by Shaina Blakesley
After 33 years as an integral member of the Blue Devil family, Ken DeStefanis, director of RECental at Central Connecticut State University, has retired.
DeStefanis worked in the RECentral department for the last 12 years and officially retired on Friday, Sept. 29.
DeStefanis sent an email to all his student workers, thanking them for their hard work.
“I want to thank all of you for an outstanding experience. We are off to a great start this year,” DeStefanis wrote in his email to the RECentral staff.
Those who worked with DeStefanis said he made an impact on everyone around him; from his bad jokes to his positivity and compassion.
“We are all so thankful to him for having such an impact in all of our lives and I believe he will always be the face of RECentral,” said senior and elementary education major, Macie Leheny.
Leheny worked with DeStefanis for four years at RECentral; she began working for him as just a fitness center worker and eventually became an office manager.
Student staff workers are not the only ones who have changed their outlook on life and careers.
“He has made me a better person and professional staff. We hope to continue to grow the department and to improve on what Ken has built here at CCSU,” said assistant recreation director, Scott Kazar.
RECentral is an integral operation within the Division of Student Affairs at CCSU.
The purpose of RECentral is to support students and faculty in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is brought to Central students through recreation, fitness, club sports and intramural activities, much of which was possible because of DeStefanis’s work in RECentral.
“His legacy is RECentral because he put all of his sweat and tears into the program and built it to be all that it is today,” Leheny said.
DeStefanis enjoyed working as RECentral’s director and recreation specialist. His favorite aspect of his job is “providing opportunities for students to set better lifestyle behaviors in health and wellness,” according to DeStefanis.
Kazar is the new acting RECentral director, stepping up to bat once DeStefanis left for retirement. Kazar intends to continue on the same track that DeStefanis paved in years prior.
“I would like to continue the positive atmosphere that Ken has created and implement more structure to improve the program for the future,” Kazar said.
Leheny believes that Kazar will continue to excel as the acting director, but the RECentral office will be different without DeStefanis; she joked about the cleanliness and organization of the office now.
“I think we’ll all miss his corner stacked with every paper he ever touched over his 30-plus years here,” Leheny said jokingly.
DeStefanis brought many things to RECentral but both Leheny and Kazar relayed that they will miss his sense of humor. Kazar said he will hold on to the fond memories of DeStefanis’ stories and repetitive antics.
“No matter what time of day it was or what was going on in the office, I could always rely on him to lighten the mood and crack a joke that left people laughing. They weren’t always funny but we all couldn’t help but laugh anyway,” Leheny said.
RECentral will continue to grow and expand in the way DeStefanis hoped for when he started working for the department.
“RECentral is going to move forward bigger, better and stronger. Please continue to strive for greatness in your lives,” DeStefanis said.