Post University’s search for oldest living alumni finds 100-year-old Helena Distefano Summa

Waterbury native graduated from Post College in 1931

WATERBURY, Conn.--()--It looks like Post University has found its oldest living alumni: 100-year-old Waterbury native Helena Distefano Summa, who graduated from Post College in 1931. Summa was discovered after the University launched a search for its oldest living alumnus in February as part of the University’s upcoming 125th anniversary celebration. Helena will turn 101 in September.

Helena Distefano attended Hopeville Elementary School, where she was her class valedictorian. After taking typing and bookkeeping courses at Wilby High School, Helena decided she had most of the skills she needed to succeed in the business world and enrolled at Post College. The college was then located in downtown Waterbury in the Jones Morgan Building on Bank Street, and Helena remembers making the mile long walk to school, and then home again, every day. “I remember the typing room and all the new typewriters,” Helena said during a recent phone interview from her current home in Florida. “Miss Edna Dews was my stenography teacher, and students had to transcribe letters Miss Dews dictated and then type them perfectly in order to move on to the next lesson.” Aside from typing, Helena also worked on her math skills. “We didn’t even have adding machines at the time,” said Helena. “I learned to do all the mathematics work in my head.”

Upon graduation in 1931, Helena entered the workforce as a cashier at Kay Jewelers in Waterbury and remained with the company for two years. She shares more about her time at Post and personal journey in Waterbury through a story that’s posted on the Post University blog. More than a dozen other former Post students in their 90s also responded to the search. The University will include additional stories from long-time alumni and others who have been part of the Post University family on their blog in the months leading up to the 125th anniversary celebration in April 2015.

“We are excited to hear from long-time members of our Post family,” said Don Mroz, Ph.D., President of Post University and Founding Dean of the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business. “We look forward to gathering and sharing the stories of those who have played such an important role in our long history, right here in Waterbury.”

Post University will be collecting audio and video stories over the next 12 months. People who wish to participate in the oral history project should contact Bob Sembiante at bsembiante@post.edu.

Post University traces its roots to downtown Waterbury, where in 1890 the Mattoon Shorthand School began operations in a rented space on Bank Street. The Mattoon School was renamed Bliss & Harrington’s Business College and School of Shorthand in 1893, and New York state resident Harry C. Post moved to Waterbury to become the school’s principal in 1897; he bought the school within a year. The school’s name was changed many times while it grew in downtown Waterbury, from Waterbury Business College to Post College, to Post Junior College of Commerce to Post Junior College. In 1965, the University acquired its current-day campus property on Country Club Road in Waterbury. Today, the school offers both on-ground and online education to a growing number of students throughout the region, country, and world.

About Post University

For nearly 125 years, Post University has been providing student-focused, career-driven education to help students develop the knowledge, personal skills and experience required to be leaders in their chosen fields. Located in Waterbury, Conn., Post University provides a wide array of degree programs for on-campus and online students of all ages. It is known for its quality, career-driven academic programs, small classes, and competitive NCAA Division II athletics. Its full- and part-time students come from the United States and abroad, and are supported by faculty whose mission is to prepare students to compete and succeed in today’s global workplace. To learn more about Post University, visit www.Post.edu/ or call 800.345.2562.

Contacts

Post University
Bob Sembiante, Communications Associate
203-591-7360
bsembiante@post.edu

Release Summary

Post University’s search for oldest living alumni finds 100-year-old Helena Distefano Summa; Waterbury native graduated from Post College in 1931

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Contacts

Post University
Bob Sembiante, Communications Associate
203-591-7360
bsembiante@post.edu