Jessica Ashley Gleason

, of New Canaan, received Bachelor of Science in human environmental sciences from The University of Alabama in December.

Two New Canaan natives received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison during the winter commencement ceremony on Dec. 16.

Michelle Halpert earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering and Graham Mink earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the College of Letters and Science.

The Rev. Kathryn Kibbie Laird, the interim acting head of staff of the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, was elected to the Dean’s Advisory Council at Yale Divinity School.

The mission of the Dean’s Advisory Council is to support YDS as the world’s foremost center of excellence for preparing responsible Christian leaders for churches, the academy, and the world. The DAC has a diverse and distinguished membership of around 45 individuals, which includes national and international faith leaders as well as leaders from business, professional, academic, and non-government sectors, including YDS alumni, Yale alumni, and friends of the university.

Laird is a Yale Divinity School graduate and has worked full time for the past 18 years as an ordained Presbyterian minister for children, youth, and families, in Pleasantville, N.Y., Greenwich and New Canaan.

Two New Canaan natives were recently named to Colby College’s dean’s list for outstanding academic achievement during the fall semester, earning a semester grade-point average of 3.77 or higher.

Michael B. DiCosmo, a member of the class of 2018, attended New Canaan High School and is the son of Mary DiCosmo and Bruno DiCosmo, of New Canaan. DiCosmo majored in biology with a concentration in cell and molecular biology and biochemistry.

Jose M. Minuesa, a member of the class of 2021, attended St. Luke’s School and is the son of Juan Minuesa Asensio and Raquel Senovilla, of New Canaan. Minuesa’s major is undeclared.

DePauw University congratulated Benjamin Otis, from New Canaan, on being named to the fall dean’s list. The dean’s list recognizes students who achieve a semester GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

New Canaan’s Alyssa Biondo and Nicole Curto were named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at Quinnipiac University. To qualify for the dean’s list, students must earn a GPA of at least 3.5 with no grade lower can C.

Brooke Holland, of New Canaan, was named to Denison University’s fall semester dean’s list. Students who achieve dean’s list status have maintained a GPA of 3.7 or better (out of 4.0) for the semester. Holland is a member of the Denison class of 2021.

Caroline M. Muller, of New Canaan, has been named to the president’s list at Clemson University for the fall semester. To be named to the president’s list, a student must achieve a 4.0 (all As) GPA.

Muller is majoring in language and international trade.

Two other New Canaan natives were named to Clemson’s dean’s list, having achieved GPAs between 3.50 and 3.99.

Bridget K. Callahan is majoring in psychology and Andrew J. Chalon is majoring in civil engineering.

Do you like meeting new people or trying new activities? Are you looking for a book group or a friendly bridge game? The Encore Club of New Canaan may be just the thing for you.

Founded more than 30 years ago as a women’s social organization with fun and friendship in mind, Encore Club continues to this day, offering a variety of activities and events throughout the year.

The Encore winter luncheon is scheduled for Feb. 27 at the Roger Sherman Inn, where guest speaker, Julie Pryor, founder of Pryority Wellness, will discuss “Priority You,” and share simple steps for moving to a more balanced, healthy life in mind, body and spirit.

Learn more about Encore Club activities, events and membership by visiting

Dance shoes in closets around Fairfield County are being brought out for polishing as leaders of the local business community begin the demanding process necessary to compete in ElderHouse Adult Day Center’s annual Dancing with the Stars.

The fifth annual gala benefit is being held March 24 from 6 to 11 p.m., at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.

The gala event showcases seven Fairfield County business representatives, each paired with an award-winning dance professional from Norwalk’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, who donate their time to practice routines, hone them to perfection, and compete in this exciting and impressive dance competition.

The notable lineup of 2018 dancers representing Fairfield County includes:

Carolyn Donohue-Ulman, assistant to president and director of Trademark Anti-Counterfeit, Dooney & Bourke in Norwalk;

Hank Fatigate, general manager of the Little Pub in Wilton

Eric Ferraris, chief operating officer at Toohner-Ferraris Insurance Group in Wilton;

Nathan Gottlieb, co-owner of All Seasons Marine Works, located in Rowayton and Westport;

Karen Kelly, senior vice-president at First County Bank in Stamford;

Andrea Kostanecki, a realtor at William Pitt Sotheby’s in Rowayton;

Kristin McClutchy, owner of Pure Barre Darien;

Dancing with the Stars Gala Benefit is ElderHouse’s largest annual fundraising event and helps the Norwalk nonprofit to sustain its award-winning program of adult care, socialization, and recreational activities to a senior population living with aging diseases. Funds will be raised through ticket sales, pledges, onsite voting, live auction, and a paddle raise.

For more information on how to donate, make a pledge to a favorite dancer, or for event tickets, contact ElderHouse at 203-847-1998 or visit

Stewart’s Market and Planet New Canaan have teamed up to promote the use of reusable bags and support The New Canaan All Sports Booster Club.

From now until mid-March, for every reusable bag used, 5 cents will go to New Canaan All Sports Booster Club.

This donation is in addition to the Stewart’s Market policy of a 5-cent discount for each reusable bag used by customers. Any reusable bag may be used for the donation and discount. Stewart’s Market sells a variety of their own bags, including an insulated bag, and customers can use their T-Bill points toward the purchase of bags.

Planet New Canaan is a non-partisan group, founded by local members of the community, committed to bringing awareness about the environmental issues that face New Canaan and the world, both today and in the future, through film screenings, presentations and community outreach.