President Kaplan Addresses Graduate Student Council

Lynn Jenkins, Esq.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, UNH President Steven H. Kaplan gave an unexpected and rather impromptu speech at the general student body meeting for the Graduate Student Council (GSC). President Kaplan spoke to graduate students in the wake of the recent announcement of the University’s acquisition of the Hubbell property. By the summer of 2013, the majority of the graduate student programs and its associated administration will be housed at this location.

As usual, the biweekly meeting for the graduate student body was well-attended by some 50 grads, as well as the executive board for the council. But when an email was issued on early Wednesday afternoon announcing that President Kaplan would be attending the meeting, student interest in participating in such an open forum was heightened. Their attendance was rewarded not only by the presentation of the most current information about the move to the Hubbell site, but also by an open-ended question and answer session with the University president on a variety of topics, including diversity on campus and the upcoming commencement plans for January 2013.

By far, however, the president’s address focused on the administration’s intent to house its ever-expanding graduate school (including the cohort programs) at the newly-acquired Hubbell property. This property, which is located on 47 acres in nearby Orange, Conn., on the Derby Milford Road, is a short 15-minute commute from the main campus. It is the former headquarters of Hubbell Electronics and boasts 70,000 square feet of convertible central space, adjacent building footage and a private lake, all surrounded by sweeping wooded acreage.

President Kaplan stated that the location was “by far the most attractive that we considered.” He emphasized that the new facility would ease the strain on the main campus. “The move to this large facility,” he said, “meets all of our goals for expanding the University’s presence, having classroom and administrative office space, library, computer, electronic and tech services, and ample parking.” While somewhat secluded, he emphasized that the new campus will be safe – clearly a major concern since most graduate school classes and evening commuter programs meet at night.

The president was accompanied to the meeting by Dean Rebecca Johnson, who was available to address student concerns. Also present was Milva McGhee, the administrative advisor to the council, who is currently serving as the Interim Coordinator of Graduate Student Services.

After President Kaplan concluded his remarks, GSC president John Culmone opened the floor for questions. The most pertinent question centered on the logistics of integrating the Hubbell site with the main campus. It was posed by Janixia K. Reyes, a psychology I/O major, who served on the site focus group prior to its acquisition. Regarding membership in this group and her participation, she stated, “It was a wonderful opportunity to voice my opinions on the current facility and the acquired facility. We greatly appreciated that the university saw the need to include current graduate students in these discussions in order to have proper planning for the new facility when the time comes.”

Reyes was not the only student who noted the openness of the university to hear student concerns on the upcoming move. Graduate student Phillip Santinoceto, who will be receiving his MBA in 2013, commended President Kaplan and his administration and staff for leading the university during a period of unparalleled growth.

The GSC meets every other Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Student Dining Room in Bartels on the main campus. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 31. Follow the activities of the GSC at www.newhaven.edu/admissions/gradadmissions/11059/.