Dan Toscano, a UConn alum and active supporter of a wide range of university initiatives, has been named the next Board of Trustees chairman.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced Toscano’s appointment Thursday to serve as chair of the UConn Board of Trustees, the governing body responsible for serving Connecticut’s flagship university. The governor also appointed Scott Cowen, president emeritus of Tulane University, as a new member of the board and re-appointed current board members Charles F. Bunnell, Andy F. Bessette, Shari Cantor and Andrea Dennis-LaVigne.
Born and raised in Bristol, Toscano now lives in Darien. He graduated from UConn in 1987 with a bachelor of sciences degree in finance and earned his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.
He is currently managing director of global leveraged finance at Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc., a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management, and investment management services.
Toscano has many connections to UConn, including as an alumnus, a parent, a generous donor, an ardent athletics fan, and as an active member of several university organizations. He is currently completing an eleven-year stint on the UConn Foundation Board of Directors, including serving as chair of the board for three years and as chair of the Investment Committee for several years prior.
Toscano served on the search committees that recently selected Thomas Katsouleas to be UConn’s 16th president and Scott Roberts to be the CEO of the UConn Foundation. He is also a member of the UConn School of Business Dean’s Advisory Cabinet, and previously was on the Athletics Fundraising Steering Committee and the UCF Campaign Steering Committee.
He was inducted in the UConn School of Business Hall of Fame in 2006, and was a commencement speaker for the school in 2013.
“In order to be successful in a 21st century economy, it is essential that our state’s schools and universities strongly connect themselves with the business community. My appointment of Dan Toscano as chair of the UConn Board of Trustees should be seen as a step forward to strengthen this bond,” Lamont said.
“A graduate of UConn himself, Dan has gone on to have an incredibly successful business career, helping manage one of the world’s largest financial services firms, all while continuing to maintain strong connections to his home state of Connecticut and his alma mater,” the governor said. “Importantly, Dan’s leadership will not only come from the perspective of a business leader and alumnus, but he will also provide the board with the much-needed voice of a parent who has a teenager currently enrolled at UConn. Business leaders across the world need to know that if they want the best-trained, best-educated, and most productive workers in the nation, they need to look toward graduates of Connecticut’s public institutions of higher education. I am eager to work with Dan on increasing this impact.”
After graduating from UConn in 1987, Toscano headed to Wall Street, where he spent the bulk of his career at Bankers Trust and its successor Deutsche Bank. Toscano joined Morgan Stanley in 2010 and works with many of the firm’s most important corporate and private equity clients. He is a member of the Global Capital Markets Operating Committee, the Investment Banking Division Management Committee, and is a voting member of the firm’s Capital Commitments Committee. He returned to live in Connecticut in 1995 and has been an active advocate for UConn since 2005.
“I am humbled and excited to be selected to join the Board of Trustees at UConn,” Toscano said. “As Connecticut’s flagship university and a top research institution, UConn has the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the economic recovery of Connecticut. UConn has begun to show its full potential over the past decade and the state has chosen wisely to invest in a top 25 public research university.
“UConn produces high-caliber graduates at all levels and is capable of attracting research funding that drives considerable economic development on its campuses. As my alma mater, I have incredible passion for the potential of UConn to rise to ever-greater heights,
he said. “UConn has strong leadership and infrastructure, and I look forward to working with President Katsouleas and the impressive leaders across the university. Most importantly, I look forward to helping make the UConn student experience even more valuable.”
Toscano and his wife, Tresa, have made UConn a philanthropic priority, with the majority of their support directed toward students with financial need, attracting top faculty, and athletics, among others.
But their generosity has been felt in virtually every corner of the university, from the soccer team to the Natural Resources Conservation Academy. The couple established two four-year, need-based scholarships and they have also created the Toscano Family Chair in Finance in the School of Business. Outside of their giving to UConn, the couple has supported Person-to-Person, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Wolf Conservation Center, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and the Special Olympics and U.S. Olympic programs.
They have three children: twins Max and Jeremy, 20, and Olivia, 16. Jeremy is a junior in the School of Business at UConn. The Toscano family can be seen rooting on many UConn athletics teams as season ticket holders in a number of sports.
“Throughout the search process and since becoming president, I have been impressed by both Dan’s thoughtfulness and passion for the university,” President Katsouleas said. “As a student, he was transformed by his experience at UConn and is deeply committed to enhancing student experiences further for future generations. He brings expertise from the private sector and as past chair of the UConn Foundation board that will be extremely valuable and signals the increasing importance of philanthropy to the university’s future.”
The governor intends to introduce the new board chair at an event that will be held at the UConn campus in Storrs in the coming days.
“I commend Governor Lamont for his wise selection for UConn’s next board chair,” Interim Board Chair Thomas Ritter said. “We have an extremely close-knit board that works very well together. The transition will be a smooth one, and Dan will fit in perfectly. It is also great news that the governor is reappointing Andy, Chuck, Shari and Andrea, as they are highly valued members of the board who are deeply committed to UConn and Connecticut. The board works hard to help support and drive the vision that the governor and our new president have for UConn, and we look forward to Dan leading us in that important work.”
Gov. Lamont’s announcement Thursday also included the appointment of Scott S. Cowen to serve as a member of the board, and the re-appointment of the four other members to continue their service on the group.
Cowen currently serves as president emeritus and distinguished university chair of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
From 1998 to 2014, he served as president of the university. Named by TIME magazine as one of the nation’s Top 10 Best College Presidents, Cowen received his bachelor’s degree in 1968 from UConn, where he also played on the school’s football team.
After serving a three-year term in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer from 1968 to 1971, he went back to school and received masters and doctoral degrees in business administration from the George Washington University. Prior to joining Tulane, Cowen spent 23 years as a professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, including 14 years as dean of the Weatherhead School of Management and the Weatherhead Professor of Management.
The members Governor Lamont is re-appointing include:
- Charles F. Bunnell: Chief of Staff for External and Governmental Affairs to the Mohegan Tribal Nation
- Andy F. Bessette: Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Travelers
- Shari Cantor: Mayor of West Hartford
- Andrea B. Dennis-LaVigne: Veterinarian, founder, owner, and president of the Bloomfield Animal Hospital
The Board of Trustees is comprised of 21 members: twelve appointed by the governor; two elected by alumni; two elected by students; and five ex-officio, including the governor, UConn Health Board of Directors chair, and the commissioners of Agriculture, Economic and Community Development, and Education.