Between the example of his family and the time he spent at Sacred Heart University, Joe Pagliaro, Jr., ’90 was more than prepared for a career in business and some time spent in local politics.

Pagliaro, who graduated from SHU with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in history, went on to embalming school so he could enter the family business. He also spent eight years serving on Shelton’s Board of Education, four of those as chairman – despite not having children of his own. “My family has always been civic-minded, and we have always believed in the importance of education,” he said.

Pagliaro officially joined the family business – Riverview Funeral Home in Shelton – in 1994 as funeral director. Today he is the senior vice president and oversees development and community outreach for the company, which added the Edward F. Adzima Funeral Home in Stratford in 1999.

Like his father before him, he has always been active in the community – a trait that was reinforced by his time at Sacred Heart. These days, he is in the midst of his third year of chairing the Valley United Way’s annual giving campaign.  He also is on the boards of the Valley Community Foundation – an organization founded by his father; the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, BHCares (formerly the Birmingham Group); St. Joseph High School in Trumbull and more.

“My hope for the work I am doing is that my nieces and nephews and others in the younger generation will continue the work that we have started,” he said. “Writing the check is one thing – and we need people who are willing to do that. But we also need people who are willing to give of their time and get in there and do the work.”

The Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce recently announced that Pagliaro will be the recipient of one of its Gold Seal Awards. The award goes to someone who has a position of responsibility in his or her chosen field, participates in a variety of community activities and has demonstrated leadership skills.

“My years at Sacred Heart were four of the best years of my life. I received a phenomenal education, had the opportunity to participate in amazing internships (two with fifth district Congressman and then Governor John Roland and one with the House Republicans), went to Scotland for the World Debates and worked closely and collaboratively with two outstanding academic advisers,” he said. “I also had a lot of fun. I learned many of the skills that have led to my success today, and I also learned the importance of balance in life.”

*Photo credit by Fred Ortoli Photography