Alumna Gives History Department a Boost With Bequest, Fellowship

Sandra Rux

Sandra Rux’s love of history inspired her to give back to UConn in support of future historians.

When Sandra Rux ’69 (CLAS) was in the third grade, she went on a field trip to visit the Jamestown living history park in Virginia.

“I saw the reconstruction of the fort at Jamestown and the museum. It was the first real history museum I had ever been in, and they had this whole exhibit about Pocahontas. I was entranced,” she says.

She decided on the spot that she wanted to be a historian. She eventually did reach her goal, but only after she left a long and successful career as a computer programmer and manager at Southern New England Telephone and AT&T.

Sandra studied history at UConn and applied it in the business world, but only officially became a historian in her 50s. First, she did a summer internship in museum studies at Mystic Seaport Museum, then worked for several historic houses and organizations in Connecticut. In 2005, she took a job managing three historic houses in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Over the past 15 years, she served as a curator and researcher, putting on 16 exhibits in the houses.

Now retired, Sandra wants to give back and help future historians. She recently set up a bequest to provide an endowed fund to support research in the UConn History Department and established a fellowship to support students embarking on history internships and research projects. This is the first formal award to support internship experiences for students, and expands funding for research. It is open to all history students, with a preference for those studying the history of Colonial America or the broader Atlantic World.

The first award was recently awarded to senior Sulema DePeyster, a history major who is doing an oral history internship on the migration of Black residents to Windsor, Connecticut.

“I was very excited and thrilled to hear that I received this award,” Sulema says. “I am so grateful to be a recipient.”

History Department head Mark Healey said the award will help strengthen training and opportunities in public history and internships.

“This is a wonderful gift that opens up extraordinary opportunities for our students, and we are very grateful for it,” Mark says.

Sandra said she never expected she would have the resources to be able to make a bequest, and wanted to honor her UConn education.

“I think the training I got at UConn in history—the ability to do research, read widely, and learn a lot of different things—made it possible for me to adapt to changing careers,” she says. “I felt like I should give back for the great education I had.”

Like Sandra, you too can make a planned gift to support the spirit of lifelong learning at UConn. Contact Clayton Jason at (860) 942-9850 or to discuss your options.