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American School For the Deaf Kicks Off Capital Campaign

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If star power can help a cause, the American School for the Deaf is off to a good start when it comes to raising money for its new building project at its West Hartford campus.

Headed by honorary chair, Liam McGee, board chair, president and CEO of The Hartford, the school’s Foundations for the Future Campaign is seeking to raise millions to help offset costs for the new project that will mean a new school building and additional services for hearing impaired students.

“The American School for the Deaf is a great asset that does wonderful work,” said McGee, who hosted the reception at The Hartford for a select group of guests that included Farmington  Bank chairman, president, CEO and campaign chair John Patrick,  Cigna president David Cordani, Attorney General George Jepsen, First Lady Cathy Malloy, Douglas Hyland of the New Britain Museum of American Art and Jennifer Holmes of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

 “The school is a wonderful part of our community,” he said noting the location where The Hartford building is located now, was the original site of the 200-year-old school. The site is marked by the “Alice” statue, a rendering of the school’s first student, Alice Cogswell, who was the daughter of Mason Fitch Cogswell, one of the school founders.

Special guest at the reception hosted by McGee was Rebecca “Bex” Freund, great-granddaughter of the famed, late G. Fox & Co. head, Beatrice Fox Auerbach, who was on the school board of directors.

“I’m a little bit nervous about speaking at this,” said Freund, who is deaf and uses a translator. “But I think my great-grandmother would be very proud,” added Freund, whose grandmother, Georgette Koopman and her mother, Beatrice “Trice” Fox Koopman also served on the ASD board.

The building plan calls for razing the stately, brick Galludet Hall, sorely in need of expensive renovations that make saving the building prohibitive.

But the bricks will go on.

The school’s Executive Director Edward Peltier said staff, alumni and supporters are talking about different ways to repurpose the bricks so they are still part of the new look on the campus.