Neil A. Salonen, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Bridgeport, was today unanimously appointed ninth President of the University during an Executive Session of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Salonen succeeds Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, who has served as President of the University since January 1995.
"The experience I bring to the University is my ability to put teams of professionals together and help them work in harmony toward a defined goal," said Mr. Salonen. "Our goal at the University will be to strengthen our already successful programs and continue to give our students a high quality undergraduate and graduate education with a global perspective."
Mr. Salonen noted that while he does not have a background in higher education administration, there has been a recent trend toward hiring presidents who have strong managerial and financial capabilities. He has served on the University Board of Trustees since 1992 and has been Chairman since 1995.
"The caliber of students, faculty and administration at the University is outstanding and they are extraordinarily loyal to the institution," said Mr. Salonen. "One of my primary objectives will be to increase the range of resources and opportunities available to them and, in general, ensure the smooth administration of the University. I've been working with the campus community for the past seven years and I know many of the challenges facing it. I look forward to bringing fresh approaches and expertise to meeting them."
"Dr. Rubenstein has been an excellent President and has restored confidence in the academic stature of the University. I will be a different kind of President but I hope to be effective," said Mr. Salonen.
Mr. Salonen has served on a number of boards over the years, most notably as Vice Chairman of the Professors World Peace Academy, which is in partnership with the University, and as President of the International Cultural Foundation, which sponsors a number of programs and conferences both in the US and abroad.
He is 54 years old, is married and has two grown children. He was born in New York City and reared on Long Island. He attended Cornell University and graduated from the University of the State of New York with a Bachelorıs degree in 1980. He subsequently has done graduate work at the George Washington University. He and his family currently reside in Rockville, Maryland, and will be moving to the Bridgeport area as soon as possible.
"The Board of Trustees has worked with Neil Salonen for seven years. They know him very well and have learned to respect his abilities as an academic leader . In their wisdom, they have chosen him as the University of Bridgeportıs next President. I hope I left the institution in better and sounder condition than when I arrived and I feel a profound sense of gratitude that I had the privilege to serve this institution as President. I will continue to serve this institution for many years to come. I look forward to working under the new President, Neil Salonen. There isnıt another man or woman anywhere I'd rather see as my successor."
President Rubenstein will continue at UB, both as a faculty member and as director of a new research institute focusing on the holocaust. He was recently named to the steering committee of the British foundation, "Remembering for the Future 2000", a group which hosts international conferences for scholars studying the holocaust. It is based in Oxford.
"We are extremely fortunate to have a person such as Neil Salonen assuming the position of President of the University of Bridgeport. He is a highly intelligent, talented, hardworking individual, as clearly demonstrated by his years of service as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is totally dedicated and committed to the University and I have no doubt that he is the right person to lead the University into the new millennium."