Advocacy and Outreach -- Participating in the Process of Governing 
Pat Boyd, Connecticut State Representative
Jennifer Widness, President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC)

Join Jennifer Widness, president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) and a CAIS counter-part in independent college education, and Pat Boyd, an elected state representative (who also happens to be a CAIS school employee), to discuss how schools can better engage and partner with their state representative to benefit independent education and their school.

Pat Boyd was first elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives on November 8, 2016. Representative Boyd is privileged to serve the Quiet Corner of the state, which includes the towns of Brooklyn, Eastford, Pomfret, Union and Woodstock. Representative Boyd serves on the Children and Public Safety Committees, and he is the House Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee. In addition to his legislative duties, Representative Boyd is a lifelong educator as an administrator in both public and private schools at various grade levels. He is currently the Assistant Dean of Students and a History/Government Teacher, Dorm Parent, and baseball coach at the Pomfret School.


Jennifer Widness is president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC), a voluntary association of 15 private, nonprofit colleges and universities located in Connecticut whose Board of Directors is comprised of the Presidents of CCIC’s member institutions. CCIC provides public policy leadership and support of higher education, fosters cooperative efforts among colleges and universities and serves as a liaison between the state and the independent institutions. Jen served as Vice President of CCIC from January 2011 until she was named president in June 2015.

Prior to joining CCIC, Jen worked at the Connecticut State Department of Education legal division as a staff attorney and legislative liaison. Before that she worked as an associate in the litigation practice group at Carmody and Torrance, LLP. Prior to attending law school, Jen worked on public policy for a national non-profit organization in Washington, D.C.

Jen serves on a number of Boards and Committees at a state, regional and national level representing Connecticut’s independent college. She is on the Executive Committee and member of the Connecticut delegation for the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), an ex-officio member of the Governor’s Workforce Council, a member of CT’s Preschool through Twenty Workforce Information Network (P20-WIN) Executive Board, and a member of the Legal Services Review Panel for the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities (NAICU). Jen also served on Governor Lamont’s Re-Opening Higher Education Committee in the spring of 2020.

Jen earned her law degree, cum laude, from American University in Washington, D.C. and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.