September 29, 2017
Central Connecticut State University announces that the Inauguration of President Zulma R. Toro, scheduled for October 6, has been postponed to a date to be determined. President Toro has decided she must put all her immediate time and energies into relief efforts for her family members who are still in Puerto Rico, some of them with health issues, in the hopes of bringing them back to the States. President Toro (left) arrived at Miami airport late this afternoon in hopes of meeting her mother.
“The situation in Puerto Rico is so dire,” President Toro said, “and the need for help—my help and the help of others—is so great that I cannot turn my back on my family and friends and others I may be able to help.” Dr. Toro said that she deeply regrets the inconvenience and disappointment her decision may cause, but that she hopes people will understand that this is a decision she was compelled to make by the conditions in her native Puerto Rico. Out of respect for President Toro and in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, the University is also canceling the events of Inauguration Week intended to be a celebration of the University’s engagement with its communities.
“Opening doors for people that otherwise would not have opportunities for higher education is very important for me, and the diversity of people you interact with here, it’s unbelievable.”
— Dr. Zulma Toro
A New Chapter in the CCSU Story
Central Connecticut State University will officially celebrate the inauguration of
our 13th president, Dr. Zulma R.Toro, on Friday, Oct. 6. Her formal inauguration,
which is one of a series of planned events, comes during the University’s annual Homecoming
week — fitting for a president driven to build strong connections with her campus
family and nearby community.
About Dr. Toro
Dr. Toro began her tenure at CCSU on January 3 and quickly embarked on a “listening
tour” of every academic and administrative department.
“The goal for me was first to get to every person that is part of the Central community because as president, one doesn’t have too many opportunities to meet individuals,” she says. “Ultimately, we are here because of the students, and if we don’t work as a team, and I believe in working as a team, we cannot provide our students with what they need.” With that mission complete, Dr. Toro is pressing on with three ambitious initiatives. “My three top priorities are increasing enrollment, becoming a real community-engaged university, and diversifying sources of funding,” she states. Toro is particularly passionate about assisting underserved populations and has visited with elected officials and school superintendents throughout the region, including those in New Britain, Hartford, Farmington, and Bristol. “I am the public face of the university, representing what we are as an institution, what we bring to the table, the value of our educational experience,” she notes.
History in the Making
Dr. Toro’s presidency marks two additional milestones for CCSU: She is the university’s first female president, as well as its first Hispanic chief executive.
Toro, who has a PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology, has written extensively about the necessity of preparing women for careers in engineering and STEM. She says she became an industrial engineer instead of going into another field of engineering because she wanted to explore the human side of systems, which she says is critical to being a good leader.
“People believe you have quite a bit of power as university president, but you don’t have any power,” Toro says. “It’s about the people that work for you believing in your vision and embracing what you want for this institution. That’s where the personal relationships come into play…as president, my role is to provide an environment in which every individual that is part of this community feels appreciated and valued, and motivated and excited, every day when they drive to work.”
Before joining the CCSU family, Dr. Toro served as the executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock; dean of the College of Engineering at Wichita State University, Kansas; Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of New Haven, CT; and the chancellor of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
Toro says she is happy to be back in Connecticut.
“I could not have asked for a better position because this allows me to do what I’m passionate about. It’s a unique opportunity in that the external community that surrounds Central is so committed to the institution, and you don’t find that often,” she says.
Dr. Toro in the News