Cigna Corporation received the 2012 Outstanding Strategic Partner Award at the University of Connecticut School of Business Hall of Fame Celebration last week. The annual award recognizes businesses or organizations that have strong ties to the university and have worked with the university in a mutually beneficial way.

“Our relationship with the university has increased significantly in the past year,” Cigna Spokesperson Joe Mundy told Insurance Networking News. “Now that our headquarters are in Connecticut we have initiated programs to deepen that relationship.”

Cigna relocated its headquarters to Bloomfield, Conn., from Pennsylvania in 2011.

“The Outstanding Strategic Partner Award recognizes Cigna for its exceptional commitment to the School through philanthropy, providing valuable internships for our students and special support of a wide variety of our academic programs,” said UConn School of Business Interim Dean Karla Fox.

In addition to offering paid internships—in project management, marketing and actuarial services—to business and technology students, Cigna established an innovation lab on campus last year. Management information systems, computer science, management of servers, hardware and software are all areas of development within the innovation lab. And, most recently, students are using the lab to create mobile applications for the insurer.

“They’re taking what we offer on desktop applications and moving them into the mobile space,” said Mondy. “We benefit from the expertise of their students, and they benefit from a relationship with a good community neighbor and a business partner.”

Cigna has contributed $2.3 million to the university in about a decade.

“Everyone at Cigna knows the value of UConn because we work alongside hundreds of their alumni in our global headquarters,” said Mark Boxer, Cigna Global CIO and EVP. Boxer is a graduate of the UConn, works as a UConn adjunct professor and has a daughter who attends the university, which was founded in 1941.

The University of Connecticut School of Business Hall of Fame Program was inaugurated in 1993 to recognize the business and civic achievements of its alumni. Since then, more than 100 graduates, faculty and corporate strategic partners have been awarded for their accomplishments and commitment.

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