Reprinted from Our Moment, with permission of the UConn Foundation
The middle of the 20th century was a time of upheaval and change in the United States, and for civil engineering student Thomas Stanley Juros of Manchester, that change took place at a campus social event in 1959. A handsome, cocky, aspiring Air Force pilot in the school’s ROTC Program, he was standing at the perimeter of the dance floor in the Student Union when a pretty girl caught his eye. He asked her to dance. She took one look at him and said yes.
From that day forward, Suzanne Lee Albrecht of Darien, a freshman in the School of Education, said yes often to him.
They graduated in 1963, she with a Phi Beta Kappa key, he with a commission as an Air Force officer. On her birthday three months later, they were married. (If she had said no, he, ever the pragmatic engineer, planned to buy a sports car.) They moved frequently as part of his commission; he traveled alone only when he received his orders for Vietnam. But he returned home safely a year later, and they settled in Cheshire, raising two children.
The paths they had forged at UConn served them well: He became a consulting civil engineer, eventually starting his own company, and she worked for 20 years as a first-grade teacher at Highland Elementary School in Cheshire. “Sue loved to teach children how to read,” he says. “And she knew how to handle children, so she could certainly handle me. It’s a tribute to her fine training at UConn that she was able to handle both.”
When the time came, they relished their retirement in Dennis, MA on Cape Cod, sharing happy hours together at Cold Storage Beach, traveling to UConn basketball and football games, gardening, golfing, and spending time with their children and two grandsons. To celebrate their 45th anniversary, they took a voyage on the Queen Mary II to the British Isles.
But it was to be another time of change for Tom Juros. While traveling in England, Sue fell ill and died suddenly. Her death left him stunned and devastated.
Others might have kept their memories to themselves. But Tom Juros wanted to memorialize his beloved wife in the most compelling way possible. He pledged a gift to the UConn Foundation to create the Suzanne Albrecht and Thomas Stanley Juros Scholarships, to be awarded annually to students in the Neag School of Education and the UConn School of Engineering. This year, Elyse S. Botelho in the Neag School and Kyle W. Hamilton in the School of Engineering will benefit.
“We met and shared a lot of happy times together at UConn,” he reflected. “I thought the scholarships would be a nice legacy for us.”