Hilbert College Alumna Commits Million-Dollar Bequest, The Largest In School’s History

Release Date:
September 5, 2013
Matt Heidt,

HAMBURG, N.Y. – Lorraine (Sturdevant) Hritcko (Ritz-koh) ’81 and her husband, Dr. Philip M. Hritcko, of Rocky Hill, Conn., have made a bequest of $1 million to Hilbert College, the largest individual alumni commitment in the college’s history. The gift is designated for the naming of a future Hilbert capital project.

My two years at Hilbert College laid the foundation for continuing my education and ultimately becoming successful in the business world,” Hritcko said.  “My contributions to Hilbert are my way of saying ‘thank you’ to the administrators, faculty and staff who nurtured and encouraged me. They served as professional role models for me, and the extensive interaction with them not only enabled me to thrive academically, but gave me confidence and courage to succeed beyond Hilbert.”

“This is a very significant day for Hilbert College,” said Cynthia Zane, Ed.D., President of Hilbert College. “Lorraine and Philip have been increasingly generous to Hilbert over the years, but this commitment demonstrates their unwavering support and will have a lasting impact for numerous Hilbert students.”

Hritcko is a 1981 graduate of Hilbert’s paralegal studies program and she and her husband have been generous supporters of Hilbert and recently donated $25,000 to name a classroom.

“She came to us as a shy young woman from the Binghamton, NY area. Certainly, she has blossomed beyond expectations. She is one of the most successful Hilbert graduates. She has encountered success, not only throughout the northeast, but internationally as well,” said Sr. Edmunette Paczesny, FSSJ, President Emerita at Hilbert College. “She has been extremely generous to Hilbert. As her career began to expand, she began to expand her generosity to Hilbert as well. She has always been gracious to me and we have maintained correspondence. The fact that she remembers Hilbert is a very important thing.”

Hritcko is currently Director, Global Software Sales at Conning in Hartford, Conn. Her career journey began after earning her MBA at Binghamton University in 1986 and she was recruited by Aetna in Hartford, CT where she began a three-year executive development program with a focus on human resources.  At the conclusion of the program, Hritcko was promoted to the head of human resources for the Corporate Communications Division, which included public relations, speech writing, graphic design, a state-of-the-art television studio, and a 200-person print shop.  She followed that with promotions to human resources for the Investment Division and head of communications for the Investment Division.  Hritcko managed communications with external rating agencies and with the Investment Committee of the Board of Directors on Aetna's investment performance during the financial crisis of the late 1980s - early 90s.  In 1998, she was promoted to the Y2K Project for Aetna International, which had 26 businesses in 18 countries, where she travelled significantly, logging 800,000 miles in 18 months.  In 2000, Hritcko was promoted to the position of Chief of Staff for both the Chairman and CEO/President of Aetna International. After leaving Aetna, she was hired by the Insurance Division of SunGard, where she spent eight years working throughout North America, Europe, South America and Asia.  Prior to her start at Conning in March 2011, she spent three years at Towers Watson.

Hritcko has some advice for current Hilbert students, “Don't be afraid to take chances. You aren't always going to get it right the first time around, but the key to long-term success in both your career and personal life is the ability to continually reinvent yourself.”

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.