Happy 63rd Birthday, University of Hartford!

February 21, 2020
University founders sign the charter starting the University.
Gov. Abraham Ribicoff signing the bill granting a charter to the University of Hartford. Looking on are four University founders (l-r) John G. Lee, director of research, United Aircraft Corp.; Alfred C. Fuller, chairman of the board, The Fuller Brush Co.; Mrs. T. Merrill Prentice, and Rep. George Schwolsky, attorney.

On February 21, 1957, Connecticut Governor Abraham Ribicoff signed a bill granting the charter to create the University of Hartford (UHart). The bill cleared the way for the merger of three separate, existing schools, Hillyer College, Hartt College of Music, and Hartford Art School, into one university.

UHart was designed initially to meet the needs of Hartford residents, especially soldiers returning from World War II. It has always been coed and open to all students, regardless of their background. Today’s UHart has greatly surpassed its modest beginnings. It encourages and educates students to be citizens of the world.

Being a UHart alumnus instills great pride and many want to stay connected. The University is fortunate to have strong alumni participation on its board of regents. Currently, all four officers of the board are alumni which has never been the case before.


Reflections from Our Regents

Alumni and Regents

On this 63rd Founders Day, we asked each officer “Why have you chosen to share your time and expertise with your alma mater?”  

David Gordon ’75, Chair

The reason I give my time and expertise to the University of Hartford is complicated yet at the same time quite simple. The simple answer is that it is my opportunity to give back and give to our future.  As I think about achievements in my life and career, I can see how the knowledge I obtained and the experiences I had while at UHart were instrumental in creating the foundation I needed to be successful. Today, when I meet UHart students, I am in awe of how smart they are and what they are doing to prepare for the contributions they will make to our world. I see the University of Hartford is empowering today’s students to be the innovators, visionaries, and leaders of tomorrow.  Knowing this make giving back to our University an imperative for me.

Kathy Behrens ’85, Vice Chair

It has been a great honor for me to serve on the board of regents. I owe so much to the University of Hartford that to be able to give back and ensure that the University can help prepare future generations of students for success is the true definition for me of “paying it forward.” 

Gary Masse ’85, Vice Chair

An education can change a person’s life.  The University of Hartford is a student-based institution where the faculty directly interact with students and prepare them for success.  I was one of those students who was taught, coached, and mentored by outstanding professors and staff. I would like to see others benefit as I did and that is why I share my time and expertise with my alma mater.

Paul Sittard ’85, Vice Chair

My involvement is part of a long family legacy with the University, my grandfather, my father, and my uncle were all graduates of the University of Hartford as well as my wife Joan, and my nephew Pat. During my undergraduate studies at the University, I was challenged both academically and as a student leader. I developed hard and soft skills that helped mold me and contributed to the person I am today. I had a transformational experience at Hartford and I want to give back and support the next generation of Hartford students and alumni.

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Mildred McNeill