New foundation links arts and engineering 


UConn is starting a new Arts and Engineering Institute.   File Photo

UConn is starting a new Arts and Engineering Institute.

File Photo

The University of Connecticut is starting an innovative new Arts and Engineering Institute thanks to a $5 million gift from two alumni. 

Mrs. Donna Samson Krenicki and her husband, Mr. John Krenicki, made the donation earlier this month with hopes to provide future generations of students with a totally unique program at their alma mater. 

The goal of the Arts & Engineering program is to serve as a perfect union between Mr. and Mrs. Krenicki’s college degrees — offering classes in fields such as product design, animated puppetry and robotics to students in both the School of Engineering and the School of Fine Arts. 

In the Sept. 12 press release about the Krenickis’ donation, School of Engineering Dean Kazem Kazerounian said the new institute will be unlike any other in the nation. 

“You can find pieces of this at some universities,” Kazerounian said. “But there is no place that I know of that has brought everything together under one academic institute.”  

Mrs. Krenicki explained later in the press release that this pioneered bridge between the two schools will sharpen the University’s competitive edge and “give students far greater career marketability” in the modern workforce. 

According to Fine Arts Dean Anne D’Alleva, the formal establishment of this program at UConn has met a growing student demand.  

In the press release, she recalled how a certain technical theatre course in the School of Fine Arts had become so attractive to engineering students that enrollment in the class increased by 100%.  

Those involved hope that the institute will make it easier for students who might have been stuck awkwardly between the two schools before to more easily take classes that satisfy their interests in this innovative field. 

However, the Krenickis’ donation does not stop here. The two alumni, who are not first-time benefactors to the University, have further challenged the program to raise an additional $5 million dollars.  

The unprecedented institute will not call for the construction of a new building on the Storrs campus, but the Krenickis had deemed it necessary to the program for the University to match their contribution with gifts from corporate partners.  

Classes in the Arts & Engineering Institute are already being held at the School of Fine Arts Building next to E.O. Smith High School on Bolton Road. 

Conner Garidad is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at

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