University News

University of New Haven Celebrates Milestone in Construction of New Academic Facility

A topping-off ceremony, a long-held tradition in the construction world, marked the hoisting of the final beam for the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation, a world-class facility that will enable students to take their pioneering work to an even higher level.

January 29, 2019

On January 24, the University of New Haven held a topping-off ceremony, a long-held tradition in the construction world, to mark the hoisting of the final beam for the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation. This world-class facility, which is scheduled to open in early 2020, is named in honor of long-standing University benefactors Sam and Lois Bergami.

Skyler Szerszen ’21, a mechanical engineering major, and her team were behind closed doors brainstorming ideas during an “Innovation Encounter” hosted by Michigan-based Carhartt, a leading outdoor apparel company, when the judges came to their meeting room for an update. The group, though, didn’t hear the knock.

“When they opened the door, they heard our music blasting way too loud, they saw us eating pizza, and what may have looked like us goofing off,” she remembered. “After they saw us like that, I figured our chances of winning were very slim. We learned later that the judges were actually very happy that we were making the most of the experience. Apparently, every other group they saw was stressed. Our team was very relaxed, and we were embracing the opportunity.

“We weren’t stressed because we regularly have opportunities like this as University of New Haven students. We are comfortable being creative, challenging ourselves, and coming up with ideas to solve complex problems.”Skyler Szerszen ’21

Szerszen shared this story last week as she spoke at the topping-off ceremony for the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation. As part of the event, a long-held tradition in the construction world, the final beam was hoisted and secured into place. Once it is open next year, the state-of-the art facility will house engineering and science labs, collaborative classrooms, and video production studios, among other cutting-edge amenities.

Image of Skyler Szerszen ’21
Skyler Szerszen ’21

“By creating this space, we are strengthening our commitment to educating the world’s next generation of problem solvers and preparing them to excel in the careers of the future,” said University of New Haven President Steve Kaplan. “Ultimately, we have no greater charge than this.”

The centerpiece of the Charger Challenge, the ambitious campaign designed to shape the University’s next 100 years, the 44,000-square-foot, three-story Bergami Center will, says Kaplan, embody the culture of innovation.

The building is named in honor of longstanding University benefactors Sam and Lois Bergami. They have also established the Samuel S. Bergami Jr. Learning Center for Finance and Technology, supported the University’s acquisition of what is now Bergami Hall, and, along with Charlie ’71,’90 EMBA and Tammy Pompea, enabled the University to purchase the Orange Campus, now the Bergami and Pompea Graduate Center.

“Their generosity has had a remarkable impact on the University. It is most fitting that this building will bear the Bergami family name.”Steve Kaplan, President

A current member and former chair of the University’s Board of Governors, Sam Bergami, a 1985 graduate of the University’s Executive MBA program, is president and CEO of Alinabal Holdings Corp., the parent company of Alinabal Inc., in Milford, Connecticut, which employs 400 people.

Signed by Sam and Lois Bergami, the final beam was hoisted and secured into place – topped with a tree for good luck. Szerszen is excited to see the building – and the opportunities it will create – take shape.

“Imagine the impact that a building like the Bergami Center – and the collaborative learning environment it will create – could have on all the students here,” Szerszen said. “The sky is the limit. No, our imagination is the limit.”