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Remembering Sandy Hook

Rachel Marie D'Avino (1983-2012)

2007 University of Hartford graduate, College of Arts and Sciences

Ana Grace Marquez-Greene (2006-2012)

daughter of Nelba Marquez-Greene '97 and Jimmy Greene '97

Saturday, December 14, marks the one-year anniversary of one of the most devastating events in Connecticut history—the fatal shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. 

This unspeakably tragic event hit the University of Hartford community especially hard. Among the heroic adults who lost their lives that day was Rachel D’Avino '07, a behavioral therapist who earned a BA in psychology from the University of Hartford. Two other alumni—Jimmy Greene '97 and Nelba Marquez-Greene ’97—lost their precious 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace. 

On Friday, December 13, the University distributed green ribbons at various locations around campus in observance of this difficult anniversary. Green and white are the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School, and green ribbons have come to symbolize support for the victims, their families, and the residents of Newtown. 

In a letter sent earlier in the week, University President Walter Harrison encouraged all students, faculty, and staff to pick up a green ribbon and wear it throughout the weekend—to honor the memories of Ana Grace, Rachel, and all of the Sandy Hook victims, and to show support for their families and the Newtown community. 

About 3,600 green ribbons have been made by volunteers throughout the University, including students and staff at the Farmington Valley Transition Academy, Mortensen Library, Student Affairs, and the Office of Marketing and Communication. 

A white stone inscribed with a dedication to Ana Grace and her surviving brother, Isaiah, has been placed in the new water garden between the Harry Jack Gray Center and The Hartt School. In addition, the Psychology Department is planning to dedicate a bench in memory of Rachel D’Avino in the spring.