The love story between Thomas and Eunice Groark began on their first day of classes at the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1963 and lasted for the rest of their lives. The couple’s generosity to their alma mater has been equally enduring.
“They had lunch together, fell in love and the rest is history,” said Virginia Groark, one of the couple’s three daughters. “They both heavily credited UConn Law for giving them their life partner and for getting them ready for their professional careers.”
In 2003, the couple established the Tom and Eunice Groark Scholarship. The merit-based award, for which every student is eligible, was created to give opportunity to students from every walk of life. Virginia said it was important to her parents that the funds be available for any student from any background.
“Meeting the scholarship recipients was always a highlight of my mom’s spring,” Virginia said. “She would call me after the dinner and just rave about how amazing these students are and the wonderful things they were doing.”
Both Tom and Eunice died in 2018. After steadily donating to the scholarship fund for years, the Groarks left a final bequest in Tom’s will.
The Groarks married in June 1964, after their second year of law school. After graduation from UConn Law in 1965, both enjoyed long and successful careers.
Eunice served on the Hartford City Council and as the city’s corporation counsel before she was elected Connecticut’s first female lieutenant governor, serving with Gov. Lowell P. Weicker from 1990 to 1994. She later ran for governor on the ticket of A Connecticut Party, which she and Weicker had founded. After retiring from politics, she worked on myriad civic projects and served as president of the Connecticut chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
Tom Groark entered law school after serving as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy. Immediately after graduation he joined the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where his work included investigating the 1965 attack on civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama, and enforcing voting rights. He later joined Day Berry & Howard (now Day Pitney) in Hartford, where he became managing partner. His many civic contributions included serving as president of the board of the Hartford Stage Co.
“Tom and Eunice Groark lived complete and memorable lives,” said Timothy Fisher, dean of UConn Law. “They embraced our state and this institution completely and we are so grateful for that.”