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Newtown school principal awarded doctorate posthumously

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut elementary school principal who was among the 26 people killed in the 2012 Newtown school shootings will be awarded a doctorate degree posthumously from an upstate New York college, a college official says.

Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, was a doctoral candidate at the Esteves School of Education at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, before she was killed along with five other educators and 20 first-graders Dec. 14, 2012. The lone gunman also killed himself.

Lori Quigley, dean of education at Sage Colleges, said Hochsprung’s husband, daughter and other relatives will attend a commencement ceremony Saturday when she will be awarded the degree. Quigley said Hochsprung’s death affected everyone in the program and the other students wanted her to graduate with them.

“We rarely give out posthumous degrees, but you didn’t have to know Dawn for very long to realize she was special and certainly worthy,” Quigley said.

Hochsprung attended Sage part-time and completed five months. She was pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership. She eventually wanted to become a school superintendent, her daughter, Cristina Hassinger, said.

After Hochsprung’s death, The Sage Colleges established The Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center for the Promotion of Mental Health and School Safety in her memory.

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