Steven H. Kaplan, President Emeritus

Steven H. Kaplan headshot

Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D., joined the University of New Haven in 2004 as its sixth President, leading the University through the most prosperous period in its rich history, building it into one of the top universities in the region, resulting in record enrollments and fundraising success. He was appointed the University’s first Chancellor and CEO on July 1, 2022, and he was named President Emeritus on July 1, 2023.

During his distinguished tenure and thanks to his inspired — and inspiring — leadership, the University of New Haven now ranks among the top universities in the Northeast, boasting nationally ranked programs in a number of majors across business, criminal justice, health sciences, engineering, cybersecurity, forensic science, and the liberal arts and sciences.

Under his visionary leadership, the University opened campuses in Tuscany, Italy (2012), and in Orange, Connecticut (2014), in the former worldwide headquarters of Hubbell. Dr. Kaplan was also instrumental in the establishment of the Engineering and Science University Magnet School, which in 2017 relocated to a 122,000-square-foot, $85.5 million building adjacent to the University’s main campus.

In 2021 Dr. Kaplan announced the creation of “A Bold Path Forward,” the University’s five-year strategic plan, which positions the University to build on its success and standing as one of the top universities in the region.

In 2016, Dr. Kaplan, spearheaded the creation of  The Charger Challenge: The Campaign for the University of New Haven. Launched as a precursor to the University’s historic centennial in 2020, The Charger Challenge endeavored to raise $100 million to help shape the University’s next 100 years. The centerpiece of the comprehensive campaign is the new Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation, a state-of-the-art academic facility that is scheduled to open in early 2020. On April 2, 2019,  the University announced that the campaign had exceeded its original goal more than 18 months before the conclusion of its centennial year. President Kaplan increased the goal to $120 million by the end of 2020. In early 2020, the new goal of $120 million was surpassed. In total, the campaign raised $167 million, including $32 million in grants and contracts.

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 SUNY Buffalo State College 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, 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.