UNH Remembers Former President Phillip S. Kaplan

Riley Knebes

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Former University of New Haven President Phillip S. Kaplan passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 16. According to his obituary, Kaplan died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family members. Kaplan died at the age of 85.

Kaplan began his work at UNH in 1959 as an economics professor. He later helped create the Graduate Program in 1969 and held the position of its first dean. Kaplan took on the role of President in 1973 and retired from the position in 1991.

Ira Kleinfeld, friend and colleague of former President Kaplan, said that Kaplan “didn’t come to sit at the desk.” Kleinfeld described Kaplan as “actively engaged.”

After Kaplan retired, he came back and returned to teaching.

“Phil was one of the very most well-read individuals I have ever met, and it was always inspiring to engage in political debate with him, even if it was a given at the onset that I would lose,” said President Steven Kaplan, the current president of the university.

During his years at UNH, Kaplan, who, despite the same surname, bears no relation to the President Steven Kaplan, saw the school transform from a primarily commuter school to the University it is today, with over 20 different programs. The campus grew to accommodate several new buildings including the Marvin K. Peterson Library, Harugari, Echlin, Dodds Halls, and more.

The School of Graduate Studies building was named after Kaplan in 1993.

Kaplan started his career by completing his B.A. from the University of Mass., followed by his M.A. in Economics at Columbia University, then finally his Ph.D. in Economics from The Johns Hopkins University.

Prior to education, Kaplan served in the U.S. army.

Kaplan served on UNH’s team in more ways than one. He was the Chair of the Economics department and the Dean of the Business School before becoming the president.

In 1980, Kaplan was awarded the Liberty Bell Award, an award for encouraging respect for the law and the courts presented by The Foundation of the New Haven County Bar.

The Kaplan Endowed Collection in the library is also named after the former president.

“I will miss him very much, and I will always be grateful for the fine university I inherited as a result of his good work,” said President Steven Kaplan.


Riley Knebes, Staff Writer

Riley Knebes is a junior with a double major in English and Communications as well as a minor in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a team captain on the...

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One Response to “UNH Remembers Former President Phillip S. Kaplan”

  1. water filtration on March 4th, 2016 11:56 pm

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UNH Remembers Former President Phillip S. Kaplan