Pompea College of Business recognizes largest gift in University of New Haven History from alumnus, successful business executive, and longtime benefactor Charles E. Pompea '71, '90 EMBA, '06 Hon., vice chair of the university’s Board of Governors, his wife Tamera, and their family.
May 21, 2020
University of New Haven alumnus Charles E. Pompea ’71, ’90 EMBA, his wife, Tamera, and the Pompea family have given the largest gift in the history of the university to support student scholarships and the enhancement and development of several groundbreaking programs in the College of Business. Pompea is the retired president and CEO of Primary Steel and the vice chair of the university’s Board of Governors.
In recognition of this generosity, the university will name the Pompea College of Business in their honor.
"Charlie is, without question, one of the university’s most successful graduates," said university President Steven H. Kaplan. "Throughout his life, he has always exhibited a tireless work ethic and a sense of humility that made him a great leader. His passion for the university knows no bounds. He and Tammy are incredible individuals who have done so much for our students. It is most fitting that the College of Business will bear their name."
"I am pleased to be able to give back to help future generations of students and to support the development of some very innovative and market-driven programs."Charles E. Pompea '71, '90 EMBA, '06 Hon.
In addition to student scholarships, the gift will support the creation and/or continued development of several pioneering interdisciplinary programs, including:
A completely online master’s degree in forensic accounting that capitalizes on the strong reputation of the university's internationally recognized Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences.
An executive cybersecurity management program, in collaboration with the university’s Tagliatela College of Engineering, for IT professionals looking to move up in management and work toward chief information security officer position. It will be modeled after the university’s Executive MBA program, the second oldest such program in Connecticut. The university is one of only 21 schools in the country to be designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations by the National Security Agency.
A first-of-its-kind online master’s degree in esports business that builds off the recent launch of the university’s comprehensive academic curriculum in esports that includes a concentration in esport management that is the first to be part of a business curriculum accredited by AACSB International as well as an interdisciplinary program in esports and gaming.
A micro credential/competency-based certification designed specifically for Connecticut trade school students to help them acquire critical business skills.
Earlier this year, the College of Business, which has nearly 900 undergraduate and graduate students, earned renewal of its AACSB accreditation, a distinction that places it among the top five percent of business schools worldwide. The organization lauded the College's new bachelor's degrees in business analytics, international business, and esports and gaming and its standing as one of the first in the country to create STEM-designated MBA concentrations and other STEM-designated graduate business programs.
Pompea, who lived in Waterford and Lyme, Connecticut, is now a resident of Hobe Sound, Florida. He marvels at the development that has taken place at the University since he was a student.
As a senior majoring in business management, he and several classmates applied for jobs at a steel company. One by one, they interviewed for sales representative positions, each wearing the same necktie.
"When I was a student, I didn’t have two nickels to rub together," he said
He ended up getting a job offer from Concord Steel, one of three he received before graduating. After spending a year there, he moved to Primary Steel, where he spent nearly 20 years advancing up the corporate ladder, ultimately becoming president. In 1993, he purchased the business, increasing its annual sales significantly during his 15 years as owner.
Throughout his remarkable career, he has maintained a passion for giving back. "When I began to make my way in the world, it became increasingly evident to me that I needed to look beyond myself and start giving back to the community," he said.
A longstanding university benefactor, he has contributed to the restoration of Maxcy Hall, the university's more than 100-year old signature building that is the centerpiece of campus, as well as the construction of the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Beckerman Recreation Center, and the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. Pompea and his wife joined former classmate Sam Bergami Jr. ’85 EMBA and his wife, Lois, in supporting the University’s purchase of its campus in Orange, Conn., which has been dedicated as the Bergami and Pompea Graduate Center and is home to the College of Business.
Pompea served as vice chair of the university’s Board of Governors from 2000 to 2006. He was again elected vice chair of the Board in 2018.
"I developed a foundation for success as a student at the University of New Haven," said Pompea. "I returned to the university to pursue my Executive MBA at a critical point in my career. I am very grateful for the commitment of my professors and for the real-world knowledge they brought into the classroom.
"I am pleased to be able to give back to help future generations of students and to support the development of some very innovative and market-driven programs that will prepare our students to excel in the careers of the future," he continued. "I greatly believe in the University of New Haven."