University News

University’s Virtual Centennial Celebration to Feature Broadway Stars, Commemorate Century of Success

The University hopes to have alumni from all 50 states take part in its virtual Centennial Ball on Oct 3. The celebration will include a showcase of students’ most innovative work, networking opportunities, and performances by cast members from Hamilton, Wicked, and The Lion King, among other Broadway hits.

September 30, 2020

By Dave Cranshaw, Office of Marketing & Communications

Image of Tony Award winner Audra McDonald.
Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald.

The University of New Haven isn’t letting the global coronavirus pandemic keep it from celebrating its Centennial year in style. On Oct. 3, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends from across the country and around the world will gather virtually for the University’s Centennial Ball.

The University is collaborating with Broadway Sings, the acclaimed New York City concert series to host the signature event, which will begin at 6 p.m. The evening will be hosted by six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and will feature performances by cast members from Hamilton, Wicked, and The Lion King, among other Broadway hits.

The event will also include a special conversation with President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D., and New York Times best-selling author Adriana Trigiani, a long-time friend of the University. They will reflect on President’s Kaplan’s 16-year tenure, the University’s rich history, and its plans for the future.

As part of the evening, participants will also be able to view showcases of students’ most innovative work, reconnect with former classmates, teammates, professors, and coaches, and tour campus via a drone. Through a robust event platform, guests from around the world will be able to interact with each other as if they were sitting in the same room.

“While we wish we could host everyone on campus, we are excited nonetheless for what promises to be an incredible evening,” said President Kaplan. “The University of New Haven has a rich history of innovation and creativity. Using state-of-the-art technology to enable alumni and friends from across the globe to come together to celebrate our pride for the University, while enjoying an evening of re-connecting with each other, is a perfect way to honor our past while launching our second century of success.”

The night before the Centennial Ball, the University’s Department of Athletics will host a special event to share its vision for the future of Charger Athletics. The University is currently exploring transitioning its athletics program to Division I and will soon break ground on the Peterson Performance Center.

"While we wish we could host everyone on campus, we are excited nonetheless for what promises to be an incredible evening." President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D.

The University’s Centennial year coincided with the conclusion of its first comprehensive campaign, The Charger Challenge, which was officially launched in 2016. More than 18 months before the conclusion of the campaign at the end of 2020, the University announced it had exceeded its original goal of raising $100 million.

In total, the University has raised more than $133 million from more than 20,500 donors. The University received 31 gifts of $1 million or more and nearly 200 gifts of $100K or more. In addition, the University received more than $32 million in federal and state grants, bringing the campaign total to $165 million.

The centerpiece of the campaign was the development of the $35 million, 45,000 square foot Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation. Sitting at the heart of the campus, the multidisciplinary facility, designed by the architectural firm Svigals + Partners, is one of the finest learning spaces in the country. Officially opened in August, it features the most technologically advanced collaborative classrooms, engineering and science labs, video production studios, a makerspace, and an esports training and competition space. It is named in honor of longtime University benefactors Samuel S. Bergami Jr. '85 EMBA, ’02 Hon., and Lois Bergami, for their leadership gift supporting the creation of the facility.

During the campaign, the University also received the largest gift in its history from Board of Governors chair Charles E. Pompea ’71, 90 EMBA, ’06 Hon, his wife Tamera, and their family. In recognition, the University dedicated the Pompea College of Business in the family’s honor. Accredited by AACSB international, placing it among the top five percent of business schools worldwide, the Pompea College of Business features a comprehensive academic curriculum in esports management that is among the first of its kind and was among the first in the nation to create STEM-designated MBA concentrations and other STEM-designated graduate business programs.

The University’s commemoration of the Centennial of its founding in 1920 included events over the last 18 months in Boston, New York City, and Boca Raton, Fla. The celebration will culminate with a virtual Homecoming the weekend of November 20-22.