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Macricostas Experience features speakers, events at WCSU

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will celebrate the Greek culture for a week in October 2019 with the observance of The Macricostas Experience.

Several related events will bring students and community members together to celebrate architecture and poetry, as well as to debate the state of U.S. prisons and the best way to enjoy fresh apple cider.

The Macricostas Experience also acknowledges Deno Macricostas and his family, who over nearly two decades have endowed scholarships and created other learning opportunities for countless WCSU students.

“We realized we had been celebrating the Macricostas family generosity in a haphazard way, here and there throughout the academic year,” said Dr. Michelle Brown, dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences. “We decided it would be more memorable to focus our activities and thanks over a solid week.”

The Macricostas Family is the university’s largest donor. Deno Macricostas founded Photronics Inc. in Brookfield to serve the computer chip industry, and has supervised its growth into an international company.

Unless otherwise noted, the Macricostas Experience events will all take place on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St., Danbury.

  • The events will begin on the quad at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, with students participating in the creation of tie-dye T-shirts as well as fresh apple cider using a hand-cranked cider press. An open house for the newly refurbished Higgins Hall will commence at 5 p.m., with tours of the building lasting until 8 p.m.
  • “Weather Report: A Symposium on Art and Weather,” hosted by the university and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, in Ives Concert Hall. The symposium will feature a wide range of speakers on topics relating to art and weather, including WCBS 880 Chief Radio Meteorologist Craig Allen, who will discuss his experience reporting on weather and emcee the event. This event is free, but pre-registration is required at The symposium is in conjunction with the exhibition “Weather Report,” which will be on view from Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, to Sunday, March 29, 2020, at The Aldrich, 258 Main St. in Ridgefield.
  • On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Greek scholar Jenifer Neils will present a lecture on “The Parthenon, Then and Now.” Her talk will begin at 2 p.m. in room 125 of the Science Building. Neils is the director of The American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Her talk will be followed at 5 p.m. with “A Greek Celebration” on the Higgins Hall patio, featuring food, wine and traditional Greek folk music.
  • image of Reginald Dwayne Betts
    Reginald Dwayne Betts (Credit: Mamadi Doumbouya)

    The Macricostas Speaker for the week will be Reginald Dwayne Betts, a convicted carjacker who is now an acclaimed poet and a lawyer with a Yale degree. He was convicted of carjacking as a teenager and began his academic education in a Virginia prisons. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, in the conference center of the Searle A. Pinney Residence Hall on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury.

  • Also on Oct. 24, the “World Origami Days Kickoff,” will begin at 10 a.m. on in the Higgins Hall lobby. Years ago, the Mathematics and Computer Science departments were a single department. Now back together under the same roof in Higgins Hall, both departments are co-hosting the event, where students can learn to fold a single pixel and enjoy light refreshments. All pixels will be installed as part of a collaborative art project that will be displayed in the vestibule adjacent to the Higgins Hall lobby. The art installation will grow until the end of World Origami Days on Nov. 11. The first 50 students to participate on Oct. 24 will receive a free Macricostas Experience T-shirt.

“The Macricostas Week events are numerous and multi-faceted,” Brown said. “We designed them so that there is something for everyone who wants to celebrate with us.”

 For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.