Steven H. Kaplan headshot

Steven H. Kaplan, President

Since becoming the sixth president of the University of New Haven in 2004, Steven H. Kaplan has created a bold vision for the University, leading it through a period of remarkable growth and development.

Thanks to his inspired — and inspiring — leadership, the University of New Haven now ranks among the top universities in the Northeast and boasts nationally ranked programs in a number of majors across business, criminal justice, engineering, forensic science, and the liberal arts and sciences. Since Dr. Kaplan was inaugurated, enrollment has grown by 45 percent to approximately 6,800 undergraduate and graduate students, hailing from 43 states and some 45 countries. Full-time undergraduate enrollment has grown by 90 percent, and first-year applications have more than tripled. During this time, the University has completed more than $250 million in construction projects and has launched 20 new academic programs.

Refusing to rest on his laurels, Dr. Kaplan spearheaded the University’s Charger Challenge, a campaign to raise $100 million by the year 2020 — the University’s 100th anniversary — in order to shape its next 100 years. The Campaign was officially launched in April of 2016.

In 2015, in recognition of his many achievements, Dr. Kaplan was presented with the Chief Executive Leadership Award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District I. He also was named "Businessman of the Year" by Business New Haven magazine in 2008.

In 2011, Dr. Kaplan was awarded the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Experiential Education by the National Society for Experiential Education. The award recognizes his efforts to make the University a national leader in experiential education, requiring every undergraduate student to complete an internship, an academic service learning experience, international study, or a faculty-mentored research project before graduation.

Previously, Dr. Kaplan was chancellor and professor of English at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, the only four-year branch campus of the University of Virginia and one of the nation’s best public colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Kaplan began his teaching career in 1982 as an Instructor of English at the University of Maryland, European Division. From 1985-1989, he served as Visiting Lecturer in American Studies at Eberhard-Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany – one of the oldest and most highly regarded universities in Europe. After completing his doctoral studies at Eberhard-Karls Universität, he returned to the U.S. to teach English at the University of Southern Colorado. Within only three years, he was made department chair, serving in that capacity for two years before becoming Director of the Center for International Studies.

Dr. Kaplan also served as dean of Arts and Humanities at the University at Buffalo and as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University.

In addition to earning his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Eberhard-Karls Universität, Dr. Kaplan holds a Master of Arts degree (with a concentration in philosophy, German and English) from Eberhard-Karls Universität and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

A prolific writer, Dr.Kaplan has authored several books, among them, translations of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, a study of Tim O'Brien's fiction, and an anthology of international war stories. He also has written a number of scholarly essays.

Dr. Kaplan and his wife, Anemone Schweizer-Kaplan, are at home in both the great halls of art and the great outdoors. They are ardent opera buffs and lovers of all the visual and performing arts and are accomplished ballroom dancers, but you’ll also find them hiking the many trails in the area, and racing down ski slopes. They have traveled to more than 30 countries during their 35 years together, including Tanzania, where they hiked up Mt. Kilimanjaro. The couple has a son and three daughters.

Dr. Kaplan grew up in Chicago, the son of a shoe-store owner and an actress-comedienne. He credits his stepfather, Irving Glovin, with teaching him to love ideas and appreciate the contributions we all need to make in the service of good causes. Glovin, a good friend of Oskar Schindler, was instrumental in getting Schindler’s story published and the film produced and is President of the Oskar Schindler Humanitarian Foundation. Dr. Kaplan serves on the board of the Foundation.

Anemone Schweizer-Kaplan grew up in Southwest Germany. She holds the equivalent of an American M.A. in Secondary Education and taught at a German high school. She is a talented ceramics artist and taught German and pottery as an adjunct faculty member in Colorado and Virginia.