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SJC On Capitol Hill

May 21, 2010

Visiting Capitol Hill several times each year is a routine that many college presidents follow to ensure that their federal legislators are familiar with the latest campus activities. So it was that I made the trek to Washington, DC during the first week of May for day that turned out to be just terrific! In addition to the perfect spring weather, two things made it particularly special. First, as my colleagues and I visited Connecticut’s legislators, their staff members rolled out the red carpet of welcome. They were eager to speak with us about the College’s new Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders and to hear from its director, Dr. John Molteni, about the recently-launched graduate certificate program in Applied Behavior Analysis. Their interest and support made each office visit better than the last. But a special highlight was that our meeting with Senator Dodd actually brought us to the floor of the Senate!

A lithograph of the Senate President's Room from 1865 (Presidents Room. N. Wing U.S. Capitol. by Edward Sachse & Co., Casimir Bohn; Lithograph, hand-colored, 1865; Cat. no. 38.00020.001; www.

We were more than a little impressed to visit the “President’s Room” and sit at the table where U.S. presidents have signed bills into laws. It was amazing to be able to hear first-hand from Senator Dodd about the history and processes used to select the portraits that graced the ornate walls. He explained how past senators who had made significant contributions were balanced by party. We even took advantage of the opportunity to take our photos with the portrait of Thomas Jefferson!

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