University News

University of New Haven Announces the Appointment of Steven H. Kaplan as its First Chancellor and CEO; Sheahon Zenger as Interim President

The University is implementing an innovative leadership transition plan that will enable it to continue to grow, build on the momentum of its rich history of success, and strengthen its position as a financially sound, highly regarded, comprehensive University.

July 1, 2022

Maxcy Quad

Today, the University of New Haven implements an innovative leadership transition in which Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D., who has been president of the University of New Haven for the past 18 years, was named the University’s first chancellor and CEO, and Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D., who has nearly 30 years of experience in administration, development, coaching, and academia, was named interim president.

“As all of higher education is facing a time of immense change and mounting competition, the continuity of the University’s achievements and momentum is paramount to the Board of Governors,” said Charles E. Pompea ’71, ’90 EMBA, ’06 Hon., chair of the Board of Governors. “The board is keenly aware of the pandemic’s profound impact on the value proposition of a college education and the critical spotlight focused on teaching and learning; diversity, equity, and inclusion; student mental health; COVID-related budgetary pressures, and more — all on the cusp of the so called ‘demographic cliff.’ At a time like this, our highest priority is ensuring there is a solid leadership transition plan in place.”

Steven Kaplan
Steven Kaplan, Ph.D.

As president, Dr. Kaplan led the University through a period of remarkable growth and development, building it into one of the top universities in the region, resulting in record enrollments and fundraising success. During his tenure, the University opened campuses in Tuscany, Italy, (2012), and Orange, Conn., (2014), and opened the Bergami Center for Science Technology, and Innovation, the centerpiece of the University’s Charger Challenge: The Campaign for the University of New Haven, which significantly surpassed its original goals, raising nearly $170 million, including $32 million in grants and contracts.

As chancellor and CEO, Dr. Kaplan will focus on principal fundraising, strategic partnerships, and board relations while continuing to maintain oversight of the University’s overall financial results and operational performance.

Sheahon Zenger
Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D.

As interim president, Dr. Zenger, will serve as the University’s public-facing and community leader, overseeing day-to-day operations with areas of responsibility including branding and reputation, revenue generation, and the implementation of the University’s recently launched five-year strategic plan, A Bold Path Forward.

Dr. Zenger joined the University in 2019 as director of athletics and recreation. He has spent his career in higher education in significant leadership roles, including as an assistant to the chancellor at Texas Christian University and as director of athletics at the University of Kansas, where he worked for eight years leading one of the most successful Division I athletics programs in the country.

Dr. Kaplan said, “It has been an exhilarating experience serving the University of New Haven community. Thanks to the dedication of everyone across the University, we have accomplished a great deal and established what we believe is a strong foundation for continued success. I applaud the Board of Governors for its creative vision in designing this transition plan, and I believe Dr. Zenger is the ideal person to work with me in this new capacity. I have the utmost confidence he will do a terrific job helping to lead the University forward and that more great days lie ahead for the University of New Haven.”

“I am grateful for the trust of the Board of Governors and Dr. Kaplan in giving me this opportunity to help lead an institution that I have come to love,” Dr. Zenger said. “I’ve been preparing all of my professional life for just such an opportunity, and to have it come at a University blessed with incredible students, a top-notch faculty, dedicated alumni, and a talented staff is the honor of a lifetime.”

For more information, read the original announcement from February 18.