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Board Chair Message to Community

Dear Community Members and Friends,

Lucille Nickerson, Board of Regents Chair

I am delighted to inform you that, earlier today, the Board of Regents voted unanimously to approve the recommendation of the Presidential Search Committee to appoint Gregory S. Woodward as the sixth President of the University of Hartford, effective July 1, 2017.  President-Designate Woodward comes to us from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he has served as president since 2012.

Our search began nearly a year ago, with extensive outreach to the University community to identify the qualities and experience we sought in our next president.  That feedback formed the basis of our Position Statement, which emphasized the importance of recruiting a president who would embrace the University of Hartford’s values and mission and someone who could see the opportunities in our liberal arts core coupled with our professional schools and colleges, and who could build on our strengths to enhance our academic reputation and financial position.  Of the many excellent candidates whose credentials were considered, Greg Woodward emerged as the clear leader.

Greg’s experience and accomplishments align well with our vision for this University. At Carthage, he is known and respected for thinking strategically. Under his leadership, the college recently completed a 10-year strategic plan, “Carthage in the Year 2025,” and the first President’s Task Force on Diversity was created.  He has focused intently on the student experience, including the creation of a Center for Student Success, the addition of scholarship opportunities particularly for underrepresented groups and students who encounter unexpected financial need, and the creation of new positions for experienced professionals to coordinate student internship opportunities. He has also increased the number of women in Carthage’s administration and on the board of trustees, raised first to second year retention rates, as well as graduation rates, to all-time high Carthage levels, and implemented enrollment efforts that have increased the percentage of first-year students of color by 75 percent since 2014. Also during his tenure at Carthage, a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing major was introduced and major revisions were made to the Honors Program. These are but a few examples of his experiential alignment with our strategic goals, values, and mission.

In interviews with Greg our search committee members were impressed by his energy and enthusiasm for leading the University of Hartford.  He told us that building on all that is best at the University across each of our disciplines and in each of our schools and colleges is one of the most exciting and compelling aspects of this opportunity.

“I am very impressed by the wide range of programs offered at the University and believe that this is a unique strength of the institution,” he said “Coupling deep professional preparation inside a strong intellectual core is a powerful model that has proven successful.”

Greg describes the ideal college experience as “an intentional mix of academic, experiential, and student life learning opportunities that also delivers space for the joy of random discovery. University of Hartford graduates,” he said, “will be broadly educated, professionally trained, intellectually curious, and prepared to lead rich lives in a world they will help to shape.”

Greg holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Cornell University, where he was a student of Pulitzer Prize-winning Czechoslovakian composer Karel Husa. He earned his master’s degree from Ithaca College and bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut. He was a fellow in higher education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and is a graduate of Harvard’s New President Institute.

Greg is highly involved in the civic life of Kenosha, serving in leadership roles with United Way and in the business community, youth-serving organizations, community development initiatives and public and private education.   He played Division I soccer as a college student and spent many years coaching the sport throughout upstate New York.

In the course of his career, Greg has distinguished himself in the field of musical arts. Yet it is readily apparent that over the past twenty years he has expanded his administrative range and capability and has a broad-based commitment to both the liberal arts and professional areas of study.

Prior to Carthage, he rose through the ranks of academic administration at Ithaca College to become dean of the School of Music, one of the premier undergraduate music conservatories in the country, and also served as interim provost/vice president for academic affairs and dean of Ithaca’s 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 previously served on the music faculties of Cornell and Valparaiso universities and was an ongoing guest lecturer in the School of Music at Yale University. A graduate of Hall High School in West Hartford, Conn., he studied saxophone privately as a high school student with Jackie McLean, the great American jazz saxophonist for whom The Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute is named. Greg and his wife Penelope Woodward, an accomplished public school music teacher, have three adult children.

Learn more about President-Designate Woodward in our press release here and visit our new webpage:

Greg will be introduced to the campus community and community leaders at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 14 in Gengras Student Union.   I hope that you will be able to come, hear his introductory remarks, and give him a warm University of Hartford welcome.  He is looking forward to meeting all of you.  This event will be live-streamed at for those of you who cannot attend in person.  Additional opportunities to meet him are being planned for the spring semester and information will be provided in advance.

This is an important time for our University community.   The entire Board of Regents is thrilled with the result of our search and I am deeply grateful to the members of the University’s Presidential Search Committee for their work in identifying and recruiting an outstanding person to lead the University into the future.  Special thanks go to Regent Kathy Behrens ’85 for her strong leadership and boundless energy.  The full list of committee members can be found here.

That we were able to recruit a new leader of such accomplishment and distinction is a testament to the remarkable leadership of Walter Harrison who has served as University President since July 1, 1998 and will retire on June 30, 2017. There will be occasions to thank and celebrate Walt in the months ahead. Today, let us celebrate Greg Woodward as he joins us to help write the next chapter of this remarkable University.

Very truly yours,

Lucille M. Nickerson
Chair, Board of Regents