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The Story of Robin '84 & Roger Chiasson '83 Remains Rooted to Western New England

By Kenneth Stratton '19 TUESDAY, JULY 2, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100

The world has changed a lot over the last almost four decades, but their relationship has remained constant, as the story of Robin (Wagner) ’84 and Roger Chiasson ’83 continues, and remains rooted to Western New England.

Robin works in underwriting management, currently employed as a VP in the Programs Division of Allied World Assurance Company. Roger is an attorney, sole proprietor of a law office in the Greater Bristol community. Together, they have three sons, Nick, Ryan and Ben. The careers they have and the family they built wouldn’t exist, if not for Western New England.

Robin first stepped foot on campus in 1980, a prospective student who immediately felt at home. By then, Western New England was Roger’s home, a soon to be sophomore studying history. Before long, through involvement on campus, they’d get to know each other.

“By the end of my sophomore year, thanks in large part to leadership roles in groups led by Dean Ted Zern and Maureen Hart Keizer, I had caught the Student Activities bug,” Robin said, explaining that this is where she made the connections that included Roger.

“We began dating in the March of my senior year having struck a conversation at the Info Desk in the old campus center that led to a date over March break,” Roger explains. The two had mutual friends, and had best known each other through Student Senate. But after Roger “wooed” Robin with daffodils and a picnic in Forest Park, they were soon a couple.

They stayed together through graduate school, while Roger went on to earn his JD and Robin her Master’s in Education. Her first full-time position came in residence life at Fitchburg State, before returning to Western New England as Assistant Director of Residence Life. Robin was living in Gateway Village on campus when she and Roger decided they’d get married.

“After six years in residence life/college administration, and a year of marriage, when Roger opened his private practice in Connecticut, we decided that living on a college campus no longer suited our newly married life and, I transitioned into insurance,” Robin explained of her career move.

In the meantime, Roger would spend a couple of years as a partner at Diamantis & Chiasson before opening the Law Offices of Roger E. Chiasson II, where he’s been since 1992. Roger runs a general practice law firm, with an emphasis on juvenile, real estate and probate matters.

“I have been active in the greater Bristol Community on non-profit boards and as a volunteer, have held town positions,” Roger added. When he is not in the law office and serving his community, he always prioritized his time as a father. “When the three boys were young I was also a Cub Scout leader and assisted on their Little League teams,” the attorney said.

“Critical thinking and strong communication skills have been a requirement of every paid and volunteer position I’ve held since college,” Robin said of her work, thanking her studies at Western New England for honing those skills. “I’ve worked for a variety of large publically traded insurance companies as well as a small privately owned startup operation,” she added, explaining that she holds several insurance designations: CPCU, ARM, ASLI, and RPLU.

Robin was just as involved in professional insurance organizations and in the community while they were raising a family together. Her involvement in the boys’ elementary school was recognized in 2015 when she received the Hartford Archdiocese School Volunteer of the Year award.

Once the kids grew older, Robin and Roger’s story found its way back to Western New England. By the end of his senior year of high school – and they promise without any coaching – oldest son Nick decided to become a Golden Bear.

“We immediately updated our wardrobe with Western New England sweatshirts and jackets and enjoyed his four years on campus,” Roger said. “We actually had a strong sense of déjà vu when Nick and his three engineering roommates were assigned to 12L Gateway Drive their senior year – for this was the very same apartment we lived in when Robin was Assistant Director,” he shared.

“Robin and I are confident the ties that began for Nick on the Western New England campus will be as strong with these friends as ours have 30-something years later,” Roger said. Robin agreed, saying that she is thankful for the University.

“When I left my position at Western New England in August of 1990 the staff held a little reception and I received a ‘WNEC’ keychain. The other day I looked down at my keys and realized that I still carry it with me – decades later,” Robin said. “I guess in countless ways both Roger and I have continued to carry Western New England with us, and now Nick will too,” she concluded.