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University Celebrates Groundbreaking

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University officials, donors, and public officials gathered to break ground on the Innovation Center.

University officials, donors, and public officials gathered to break ground on the Innovation Center.

Everett Bishop/The Charger Bulletin

Everett Bishop/The Charger Bulletin

University officials, donors, and public officials gathered to break ground on the Innovation Center.

Everett Bishop, Student Life Editor

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The University of New Haven held a groundbreaking ceremony outside Bartels Hall to celebrate the construction of the school’s new innovation center on Thursday. The event included members of the university and West Haven communities.

At the ceremony, university president Steven Kaplan acknowledged all who contributed, financially or otherwise, to the construction of the new building. That included the Bergami family, who the innovation center will be named after, the university’s board of governors, the Dodds family, and various faculty and staff.

The Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation is a designated “maker space” that will provide a place for students at the university colleges to come into contact with one another. It is also a part of the university’s “Charger Challenge” initiative, a capital campaign for the school to raise $100,000,000 in honor of its centennial anniversary in 2020.

Kiana Quinonez /The Charger Bulletin
President Kaplan delivers speech to the crowd before the groundbreaking.

Kaplan also recognized the day as an “important day in the history of the University of New Haven.”

“Once completed, the Bergami Center will be our first new academic building in over 40 years,” said Kaplan. “It will without question create an enduring legacy for the individuals who have helped make it a reality.”

According to Kaplan, it took some convincing in order to raise funds for the new building. Sam Bergami, chief benefactor of the building project, actually turned the idea down several times before accepting the offer after two glasses of wine at a birthday dinner for Bergami’s wife, Lois.

“The newly established Bergami rule on two glasses of wine is enough,” said Kaplan.

Jillian Jacques, a senior computer science major, also spoke at the event.

“Innovation doesn’t happen without interdisciplinary communities,” Jacques said. “We can’t move forward if we keep what we know to ourselves, and we move forward better when we surround ourselves with people who know things that we do not.”

Bergami closed the ceremony with his wife by his side. Bergami said how his close involvement with the school has “been a life-changing experience” and that the center, and education, is “a great investment that pays well.”

Before adjourning for a reception inside of Bartels Hall, benefactors and university leaders donned hard hats and shovels and dug into the ground, symbolically taking the first step into the construction of the innovation center. Construction of the center is expected to complete in early 2020.  

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University Celebrates Groundbreaking