UHart's Top 23 Moments of 2023
The 2023 calendar year was an exciting one for the University of Hartford. Let's take a look back at our most memorable moments.
1. We reached new enrollment heights and launched in-demand programs.
UHart enthusiastically welcomed more than 1,400 new undergraduate students to campus last fall. This promising class is the largest since 2017, driven by rising applications, high-demand programs, Division III athletics, and impressive facilities like the Hursey Center.
UHart recently launched several new programs to continue to meet the needs of our undergraduate and graduate students, including environmental science, environmental studies, animation and game art, sports management, supply chain and logistics management, construction management + technology, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Master of Arts in Integrated Communication. See all our programs.
President Joe Biden addressed gun safety legislation in a packed Lincoln Theater at the University of Hartford June 16, as a crowd of nearly 700 people—including legislators from across the country—convened for an all-day summit. This is the second sitting president to visit UHart, as President Barack Obama spoke on campus in 2013 on reducing gun violence.
Field hockey and men’s & women’s tennis will be available beginning in fall 2024 with varsity competition to commence in fall 2025. The additions will increase the number of intercollegiate sports offered by the University to 20. The enthusiasm surrounding these new programs will intersect with the opening of UHart’s new track and field on campus, scheduled for completion in late 2024.
Neal Katyal—a prominent lawyer, scholar, and national news commentator who has argued dozens of cases before the Supreme Court—spoke on Oct. 3 at the University of Hartford about the recent affirmative action ruling and its monumental impact. The “What’s Next: Unpacking the Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action with Neal Katyal” program was part of the University's Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Program.
5. Teddy, UHart's new comfort dog, joined the campus community.
The 2-year-old Labrador retriever joined the pack at UHart’s Department of Public Safety as a campus comfort canine. An unconventional life for any pup, but one that brings him—and all his new student pals—immense joy.
Teddy always does his job with a smile. And a wag. Well, if you consider it “work” to bask in attention, belly rubs, chin scratches, and compliments all day long.
The “Be a Force for Good Scholarship” initiative provides a total of $600,000 in scholarships over four years to UHart’s Stanley Black & Decker Scholars, focusing on students underrepresented in business, including first-generation and BIPOC college students. Scholars receive up to $10,000 toward their UHart education each year. The initiative also includes mentoring programs and early career opportunities.More about this program.
The Class of 2023 nursing students made history at UHart as the first group to graduate from the Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) program. On May 13, they took part in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions’ first-ever pinning ceremony for BSN students, which officially welcomes them into the profession. The next day, they walked across the stage at Commencement.Congrats, BSN students!
Thanks to the generosity of the Dunn family, unforgettable study abroad experiences are now more accessible to UHart students. The West Hartford couple gifted $1.8 million for study abroad scholarships, granting access to so many students who never imagined extending their education to another country.More about this scholarship
9. Our women’s soccer team claimed the ECAC postseason championship!
The top-seeded University of Hartford women's soccer team claimed the 2023 Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III postseason championship with a 6–0 victory over the third-seeded University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.The Hawks finished the 2023 season with 12 consecutive wins, ending with an impressive 16–2 record.
Representatives from the United States Secret Service recently spent three days on campus to actively recruit UHart students to apply for careers with its law enforcement agency. UHart partnered with the Secret Service as an official participant in its Special Agent Talent and Achievement Recruitment Program, also known as the STAR Program.
UHart honored Hartford HealthCare CEO Jeffrey Flaks at a celebration on campus that raised $300,000 in scholarships to support students across all academic programs. The Executive Leader of the Year Award reception drew more than 200 people from prominent businesses in the region, corporate partners, the health-care industry, and the UHart community.
Iranian artist Minoo Emami's retrospective solo show featured an array of multimedia pieces. The exhibit, Minoo Emami: Under My Veil, evoked themes of resistance and resilience that came together to transform the trauma of war and oppression into objects of beauty and hope. The exhibition and related programming provided an opportunity to learn about Persian aesthetics, Islamic customs, and the events in modern Iranian history that inform Emami’s work.
13. UHart professor studied CT bridges with AI.
Clara Fang, professor of civil engineering in UHart’s College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, is using artificial intelligence to evaluate and predict infrastructure needs of Connecticut’s more than 5,000 bridges. Fang received a $238,000 research grant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration as lead investigator for the project, which is spanning two years. Fang’s team will be using AI to better predict the bridge performance and deterioration process. Creating a more advanced prediction model will allow the state to further plan for bridges for years and decades to come.
Hawktober Reunion and Family Weekend 2023 was a massive success, bringing together alumni, parents, students, and friends of UHart! Despite the rainy start, we welcomed more than 1,200 individuals to campus. Hawktoberfest welcomed more than 600 alumni, students, and parents into Konover Campus Center for student performances, snacks, games, and even some dancing.See Hawktober Photos
Henry "Hank" Bolden earned his degree from UHart at the age of 86. But getting there has also required more resilience than anyone could imagine. Bolden is an “Atomic Veteran,” one of thousands of Black soldiers used in government experiments focused on nuclear weapons exposure during the Cold War. He fought to receive support for medical treatment once it all became public knowledge decades later. But music was always in Bolden’s heart. After traveling and playing saxophone as a musician, Bolden decided to pursue a degree at The Hartt School.Read Hank's Story
Four students pursuing their doctorate of physical therapy, along with Assistant Professor TJ Bellama, traveled across the globe to Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands to help fill the gap in physical therapy care by treating patients of all ages while living in their community for a month. Students worked in a small private health clinic aiding patients’ musculoskeletal conditions, as well as other issues based on need, and visited the local hospital and other nearby clinics to observe.Read full story
17. CETA celebrated another successful Design Expo showcasing student innovation.
The Hursey Center was filled with support from families and industry professionals as students presented at the Spring 2023 CETA Design Expo on Friday, April 28. The design expo is a biannual event hosted at the end of each semester, with students sharing their innovative projects intended to help others or solve a particular problem. The design expo provides students with a realistic product-pitching experience. Teams are expected to not only design and create prototypes of their inventions, but also present their ideas the same way industry professionals do.
The 2023 Day of Giving saw increases across the board over last year in the number of gifts, alumni paying it forward, donors supporting the University of Hartford, and guests at kickoff events. Through 908 donors making gifts totaling $329,186, the campus community benefited from support for financial aid, clubs and organizations, academic programs, and much more. Donors offering 27 challenges and 12 matches gave an incredible boost to the festivities, motivating even more people to make a difference.Impact by the Numbers
A University of Hartford student was awarded a prestigious international affairs fellowship, becoming the first from UHart to earn the honor. Benedicta “Benie” Kwarteng ’23 was granted a 2023 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship following a nationwide competition of nearly 900 highly qualified candidates. Just 45 fellows were chosen across the country. The program will allow the multi-lingual Kwarteng to pursue her master’s degree, work overseas and stateside with a member of Congress, and become a U.S. diplomat.More about the Rangel Fellowship
After a three-year gap due to the pandemic, second-year Hillyer College Honors students once again headed to the island of O’ahu for the annual Hawaii Honors Experience Winterterm course. Professor of History Robert Churchill, Professor of Business David Goldenberg, and Instructor of English and Speech Maria Johnson accompanied the students on the 12-day trip, where they studied Buddhism, the cultural diversity of the Hawaiian Islands, and the history of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In addition, they met with United States District Court Judge Derrick Watson to discuss current topics in the law.
The Anchor Awards are the University’s most prestigious alumni awards, established to recognize alums who have distinguished themselves by achieving the highest levels of professional and community accomplishments. This year’s recipients were David G. Nord ’79, Jackson D. Olson ’20, Netanya “Nina” Nhatavong ’20, Carole P. Kunstadt ’73, Kimberly “Kim” K. Goodwin M’00, Marlon E. Guild A’03, ’05, Karen S. Nobumoto Esq.; '73, Luella “Lu” D. Landis ’66, M’70, Scott C. Jarzombek ’99, and Jolie A. Rocke DMA; ’89.
One of The Hartt School’s most recognizable names—and one of the most celebrated vocalists of all time—has received another honor. This past summer, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the 46th honorees for lifetime artistic achievements, one of whom was Dionne Warwick. At the ceremony, which also included a reception at the White House, Warwick was quoted as saying, “I must say, it is a privilege to wear this medallion. It means that the recognition of the 62 years that I have given to you is now being recognized.”
23. We celebrated the success of our students!
Approximately 1,200 University of Hartford graduates received their degrees during two separate Commencement ceremonies at downtown Hartford's XL Center on Sunday, May 14.
Congratulations, Class of 2023!
Thank you, UHart Community, for making 2023 a year to remember.
We launched new programs, set records, welcomed President Biden to campus, celebrated student achievements and exciting career opportunities, created new scholarships, raised funds for our students, and honored many deserving alumni, students, faculty, and staff for their continued successes.
We look forward to a new year and new stories to share in 2024!