2023 Press Releases All Stories

State Rep. Corey Paris honored by Council of State Governments: ‘20 Under 40 Leadership Award’ is latest recognition for WCSU alumnus

State Rep. Corey Paris
State Rep. Corey Paris
State Rep. Corey Paris (Photo credit: Brian O’Connor)

DANBURY, Connecticut — Connecticut State Rep. Corey Paris (D-145) can trace his political aspirations and dedication to public service back to his days as a student at Western Connecticut State University, where he served two terms as the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) president and participated in an internship with The Clinton Foundation in New York City. In the nine years since he has graduated, Paris has established a career as a successful fundraising executive for several Connecticut-based nonprofits, and twice has been elected by the citizens of Stamford to serve as their representative in Connecticut’s State Capitol.

Paris’ latest accomplishment was announced this week by The Council of State Governments (CSG), which named him one of 20 Under 40 Leadership Award recipients in 2023. The award “annually recognizes the outstanding work of 20 up-and-coming elected and appointed officials from across the country who not only exemplify strong leadership skills, but have also demonstrated a true commitment to serving the citizens of their state,” according to the CSG website. Paris will join his fellow honorees at the 2023 CSG National Conference next month in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Reached at his legislative office in Hartford, Paris said, “Embracing the role of WCSU student body president allowed me to cultivate resilience, diplomacy and a genuine understanding of the diverse needs within our academic community. Through countless challenges and triumphs, I learned the art of listening, the importance of collaboration, and the power of advocacy. My internship with the Clinton Global Initiative opened my eyes to global issues and inspired me to think beyond borders. Working alongside dedicated professionals, I gained firsthand experience in addressing pressing global challenges with innovative solutions.”

Paris, who obtained a WCSU Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2014, continued, “Receiving the Council of State Governments’ 20 Under 40 award is a humbling validation of my efforts and dedication to public service. It serves as a reminder that impactful leadership knows no age, and the responsibility to effect positive change rests on our shoulders, regardless of our years. These experiences, together, have equipped me with a unique perspective, a resilient spirit, and an unwavering commitment to service. As I reflect on my journey, I am grateful for the opportunities that have shaped me into the leader I am today. Armed with passion, determination and a profound belief in the potential of collective action, I am ready to embrace the challenges that lie ahead. My commitment to making a difference burns brighter than ever, fueled by the knowledge that every effort, no matter how small, contributes to a better tomorrow for all.”

In October, Paris was named one of “100 Men of Color” and honored at a black tie celebration at The Bushnell in Hartford. The designation “recognizes the contributions that these men of color in business, education, entrepreneurship, government, entertainment, service and the impact they have made on the lives of people throughout the State of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts communities,” according to the event website.

Paris also was named in 2021 and 2023 as one of the NAACP Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut and was recognized in 2022 as a Connecticut Voices for Children Champion.

In a news release about the 20 Under 40 Leadership Awards, David Adkins, CSG executive director/CEO, said, “While the outstanding state officials recognized by CSG this year come from diverse backgrounds, different political parties, every branch of state government and every region of our country, they share the same commitment to serve others. They are hard-working, visionary leaders whose passion for public service is producing results for their states. I marvel at all they have achieved, and I look forward to watching their impact grow even greater in the years ahead.”

For more information, contact WCSU Communications and Marketing at pr@wcsu.edu.


 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.

Founded in 1933, The Council of State Governments is the nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.