ruth A. Haas Library
  • Berkshire Hall (Classrooms, Theatre & Faculty Offices)
  • Science Building (Classrooms, Laboratories, PureCell fuel cell & Faculty Offices)
  • Old Main (Registrar, Fin. Aid, Cashier & Offices)
  • Higgins Hall (Classrooms & Faculty Offices)
  • Fairfield Hall (Residence Hall)
  • Newbury Hall (Residence Hall)
  • Litchfield Hall (Residence Hall)
  • Student Center
  • Alumni Hall (Child Care)
  • Kathwari Honors House

Westside Campus[edit]

  • Classroom Building (Classrooms, Robert Young Library & Faculty Offices)
  • Campus Center (Student Center & Multi-use facility)
  • Visual and Performing Arts Center (Houses School of Visual and Performing Arts)
  • O'Neill Center (Feldman Arena, Sports Facilities)
  • Football Stadium (Westside Athletic Center)
  • Rugby Field
  • Football Practice Field
  • Softball Field
  • Baseball Stadium
  • Tennis Facilities
  • Pinney Hall (Residence Hall)
  • Centennial Hall (Residence Hall)
  • Grasso Hall (Residence Hall)
  • Observatory
  • Ives Concert Park

Student body[edit]

As of November 2014, WCSU has an enrollment of 5,952 undergraduate students, including 4,422 full-time and 1,530 part-time students. Graduate student enrollment in fall 2013 totaled 510, including 57 full-time and 453 part-time students.

5,119 students applied to the university (including 1,294 transfers). 2,191 (including 748 transfers) were accepted. Of those, 1,207 (including 451 transfers) enrolled as new full-time students.

Most of the students at WestConn come from the Tri-State Area comprising Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Nearly all commuter students come from western Connecticut and Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester counties in New York.

According to the university, students claiming Connecticut residency come from 99 of the state's 169 municipalities.

Women comprise 50.9% of the entering class (394 of 774), and members of traditionally underrepresented groups comprise 28.6% of the entering class (221 of 774).

The student-to-faculty ratio as of November 2014 is 13.7 to 1 (Total Student FTE divided by Total Faculty FTE).

Fulbright Awards[edit]

WCSU has had a number of students receive Fulbright scholarships over the past few years: Ashley Hyde and Stephen Price in 2009, Kevin Gaughan in 2011, and Katie Marsan in 2013. The Fulbright program is an international exchange program founded in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State which awards approximately 8,000 grants a year to U.S. students and visiting students for research and teaching opportunities abroad.

Student life[edit]

Student Government Association[edit]

The Student Government Association (SGA) is the voice of the students, as well as the sole governing body over the Student Activity Fund and student organizations at the university, . The SGA has 3 branches of government: the Legislative Branch, an Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch, elected by the Student Body.

Inter-Residence Hall Association[edit]

The Inter-Residence Hall Association (IRHA) is an organization made up of and works for the resident population of Western Connecticut State University. The group organizes and hosts programs and activities throughout the academic year to build and maintain community between the university's residential students. IRHA receives its funding from laundry and vending within the residence halls, and the six Hall Councils are trained and overseen by the IRHA Executive Board. IRHA is the liaison between the university and the North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (NEACURH), which is a part of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH). IRHA's vision is “Serving as a Conduit for Residents' Needs" and coincides with the Department of Housing and Residence Life's "C.U.L.T.U.R.E." program.

Fraternities and sororities[edit]

WestConn's fraternities and sororities (often called "Greek community") was first established in 1966 by local Chi Epsilon Sigma Fraternity. It is now made up of three fraternities: Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Zeta Beta Tau; and four sororities: Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Gamma Phi, Kappa Chi Alpha, and Sigma Delta Tau.

As of May 2016, none of the Greek fraternities and sororities have an established on-campus house.

Debate Society[edit]

The Roger Sherman Debate Society participates in policy debate tournaments sanctioned by the Cross Examination Debate Association. The team competes in the North East Conference as well as the national circuit. Western is the only university in Connecticut that offers a policy debate team.[7] In the 2013 season team Kylah Broughton and Eugene Ben Allen won the CEDA regional championship and also the team was awarded first and fifth Speaker Award.[8] In 2013 the new team's website was published http://debate.wcsu.edu/.

SGA Legal Clinic[edit]

Western Connecticut State University is one of the few schools in the US to have a fully funded center to provide legal counseling to students. Funded by the Student Government Association, the center provides students with initial legal counseling and advice. The clinic does not represent students in court but may make referrals for such purposes.

The legal clinic seeks to educate students about their rights and responsibilities through the sharing of information and legal resources, various informational programs and presentations, as well as individualized student counseling. Attorneys counsel and advise students on general legal concerns, consumer complaints, debts and bankruptcy, family law, landlord-tenant issues, wills and probate matters, litigation, criminal matters, administration agency matters (such as Veterans Administration), and small claims.

Established in 1998 the advisor to the legal clinic has been Dr. Harold B. Schramm, Professor of English and Justice and Law Administration.


Radio station[edit]

The college's radio station, WXCI, broadcasts at 91.7 FM to Connecticut and New York at 3,000 watts. It also streams its broadcasts on the internet at WXCI.org. The radio transmitter is on the west side campus, while the studio is in the main campus student center.

Student newspaper[edit]

The Echo is the university's student newspaper, founded in 1955, and subsidized by the student's activity fees. It has an editorial board which makes strategic and operational decisions on behalf of the newspaper. The Echo is published weekly in tabloid format, though in the past it has been published in broadsheet format. The Echo launched a new website, echo.wcsu.edu, in 2012.[9]


The Colonials logo

WestConn is a member of the NCAA Division III, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the Little East Conference. The university fields teams in baseball, basketball, lacrosse, football, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. WestConn also fields several nationally competitive club sports on campus including Men's Rugby, Women's Rugby, Dance Team, Cheerleading, and Men's Hockey.

Sports venues[edit]

  • Field Hockey: Westside Athletic Complex
  • Baseball: Athletic fields baseball stadium
  • Basketball: Feldman Arena at the O'Neill Center
  • Football: Westside Athletic Complex (a.k.a. WAC), football stadium
  • Lacrosse: Westside Athletic Complex
  • Women's Lacrosse: Westside Athletic Complex
  • Soccer: Westside Athletic Complex
  • Softball: Athletic fields softball field
  • Swimming: O'Neill Center
  • Tennis: O'Neil Center outdoor tennis courts
  • Volleyball: Feldman Arena at the O'Neill Center
  • Hockey: Danbury Ice Arena
  • Rugby: Athletic practice fields

Notable alumni[edit]

Noteworthy faculty[edit]

  • Kevin Gutzman, professor (History & non-Western cultures) and author
  • Jimmy Greene, professional jazz saxophonist
  • Christopher Kukk, professor (political science) and faculty adviser
  • William Devlin, historian and writer
  • Ruth A. Haas, first woman president of a public college in Connecticut
  • Herbert F. Janick, PhD., professor, historian and writer
  • Dr. Mel Goldstein, meteorologist, WTNH, and founder of WCSU's original B.A. in meteorology
  • Dr. Casey Jordan, professor and criminologist
  • Abubaker Saad, professor of history and non-Western culture, former Libyan diplomat and expert on Middle East issues
  • Dr. George Kain, professor and a leader in the movement to abolish the death penalty[14]

Community projects[edit]

Project Clear

Project Clear is an educational program for high school students from Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford and Sherman. Students conduct summer research at Candlewood Lake, as well as participate in four training sessions during the school year at WCSU. University students also take advantage of the research opportunities the lake offers, working with WCSU faculty to study invasive water species such as Eurasian milfoil.

Tick Research

Dr. Neeta Connally, Ph.D., a full-time faculty member at WCSU, conducts research on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases in Fairfield County. Along with undergraduate students, Dr. Connally works with nearby towns to study local ticks. She also serves as scientific advisor to the BLAST (Bathe, Look for ticks, Apply repellent, Spray your yard, Treat your pets) program in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Meteorology program/Weather Center[edit]

WestConn has the only bachelor's degree program in meteorology in southern New England. It is part of the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology. The newly revised B.S. degree program contains an option in broadcast meteorology and also preps students for graduate studies in meteorology and earth sciences and provides the necessary coursework for employment with the National Weather Service. The Science Building on the mid-town campus houses the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center (MSWC), which provides forecasting services for industrial and media clients, along with forensic climatological and meteorological studies. The MSWC also contains a TV studio, forecast center, and research area which support the meteorology program.

Astronomical facilities[edit]

WestConn houses two observatories, one public and one for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. The Midtown observatory is located on the top of The Science Building. It is used for both students and on public viewing nights. The telescope has a 6-inch (150 mm) refractor and an 8-inch (200 mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. There is also a planetarium for teaching and public star shows.

The West Side campus houses a large-format thermoelectrically cooled CCD camera and is specifically used for astrophysical studies.[15]

Library archive collections[edit]

The Archives and Special Collections Library at WestConn is the archival repository for the historical records of the university and is a significant repository for collections relating to the history of the Danbury and greater western Connecticut area.[16]

The mission of the Archives is to collect and make accessible the WCSU administrative records, faculty papers, university publications, theses, visual materials, and other media created by the University. It also includes non-WCSU affiliated personal papers, local government and organizational records, visual materials, maps, journals and other media that document the history of this region. The archival holdings amount to approximately 750 linear feet.[17]

The WCSU Archives' collection is searchable through the use of the CAO (Connecticut Archives Online) or through CONSULS.

Significant donors and supporters[edit]

Other schools in the Connecticut State University system[edit]

Its three sister schools are Eastern, Central, and Southern Connecticut State University.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2011. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2011 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2010 to FY 2011" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 17, 2012. p. 21. Retrieved March 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Western Connecticut State University Official Color Palette" (PDF). Western Connecticut State University. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  3. ^ NCAA.com. NCAA.com (2011-02-25). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  4. ^ Brown, Ray C., Connecticut Colleges that have Closed, Merged, Changed Names, retrieved January 8, 2015 
  5. ^ News - Power Engineering. Power-eng.com (2013-07-09). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  6. ^ "Western at Waterbury". http://www.wcsu.edu/. Western Connecticut State University. Retrieved 15 August 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  7. ^ Gadkar-Wilcox, Wynn (January 27, 2011), Testimony for Appropriations Committee Meeting on Higher Education (PDF), Connecticut General Assembly, retrieved December 17, 2012 
  8. ^ Westconn is the District 8 Northeast Champions for 2012-2013 | Western Connecticut State University Debate. Debate.wcsu.edu (2013-02-25). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  9. ^ http://echo.wcsu.edu/
  10. ^ Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life. New York: Little, Brown, 2001
  11. ^ http://www.vanguardrecords.com/index.php?option=com_vgrecords&controller=artists&task=view&id=44
  12. ^ "Markus Gottschlich Joins Steinway & Sons Artists' Roster" (May 5, 2014). Steinway.com
  13. ^ Mic. "Nicolas DiDomizio". Mic. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  14. ^ http://themercurial.com/westconn-professor/
  15. ^ "Astronomical Facilities". WCSU. December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012. 
  16. ^ Janick, Herbert. A people's university : the centennial history of Western Connecticut State University, 1903–2003. Danbury, Conn. : The University, 2002.
  17. ^ WCSU Archives and Special Collections

External links[edit]