Staff Donor Spotlight: Rayna Dyton-White
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Staff Spotlight: Rayna Dyton-White

"By supporting our students, we support the well-being of our entire community."

Rayna Dyton-WhiteAfter a career in law and human services, Rayna Dyton-White joined the University Hartford as the Title IX Coordinator in August 2016, though she's been a part of the UHart family all her life. As the daughter of two alums, she has always felt a strong connection to the community and is now happy to be able to support the students in both her work and through giving.

You recently made a gift to support University of Hartford students going on Alternative Spring Break. What inspired you to make that gift?

Financial difficulties should not impede the desire of any student who wants to give back or volunteer.

Why is it important for you to support our students?

College sets the tone for our adult lives. I have been a Connecticut resident my whole life and many from UHart stay in the area. By supporting our students, we support the well-being of our entire community.

What are your top three favorite things about the University?

1. I love hawks. I know it's weird, but I love seeing them posted around campus or flying by my window.
2. Nice work environment. I'm housed with Student Affairs and everyone is so friendly—I've told several colleagues to apply!
3. Our students are great! May sound crazy coming from the Title IX Coordinator, but I have met some wonderful students in my time here. We need to give millennials more credit.

What is one thing you wish other people knew about the University of Hartford?

The diversity of our alumni—you can find them everywhere—they are mayors, judges, stage performers, principals, therapists, and so much more. We are a small, big school.

What is your favorite part of working at the University?

I feel supported as a person, not just an employee. My colleagues and leadership have demonstrated a long-term interest in my professional development (this was explicitly stated in my interview), and it made me feel comfortable about continuing my career here.

UHart HalloweenWhat is your favorite UHart tradition or event?

I haven’t been here long enough yet! But I enjoy bringing my children to the many community events here. I was raised in academia and I want my daughters to have the same experience.

Both my parents are UHart alums, Regina Dyton '79 and Edward White Jr '77. They met here and married. I was actually 9 months old when my mother graduated—I've got photos of me with my grandmother at her graduation. I also have an old alumni publication, Focus, with my mother on the cover. She was featured for her activist work in urban affairs. She is currently the program manager at the Children's Advocacy Center for St. Francis. My father graduated from The Hartt School and had a long career performing as a baritone opera singer. He performed as a soloist with groups like the London Symphony Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra and on renowned stages including the Metropolitan Opera.

Rayna's mother's graduation from UHart
Photo from left to right: Rayna in her grandmother's arms at her mother's graduation in 1979; Regina Dyton '79; Rayna with Regina Dyton and Edward White Jr '77.

More about Rayna:

Rayna received her bachleor's in sociology from Morgan State University in 2000 and then earned her JD from Howard University School of Law in 2004. Prior to the University of Hartford, she worked as a criminial defense attorney, focusing her work on equity disparities and advocating for low-income people of color, many of whom did not speak English. She has also conducted professional development trainings to assist low-income para-support workers with transitioning into better paying jobs, and assisted convicts and people on probation in recovery enter the addiction counseling field. She is deeply committed to social justice work and currently is a member of the Connecticut Association of Diversity and Equity Professionals, volunteers with the Greater Hartford Child Advocacy Center at St. Francis, and sits on the board for Capitol Child Development Day Care.

See more stories of people making a difference for UHart students.