Latina among Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame inductees


Connecticut’s Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame (IHHF) will induct four new members in September.

Among the inductees is Dr. Zulma R. Toro, president of Central Connecticut State University — the first woman and Latino to lead the university. She assumed the leadership role at CCSU in 2017, becoming the university’s 13th president.

ZULMA R. TORO – Central Connecticut State University’s 13th President

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Toro graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 1982 with a degree in industrial engineering. She went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Prior to becoming president of CCSU, Toro was executive vice chancellor and provost of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Previously, she held leadership positions with Wichita State University, the University of New Haven and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

The other inductees are:

  • Rabbi Philip Lazowski, philanthropist, spiritual leader and Holocaust survivor
  • Dr. Henry c. Lee, internationally renowned forensic scientist
  • Lucian Pawlak, former Mayor of New Britain and community leader

“Their noteworthy contributions serve to inspire and encourage future generations to excel.”

Andre Blaszczynski, Co-chair of the IHHF Planning Committee

“The IHHF Class of 2019 is a diverse group of remarkable individuals who embody the kind of perseverance, scholarship, and achievement that have made our world a better place,” said Andre Blaszczynski, long-time Tunxis Community College Professor of Economics, co-chair of the IHHF Planning Committee and President of the Polish American Foundation of Connecticut.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz will give the keynote address. The evening will also include performances reflecting the Puerto Rican, Jewish, Polish and Chinese heritages of the inductees.

The 7th Annual Induction Ceremony and Gala will be held on Sept. 26 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $95 per person. For more information on the ceremony, or to purchase tickets, go to

The newest inductees bring to 31 the number of individuals who have been inducted into the Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame since its inception in 2013.