Lawrence P. Ward Named President of the University of Hartford

A dynamic leader in the national higher education landscape with deep Connecticut roots has been selected to be the next president of the University of Hartford.

Lawrence Ward headshot

Lawrence P. Ward, Ed.D, currently vice president for learner success and dean of campus life at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, will become UHart’s seventh president on July 1. He will succeed Stephen Mulready M’77, who has served as acting president since the retirement of the University’s sixth president, Gregory Woodward, last summer.

“Following an extensive and comprehensive search process, the University’s Board of Regents was unanimous in our decision that Larry Ward is the right leader to steward the University of Hartford’s continued evolution and success,” says Board of Regents Chair Donald Allan Jr. ’86. “The Board and I want to thank Acting President Stephen Mulready for his selfless service as our interim president in this challenging post-COVID period for higher learning institutions. He is a great example for our students in giving back throughout a successful career. He has strengthened our foundation this year, and we are ready to keep building to new heights for the benefit of our students, region, and state.”

At Babson, Ward has played a central leadership role in shaping institutional priorities and strategic plans that have driven successful undergraduate and graduate student outcomes. During his 10-year tenure, Ward’s focus has been on seamlessly integrating the academic and co-curricular student experience, providing robust support structures for an increasingly diverse student body.

“I am honored and absolutely delighted to have been selected by the Board of Regents as the next president of the University of Hartford,” Ward says. “From my first interactions with the search committee and throughout the selection process, I felt a very strong connection and enthusiasm for the University and this extraordinary academic community. I am energized by our strategic opportunities for growth and confident in our ability to navigate the challenging landscape of higher education, while maintaining a relentless commitment to student success.”

UHart’s Presidential Search Committee, in partnership with national search firm WittKieffer, was led by University Regent Michael Daglio ’91, chief operating officer at Hartford HealthCare, one of the University’s strategic partners. Daglio says as the committee aligned what they heard from campus stakeholders with the qualifications of a large and diverse candidate pool, they seamlessly connected Ward’s professional experience, personal history, and leadership strengths with the University’s academic mission, vision, values, and goals.

At this important moment in the University’s history, the committee has complete confidence that we found the ideal individual to keep moving our vision to reality. At his core, Larry is an educator and a community connector. What he demonstrated to us throughout the process is that he is also a strategic thinker, a disciplined steward of financial resources, a champion for inclusive excellence, and an entrepreneurial leader.”

Michael Daglio ’91, Presidential Search Committee Chair; Chief Operating Officer, Hartford HealthCare
Lawrence Ward NCAA

Ward’s numerous accomplishments at Babson include providing vision and oversight for major capital construction projects; advancing fundraising priorities that enhance student well-being, belonging, and engagement; reimagining the student success infrastructure; building a championship intercollegiate athletics culture; developing new non-tuition revenue channels; and strengthening the College’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

Previously, Ward served as associate dean for academic programs at American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington, D.C. There, he led all degree programs and related student services, including enrollment management, academic advising, career services, and global learning programs. Ward previously served as managing director at PRS, Inc., an organizational development consulting firm, and as a health care account executive for Aetna.

He holds multiple leadership positions in higher education, including as a member of the NCAA Board of Governors, chair of the NCAA Division III Management Council, and trustee at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut. An engaging and popular speaker and panelist, he frequently speaks about how to help individuals and organizations reach their maximum potential for success.

“At each stage of my career, the hallmark of my leadership success has been my ability to authentically engage within and beyond my campus community,” Ward says. “In my experience, leading with personal authenticity and humility, as well as with vision and strategy, builds credibility, increases trust, and strengthens people’s willingness to work well together. That’s how I will approach my presidency at UHart.”

Ward earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut, his master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Michigan, and his doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds a faculty appointment in the Graduate School of Education.

Recipient of a host of honors and awards throughout his career, Ward has twice been recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Business Leaders of Color by the Charles River Chamber of Commerce, MetroWest, Massachusetts (2023, 2020). He is a 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award and William B. Castetter Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, and was honored with the Pillar of the Profession Award in 2021 by the NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Ward and his wife, Katerie, an elementary school teacher, are both from the greater Hartford area and they have two children: Aidan, who lives and works full time in New York City, and Emerson, who will begin college this fall. His extended family has been a staple in the Hartford region since the 1940s. Ward’s father is president emeritus of the Hartford Jazz Society, his mother is a retired human resources executive, and his brother is currently senior pastor of First Church Congregational in West Hartford.

“My most fundamental truth is that leadership success is about the people whom I lead and the communities that I serve,” Ward adds. “Without question, returning home to Hartford to lead this incredible institution into its next chapter is a very special and exciting opportunity for my family and me.”

UHart’s new president will enter at a time of both great momentum and tremendous opportunity for the 67-year-old institution. Currently entering the final stages of its strategic action plan, UHart Start, the University has been focused on holistic student success and growing its strategic partnerships, adding valuable support, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities for students.

Stanley Black & Decker, Hartford HealthCare, Pratt & Whitney, and other industry leaders in Connecticut are stepping up to make significant investments into the University of Hartford. We recognize the talented pipeline of students receiving an exceptional and hands-on educational experience at UHart, and what that means for the future of our workforce in the state. It’s a transformational time and President-Elect Ward will be a critical partner in our growth.

Donald Allan Jr. '86, President & CEO, Stanley Black & Decker; Chair, UHart Board of Regents

Ward agrees that a sustainable and vibrant future for the University of Hartford is linked closely to playing a prominent and contributing role in the vitality of the greater Hartford region and state of Connecticut. He says he is excited by the prospects of collaborating creatively with major corporations, elected officials, civic organizations, and other local colleges to expand UHart’s educational and economic ecosystem. Ward notes that strengthening the formal connections across the greater Hartford region is also vital to expanding UHart’s enrollment model and elevating the brand to new levels of recognition beyond the region.

With recent year-over-year increases in applications and enrollment, UHart is currently benefiting from a host of recently introduced in-demand academic programs. Many of these are housed in the striking 60,000-square-foot Francis X. and Nancy Hursey Center for Advanced Engineering and Health Professions. The technology-rich facility, which opened in late 2021, has transformed the campus—both in physical appearance and in the manner that UHart can attract and serve students in multiple high-growth programs. Last month, the creation of the Allan Center for Career and Professional Development was announced, encompassing the growing number of initiatives and programs that are available to students University wide to promote career readiness.

“As an alumnus, board chair, and long-time corporate partner, I understand running a modern institution of higher learning has complex opportunities and challenges,” Allan says. “I look forward to the energy and experience Dr. Ward will infuse into the positive trajectory of priorities at UHart, and to a smooth transition of leadership with Acting President Mulready in the coming months.”

Poised to Pursue a New Future

campus photo

“I have long admired the University’s unique array of schools and academic units, including compelling combinations of the liberal, performing, and creative arts, with great depth in the sciences and professions. As president, I will embrace not only UHart’s mission, proud history, and strengths, but also confidently lean into new opportunities and substantive challenges—while demonstrating a deep appreciation for the values of transparency and community engagement.”

—Lawrence P. Ward
University of Hartford President-Elect


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