President Joe Bertolino, who has successfully led Southern Connecticut State University since 2016, announced today (March 3, 2023) that he will conclude his tenure on July 1, 2023. He will take up the top post at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey.
Since Bertolino took office in July 2016 as the 12th president in Southern’s 130-year history, he has worked to establish Southern as the social justice university of Connecticut, with an emphasis on access, opportunity, and student success and engagement.
President Bertolino made the announcement this afternoon in a message to the Southern community.
“While the decision to leave Southern has been difficult to make, in particular as we continue to transition through these post-pandemic years, it is one that Bil and I believe is best for our family. We will return to the place where I grew up, and where my father and many of our shared loved ones still reside,” he wrote. “Stockton is also my mother’s alma mater. Mom, like many of our graduates here at Southern, was a non-traditional student — an RN who received her BSN in 1977. Though she is no longer here with us, it brings me and my family great joy to be able to honor her memory in this special way.”
During President Bertolino’s tenure, he has successfully pursued several key priorities: raising the University’s profile; recommitting Southern to a mission of social justice; expanding community outreach and partnerships, building strategic enrollment (through both recruitment and retention) and streamlining students’ paths to earning a degree.
Under President Bertolino’s leadership, he has significantly progressed Southern through a variety of initiatives:
- Reintroduced Southern to the region and beyond through a major branding campaign.
- Implemented the University’s first comprehensive enrollment management plan and created a range of workforce needs-driven programs, including a palate of accelerated graduate offerings and first Doctorate of Social Work program in New England.
- Created the institution’s first Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and its first DEI strategic plan.
- Established partnerships with area community colleges to provide smoother entry into Southern for transfer students.
- In partnership with the New Haven Public School system and the College of Education, opened a new University Magnet K-4 Elementary School on campus.
- Established new community partnerships at multiple levels, including partnerships with Yale New Haven Health, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and Long Wharf Theatre.
“I am particularly proud of the productive relationships that we have built with our neighbors in New Haven and beyond, the growing recognition of our distinctive excellence in a range of academic disciplines, and how we have extended a commitment to social justice and anti-racism throughout our institution, providing an example for our students to make positive change when they enter society,” Bertolino said.
In the near future, Connecticut State College and University (CSCU) System President Terrence Cheng will announce the appointment of an Interim President for Southern.
President Bertolino concluded his message with a commitment to ensure a smooth leadership transition for Southern: “Know that I will work closely with whoever is appointed to ensure a smooth transition. I have the utmost confidence in those who will guide Southern in the coming months. We have talent and smarts in our leadership team, in the broader SCSU community, and throughout the CSCU system.”