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President Woodward Announces Retirement

February 24, 2023
Hursey Center photo

University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward has announced his retirement this summer, following a tenure that yielded substantial progress on campus and led the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is after deep thought and reflection that I share my decision to retire at the end of my contract in June,” says Woodward, who has dedicated his life and career to higher education for 45 years. “I am extremely proud of the work that I have led here at UHart specifically—and of what we have accomplished together.”

Under President Woodward’s leadership, the University of Hartford has been enriched by:

  • The creation of the 60,000-square-foot Francis X. and Nancy Hursey Center for Advanced Engineering and Health Professions. The technology-rich facility houses our growing programs in engineering and health professions, and was part of a $58 million investment that included renovations to two existing academic spaces and increased classroom space for many general education courses.
  • The launch of 16 new and in-demand undergraduate and graduate academic programs, including nursing, aerospace engineering, business analytics, robotics, data science, occupational therapy (MA), computer science (MA), and digital media and journalism. UHart has increased online offerings and created new ventures in corporate programming, professional certificates, and combined or accelerated degree programs.
  • The successful completion of reaccreditation with the New England Commission of Higher Education and multiple reaccreditations for UHart’s schools and colleges.
  • A new focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, including new staffing, training, and programming.
  • A re-dedicated and holistic commitment to the success of all students. The Center for Student Success opened in 2019, a new space centralizing support services and providing a home for professional academic advisors for all first-year and transfer students. The efforts contributed to record increases in retention rates the first year, including a 16% increase for students of color.
  • An additional $47.5 million in capital improvements, including an expansion of the Barney School of Business and notable renovations to Millard Auditorium in The Hartt School and Gengras Student Union. The Village Apartments, home to more than 800 UHart students, were completely remodeled in summer 2022.
  • A transition to Division III athletics, better aligning athletics offerings with the institution’s mission and goals, while increasing opportunities for more student-athletes and offering more robust recreation and wellness programming for all students.
  • More than $75 million raised through impactful fundraising, including the largest gift from an alumnus in the University’s history and many new, strategic partnerships.
  • The development and launch of UHart Start—the University's five-year strategic action plan established to guide UHart's prioritized actions to transform the institution, ensure excellence, and sustain success. 
Greg and Penny Woodward
Penny and Greg Woodward pictured at Russell House (2018).

Woodward says he is grateful to have worked with so many talented and passionate students, faculty, staff members, Board of Regents members, alumni, and area partners over the past six years. He shared his gratitude with the campus community for the creation and support of the Penelope Woodward Memorial Scholarship, after losing his spouse, Penny, to cancer in 2021.

“If she were here today, I am certain she would encourage me to focus on creating new memories with our children and family at this point in my life,” Woodward says. “It is time for me to begin a new chapter—and for the University to continue to change and evolve as well.”

As the University’s sixth president, Woodward began his term July 1, 2017. A composer, musician, and scholar, he has worked in almost every conceivable role in higher education.

From 2012 to the end of the 2016–17 academic year, he served as president of Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, having previously served in several roles at Ithaca College. At Ithaca, Woodward led one of the premier undergraduate music conservatories in the country as dean of the School of Music, served as interim provost/vice president for academic affairs, and created and served as the inaugural dean of the Division of Graduate and Professional Studies.

He joined Ithaca’s Department of Music Theory, History, and Composition as a composer in 1984, becoming a full professor in 2000. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts from Cornell University, his master’s degree from Ithaca College, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

Woodward added that he is confident that the University’s current momentum will result in countless new opportunities and an even more transformative college experience for the thousands of amazing students at UHart.

The Board of Regents will share updates about succession planning with the UHart community in the near future.