A Westport couple has made a $75,000 gift to a new program at the University of Connecticut that helps disabled veterans launch entrepreneurial businesses.

Celeste and Norman LaCroix, both UConn graduates, made the gift to the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, a program in UConn's School of Business. The gift was announced in the UConn Foundation website.

UConn last year joined a national consortium of universities that offer the program. More than a dozen veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have attended program classes on UConn's Storrs campus.

Norman LaCroix is a senior director at the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York City. He said the timeliness and nature of the program and its participants led him to support it philanthropically, the foundation said.

"You walk away realizing that this is just a very impressive group of people. You can see that the vets are highly energized, highly motivated and possess the skills needed to be successful entrepreneurs," he told the foundation.

Norman LaCroix is a 1972 UConn grad, and Celeste LaCroix is a 1999 alumna. The foundation said they have been longtime UConn donors.

Norman LaCroix said veterans in the program had character traits that would serve them well in business.

"Every member of that (program) class overcame obstacles and had experiences that set them apart from the average person starting a business," he told the foundation. "First, they all volunteered to serve their country in a time of war. Then they became disabled, and had the fortitude and initiative to overcome whatever was put in front of them. That discipline, teamwork and maturity gives them a special leg up in the success of building a business."

For more information about UConn's entrepreneurship program for disabled veterans, visit: www4.business.uconn.edu/ebv/