- John Malfettone
September 2022 Letter from the Chairman
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
Hello UConn Nation!
As one of UConn Strong’s most enthusiastic supporters, I am known to “bleed blue.” Because I am so deeply immersed in all that UConn offers to its students and to the state of Connecticut, I find it challenging to understand why politicians and other public figures take shots at our flagship university without first taking the time to understand the basic facts.
Recently, a Hartford Courant columnist did just that, sharing his uninformed opinion about the current Board of Trustees search for UConn’s new president. Upon reading the column, I immediately sent in a Letter to the Editor, which I am hopeful will be published in the near future. In the meantime, I would like to share with you some of my own thoughts.
UConn and UConn Health contribute a total of $5.7 billion per year to the state’s economy, including $330 million in state and local tax revenue. Together, they support nearly 29,000 jobs in the state. To put it simply, the University is an asset to our state.
The columnist cites state support of UConn Health as an example of its failings; however without the state’s unfunded pension liability dumped on it annually, UConn Health would have a surplus that could be reinvested. In another simplistic criticism, the columnist takes shots at challenges that have recently faced UConn’s Division I athletic program. There is no question that, as with any high profile athletic program, UConn must continue to monitor its culture and ensure all decisions are consistent with their overall mission and NCAA compliance. However, the columnist’s myopic view of these challenges is uninformed and does the opposite of advancing public understanding of these issues, as he clearly does not understand them himself.
Likely the only thing I happen to agree with in the Hartford Courant column is that the Board of Trustees is faced with an important decision in choosing the next President to lead our state’s flagship University. Dr. Andy Agwunobi and Radenka Maric are both exceptionally talented individuals who have helped to guide UConn through this period of transition. We at UConn Strong are confident that the Board will make the right decision, be it from within the University or with an outside hire, to provide UConn with a stable and strong leader for our future.
In other news, UConn Strong is excited to announce three receptions in October, featuring special guest Interim President Radenka Maric and other UConn officials. These are small gatherings and by invitation only, but if you are interested in getting involved with UConn Strong, please let us know with an email to email@example.com. If space allows, we will be sure to send you an invite.
October 6, Stamford
October 13, Tolland
October 26, Farmington
All events are 6-8 PM.
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