Changes to Celebrating the University’s Centennial

This year marks a milestone for the University of New Haven. The university was founded in 1920, making 2020 its centennial. In order to celebrate the university’s 100 year anniversary, there were events planned for the 2020 spring and fall semester. However, when campus closed last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the spring centennial events were postponed or made virtual. When Founders Day was made virtual for the Spring 2020 semester, President Kaplan spoke about still celebrating the university during the pandemic.

He said, “We’re all going through some very difficult times. We want us all to pull together, demonstrate our unity, demonstrate our tenacity and perseverance as Chargers.”

Now that students are back on campus, the university has found new ways to celebrate the centennial while still abiding by the new COVID-19 policies.

On Aug. 25 there was a virtual grand opening of the Bergami Center. Some students were invited to attend.

Following the virtual ceremony, theoretical physics professor and author Dr. Michio Kaku gave a speech to the students.

The Centennial Ball is now a virtual event for Oct. 3. There will still be a student showcase, entertainment, and a live auction. The goal of the Centennial Ball is not only to celebrate the university but also to raise money for the Charger Challenge Campaign.

Vice president for university advancement, Stephen Morin said, “We passed that $100 million goal 18 months early and raised the campaign goal to $120 million. We have now passed that goal as well.”

“With the additional grants that have come in to support the University’s research and programs, UNH has attracted more than $150 million now,” Morin said.

To attend the Centennial Ball, students must request an invitation.

As for homecoming, Morin said, “Despite the fact that we will not be playing sports this fall, Sheahon Zenger, our athletic director, and Heather Alpaugh, our director of alumni relations are teaming up to create even greater virtual programming for the entire UNH community to engage in.’

“We will, most likely, move the date of Homecoming to Saturday, November 21st, to allow additional time to plan,” said Morin

It is noted on the centennial webpage that all events are still subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Along with hosting events, the university is using the centennial page to spread Charger pride. The page offers a timeline on the university’s history and the success of alumni from around the world that represent the university. This page also allows faculty, students, and alumni to share their stories about the university and speak on the importance of celebrating the centennial.

Samuel S. Bergami Jr., a member of the University of New Haven board of governors, wrote a statement about the centennial. He and his wife, Lois Bergami funded the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation that opened during the centennial year.

“We want to give the next generation the same opportunity to achieve their own dreams and change the world,” Bergami said. “We want the University to continue to be an institution that truly changes lives — one that will shine even more brightly in its second century than it has in its first.”