Seymour Resident Named to New HCC Alumni Hall of Fame

11/21/2009, Voices

SEYMOUR - Seymour resident Charlene (Charlie) Santoro is one of three distinguished alumni who will be inducted into Housatonic Community College's newly formed Alumni Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 21, in the college's new Event Center in Beacon Hall, Bridgeport.

The Alumni Hall of Fame was established by the Housatonic Community College Foundation to recognize HCC alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and in the realm of community service.

Ms. Santoro is among the first three HCC alumni to be honored in this way.

Ms. Santoro earned an associate degree in accounting and the Accounting Accomplishment Award from HCC in 1999. This was the beginning of a career that brought her to her current position as a CPA and manager at BlumShapiro and Co. in Shelton.

"HCC was the launching pad that gave me the foundation to keep moving forward," she said.

After completing her studies at HCC, Ms. Santoro earned a bachelor's degree in financial accounting at the University of New Haven in 2002 and a master's degree in finance in 2004.

In addition, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa International Honor Society in 1998 and received the Danny Washington Scholarship for Academic Achievement and Community Service in 2001.

"The Distinguished Alumni Award is a wonderful surprise and an honor to me, my family and my firm, BlumShapiro," she said. "My family was there with me along the way," she added, saying that her two teenage sons are planning to attend HCC to get their start.

Ms. Santoro cited HCC Professor John Tibor for helping her achieve academically and gain confidence in her abilities.

She currently volunteers with the School Volunteer Association of Bridgeport as a member of the Board of Directors' Finance Committee. In 2007 she created a Youth Resource Guide for New Haven students through her participation in Greater New Haven Leadership Class of 2007.

Between 1999 and 2006, she was a victim's advocate and treasurer of the Milford Rape Crisis Center Board of Directors.

In addition to honoring the alumni, the gala will also feature a presentation by actor, producer, director and author LeVar Burton, known for his starring role in the miniseries "Roots;" as long-time host of the PBS children's series, "Reading Rainbow;" and as co-star of the Emmy award-winning television series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Along with managing his career as an actor, producer, director and author, Mr. Burton is a literacy advocate who speaks on the subject worldwide.

The gala, which also serves as a fundraising opportunity for the HCC Foundation's Scholarship Fund, is presented by People's United Bank and the Connecticut Post, and is sponsored by The Bannow Larson Foundation, Bigelow Tea Company and Pequonnock River Partners.

Those seeking additional information, sponsorship opportunities and event tickets may call Maureen Dowdle, director of institutional advancement, at 203-332-5078 or e-mail mdowdle@hcc.commnet.edu.