The future of the University of Bridgeport began on May 24, 2021, as Goodwin University announced the completion of its acquisition of the majority of academic programs and real estate comprising the University of Bridgeport (UB). UB will function as an independent institution with its own leadership and Board of Trustees under the ownership and operation of Goodwin University. This change of ownership has received approval from the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education, as well as institutional and programmatic accreditors including the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
“This partnership cements the future of higher education in Bridgeport and ensures the University of Bridgeport name and legacy will live on for generations to come,” said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. “We look forward to the university playing an even more active role in supporting our community and the educational and career goals of our students as we reimagine the future of our city.”
The $32 million acquisition comes nearly one year after the schools announced an innovative higher education partnership in Bridgeport. Under the terms of the deal closing, the Connecticut Department of Economic Community Development (DECD) has committed funding to assist in sustaining UB as an independent institution. Citizens Bank, a longtime partner of UB, has also contributed substantial financial support to ensure the university lives on for years to come. KeyBank and Liberty Bank are providing financing to Goodwin University for the acquisition.
“The University of Bridgeport not only plays an important role in educating our young people, but also plays a vital role for the City of Bridgeport, providing educational opportunities to residents throughout the region and hundreds of jobs both directly and indirectly,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “I’m thrilled that UB will remain part of the growing economy in Bridgeport as we begin to recover from the economic effects of the past year.”
“I know how important the University of Bridgeport is to many in the city, and I am thrilled that current and future Bridgeport residents will continue to benefit from its presence,” said Bridgeport City Council President Aidee Nieves.
“Citizens is pleased that this transaction will result in the City of Bridgeport continuing to host a thriving institution of higher learning with current and future students of UB benefitting from access to even more offerings and opportunities,” said Lisa Maass, executive vice president and Connecticut state president, Citizens Bank. “We acknowledge the bold decision by UB’s leadership to seek out a more stable foundation for the school and applaud Goodwin for making a strong commitment to preserve the institution as a resource and cornerstone for this community.”
“KeyBank is pleased to support the continued growth of our valued, long-time client, Goodwin University, and be a part of the University of Bridgeport’s exciting next chapter,” said KeyBank Market President, James R. Barger. “One of Key’s fundamental community focus areas is Higher Education and the preparation of the next generation of business and community leaders. We are proud to help bring to fruition this well-aligned partnership that will benefit current and future students, the city of Bridgeport and the entire state.” “When it comes to Goodwin University and Liberty Bank, it’s more than just a lending relationship. It’s a strong partnership in helping them achieve their mission in aligning education, commerce and community. And it’s exactly what they’re doing in collaboration with the University of Bridgeport and the City of Bridgeport,” said Jeff Hubbard, Regional Manager, Commercial Banking Executive-New Haven, Liberty Bank. “This is a milestone day for Goodwin, the City and the entire UB campus community and we know today’s announcement is another historic step in the advancement of delivering a world class higher education right here in Bridgeport.”
New Leadership for a New Era at the University of Bridgeport
To usher in this new future for UB, the university has also re-envisioned its Board of Trustees and senior leadership.
Members of the new Board of Trustees of UB include Ann Clark, Kathleen Engelmann, George Estrada, Ruben Felipe, Jeffrey Goldwasser ’70, Barbara James ’74 ’77, Arthur Landi ’74, Fred Moses ’74, Susan Heckman O’Hara ’84, Mark Scheinberg, Lambert Shell ’92 ’96 ’08, Michon White-Bernard and Joe Young.
“In addition to ensuring that UB’s rich history of higher education would continue in its namesake city for years to come, we wanted to also be sure its leadership reflected UB students and the City of Bridgeport,” said Mark Scheinberg, president of Goodwin University. “We have brought together an accomplished new Board of Trustees that we are confident will guide the university through this new beginning and for decades to come.”
As their first order of business, the new Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Danielle Wilken as the twelfth president of UB, effective immediately. The appointment was announced to students, faculty, and staff earlier today.
With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Wilken comes to UB from Goodwin University where she has served as provost and dean of faculty. She earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Hartford, and a master’s degree in Health Care Policy & Management and bachelor’s degrees in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Biology all from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead UB in this next chapter as we help our students grow both personally and professionally to achieve their goals,” said Dr. Wilken. “I look forward to working with members of our faculty, staff, and the City of Bridgeport to continue to make UB a supportive and diverse learning environment that serves the needs of our students and the community.”
Dr. Manyul Im will become provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at UB. He has been with the university for seven years, most recently serving as interim provost. Dr. Im earned both his Ph.D. and master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dan Noonan will also join the UB cabinet as vice president and chief administrative officer. Mr. Noonan has previously served as Goodwin University’s vice president of Enrollment, Marketing & Communications for more than two decades. He will be responsible for leading the day-to-day operations of UB. Robert Schmidt will remain on as UB’s chief operating officer.
“I am so grateful to the leadership of Goodwin University and the University of Bridgeport for all they have done to restore our confidence in the future of UB,” said Kathleen Engelmann, associate professor, Faculty Council president and faculty representative to the Board of Trustees at the University of Bridgeport. “I look forward to working with my faculty colleagues and the new Board of Trustees to ensure a bright future for our institution and our students.”
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.