Catamount Country South
New Canaan, Connecticut
- By Jay Goyette
Established as Canaan Parish in 1731, and incorporated in 1801, the town of New Canaan, Connecticut, has come a long way from its roots as a farming community and post-Revolutionary War shoe manufacturing center. Today, the upscale town boasts, among other things, one of the best school systems in the country and a solid sense of community.
Among those “other things” is an unusually high concentration of people in leadership positions who share at least one thing in common—a University of Vermont education.
Take, for example, Rob Mallozzi ’84, recently elected first selectman, the chief executive of the town. Then there’s police commissioner Stuart Sawabini ’77, and Tiger Mann ’87, assistant director of public works. Not to mention Chris Hodgson ’82, lead labor negotiator for the town, and Tucker Murphy ’ 83, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. Robert Cioffi ’90, chair of the University of Vermont Board of Trustees, and his wife, Meghan (Walsh) Cioffi ’91, are long-time New Canaan residents. As is Dean Maglaris ’67, a former chair of the UVM Board of Trustees and currently chairman of the board of the AmeriCares Foundation.
“We had a reception here at our house last night for Tom and Leslie (UVM’s president and his wife) with forty-five or fifty UVM people, and 90 percent of them live in New Canaan, classes from the seventies through about 1995. We also send four to seven kids a year from New Canaan High School to UVM. Then there are the private schools in the area, so there’s a continuing pipeline of new students from town going to UVM,” says Rob Cioffi.
Tiger Mann says he’d love to see his own kids follow that pipeline someday. “The same things that draw you to Burlington draw you to New Canaan,” he says.
“Even though it’s a city, Burlington has a nice, small-town feel, and New Canaan has that exact same feel. To me, downtown Burlington was the bomb.”
Tucker Murphy adds that reminders of college days are never far away in New Canaan. “I was at a town meeting one night and looked around the room, and there were five or six of us in that room who all had leadership positions in the town and the community. It blew me away. It’s got to have something to do with UVM.”