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Nonprofit leader Lena Rodriguez named 132nd commencement speaker

Published on April 06, 2022

Nonprofit leader Lena Rodriguez named 132nd commencement speaker

Lena RodriguezLena Rodriguez, CEO and president of the Community Renewal Team in Hartford, CT, will give the commencement address at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 132nd Commencement Exercises on May 17. The graduation takes place in the XL Center in Hartford, with the formal program beginning at 6 p.m.  Rodriguez will also receive an honorary degree from Eastern during the commencement exercises.

In her role at CRT, Rodriguez has taken the lead on several large, innovative projects dedicated to helping people in need, including: CRT Generations, a housing development in Hartford for grandparents with legal custody of their grandchildren; Veterans Crossing, a transitional residence for homeless vets located in East Hartford; and The Retreat, a unique affordable assisted living facility in the heart of Hartford for 100 low-income seniors. In addition, she worked tirelessly to preserve vital mental health and addiction services in Hartford, creating a licensed and accredited Behavioral Health Services unit at CRT that is accessible to people from all income levels, regardless of whether they have health insurance.

In 2019, Rodriguez realized a life-long dream with the official opening of CRT’s Women’s Empowerment Center located on Market Street in Hartford. Over the past 10 years, more than 50 percent of the people served by CRT have been women and girls. Today, with a broad range of hands-on services and personal mentoring for its members, the Women’s Empowerment Center is helping women to thrive and reach their true potential.

Prior to joining CRT, Ms. Rodriguez spent a decade at the New York City Board of Education as director of finance for the Division of Special Education, serving a population of more than 20,000 students and managing a $450 million annual budget.

As a result of Rodriguez’s commitment to quality, CRT has received numerous awards for excellence from various local, state and national entities. Rodriguez sets high standards for herself and her team, and she has successfully led the organization through accreditation by third-party national organizations including the Joint Commission and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Rodriguez received her Master of Science degree from Rensselaer Institute in Hartford and her undergraduate degree in International Business from Bernard Baruch College. Outside of CRT, she serves on several boards for area nonprofit organizations. She is also an avid golfer, helping to establish the Connecticut Latinas Golf Team.

Written by Ed Osborn