WESTFIELD – Westfield State University will honor Dr. Sylvia Abar of Westfield with the Distinguished Alumna Award on Saturday, October 17 at 10:30 a.m. in the Horace Mann Center lobby.
“As an educator, Dr. Abar embodies the founding mission of Westfield State University,” said Kathi Bradford, director of Alumni Relations. “Her tireless dedication and commitment to public service serves as example for students, faculty, and alumni.”
Abar earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Westfield State and was inspired by her professors to continue her studies.
“The enthusiasm and passion that the professors held for their subject matter was displayed in their teaching and influenced me to do post graduate work,” Dr. Abar said.
Abar earned her M.Ed. in school psychology at Westfield State University and her Ed.D. at UMass Amherst.
After graduating from Westfield State, Abar began teaching within the Palmer Public School District where she remained for 29 years. She began as a teacher of grades four through six and was promoted to Teaching Assistant Principal of the Old Mill Pond School in 1997. During her time there, she developed and administered the After School Activities Program and served on the District/Schools Professional Development Committees. She also was chair of the Beginning Teachers Mentor Development Program and the Positive Reinforcement Committee.
In 2000, Abar was appointed principal of Litwin Elementary School in Chicopee where she remained until her retirement in 2007.
In addition to her teaching career, Abar is a dedicated member of the community with various volunteering experiences. She has been a member of Kiwanis Club of Westfield since 2007 and established eight new youth service clubs for the city. She is chair of the Good Citizens Awards and founded the Edwin J. Abar-Kiwanis Communication Scholarship with husband Edwin and the Kiwanis Club of Westfield. She currently serves as a volunteer docent at the Storrowton Village Museum and the Springfield Science Museum.
Abar said her strive for volunteerism stems from her desire to better her community.
“We can improve our schools and communities if we all step forward to help in whatever way we can,” Dr. Abar said. “Throughout my life, I have tried to step forward whenever there was a need.”
Abar has remained connected to the university. She served on the Westfield State Alumni Council and on the Westfield State University Board of Trustees from 2007-2012.
“Serving on both of these boards gave me the opportunity to be involved with positive changes for the university and the alumni,” Abar said.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award kicks off Homecoming weekend.
Open to the public, the all-day Homecoming event features athletic games, music, food, beverages, reunions, and the companionship of old and new friends.
The Alumni Association is offering free admission to any current Westfield State student aged 21 or older. Eligible students must present a valid student ID and license or state-issued ID to enter Homecoming and participate in the day’s festivities.
Alumni of the Westfield State University Class of 2014 and 2015 will also be allowed free entrance if they register online in advance.
The Homecoming Main Event will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Alumni Field. The Westfield State men’s soccer team will face off against Worcester State. Entertainment begins at noon with pay-as-you-go food and beverages by Sodexo including burgers, hotdogs, nachos, chili, and more. Pop in to a reunion booth for the Classes of 1975, 2005, or 2010, embark on a campus tour, or challenge yourself with trivia, led by Josh Clark ’15.
Schedule of events:
10:30-11:00 a.m. – Westfield State Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumna Award Ceremony (Horace Mann Center)
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Reunion Brunch- Classes of 2005 and 1975 (Scanlon Banquet Hall A and C)
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Staff Emeriti Brunch (Tekoa Room, Tim and Jeanne’s Dining Commons, INVITATION ONLY)
11:00 a.m. – Men’s Soccer vs. Worcester State (Alumni Field)
11:00 a.m. – Women’s Volleyball vs. Bridgewater State (Woodward Center)
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – “Home-COMM-ing” Coffee Gathering for Communication alumni and faculty (Henry’s Garden, behind Horace Mann Center)
11:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Hard Hat Luncheon, a tour of the new Science and Innovation Center (Wilson Hall, INVITATION ONLY)
12:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Homecoming Game Side (Alumni Field)
6:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Class of 1975 dinner dance (Scanlon Hall, Loughman Living Room)
6:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Class of 2010 celebration (Whip City Brewery)
Tickets are $10 each. To register, visit www.westfieldalumni.org/homecoming. Each ticket purchased before October 15 will include a second guest ticket at no additional cost. For more information, contact Tom Convery, Alumni Relations at [email protected] or (413) 485- 7358.