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Phil Bartels Ends Term as Board of Governors Chair

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Phil Bartels, chairman of the University of New Haven board of governors, will end his second and final term this weekend at the biannual meeting of the board. Term lengths are two years for officers, with a limit of three terms.

Bartels, a frequent benefactor of the university whose father Hank Bartels’s name is on two campus buildings, joined the board in 2001. He became vice chair in 2006 while another frequent benefactor, Samuel Bergami, was chairman. Bartels became chairman in 2012.

“For me, it’s been a real honor and a real privilege to be a board chair at the University of New Haven,” Bartels said.

Bartels said the university is special to him, and one of his most memorable moments on the board was handing diplomas to his son and daughter-in-law, who graduated with master’s degrees in 2015.

When asked about working with the rest of the board, Bartels said that he has a great group of colleagues and liked the amount of diversity among its members.

Bartels also served on the board at Cornell University, his alma mater. He is a member of the administrative board of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, on the board of trustees for the Paleontological Research Institution, and is former counsel and president of the Greenwich, Conn. Audubon Society. He said that the board at the University of New Haven was the best he’s ever served on and that it was a “first-class board.”

“The quality of the board is all the members of the board…the ability of the board to work together as a cohesive team” which benefits the university, he said. “We see ourselves not as competitors with President Steve Kaplan and administration, but see ourselves as a team.”

President Steve Kaplan said the board usually lets management run the day-to-day of the university and they’re  generally hands-off, but they rely on the board as donors and for long-term strategy.

“Many of [the members of the board] including Phil Bartels are very generous donors,” Kaplan said, “and if they went away we would have far fewer resources.”

As a frequent donor to the university, Bartels has deep connections to  certain projects,including the Allingtown Clean-Up and Model United Nations.

“Among the things I support at the university, I pick projects or programs that are not otherwise funded,” he said. “It gives the ability of the students to do things they would not otherwise do.”

The next chairman of the board is expected to be William Bucknall, the current vice chair. The election will be held this weekend. Bartels said he hopes Bucknall will continue to “advance and transform” the university.

“I am 100 percent confident that he is going to be an excellent board chair,” Bartels said.

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Phil Bartels Ends Term as Board of Governors Chair