DANBURY, Conn. — Danbury businessman and philanthropist Constantine “Deno” Macricostas has given a gift of $3 million from the Macricostas Family Fund to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, the largest donation in WestConn’s history.
The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities Board of Regents for Higher Education acknowledged the gift and approved renaming Western’s largest school to The Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences.
“With this gift, Deno Macricostas and his family become, by far, the largest philanthropic supporters of our university,” WCSU President James W. Schmotter said in a statement. “Our gratitude to them is unbounded, and it is made even more special because of Deno’s personal experiences. His is the classic American immigrant success story, and it provides an inspiration to all on our campus.
"This gift will transform our School of Arts and Sciences, the largest of our academic units and one in which every WCSU student, regardless of major, studies. It is indeed a momentous day for Western Connecticut State University.”
Macricostas explained why he and his family decided to support WCSU with this gift.
“Education is important to the success of our children and our community,” Macricostas said. “We live in a competitive and challenging world that requires growing our knowledge and increasing exposure from each generation. Our family takes pride in helping to support the great work of Western Connecticut State University in preparing students for active participation in our global society.”
Deno Macricostas emigrated from Greece in search of a better life. While attending college he earned extra money as a fry cook at a local diner on weekends. He saved enough money to start his own company in 1969, Photronics Inc., which manufactures photomasks, a component in the creation of silicon computer chips. The company remains headquartered in Connecticut with additional operations in Idaho, Texas, Taiwan, Korea and Europe. Photronics is one of the largest photomask manufacturers in the world.
Macricostas has long supported Western. A gift in 2002, at the time the largest in the university’s history, supports scholarships, the Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year Award and lectures on business, culture and Greek contributions to society.
The new gift will support a lecture series intended to bring renowned speakers to the university for the benefit of students and the community, the university’s travel-abroad program and additional scholarships.
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