UNH Names $40 Million Residence Hall for Joseph “Chick” E. Celentano Sr.

by Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations

UNH will rename Soundview Hall, its newest and largest residence hall, in honor of Joseph “Chick” E. Celentano Sr. of West Haven.

The building is being dedicated to Celentano in recognition of his contribution of a 2.8 acre parcel of commercial land on Boston Post Road directly across from the UNH campus in West Haven. The University also will award annual scholarships in Celentano’s name to West Haven students attending UNH.

Celentano Hall

“As a successful business owner in West Haven, I recognize the value that UNH provides to West Haven and the surrounding community,” said Celentano. “The continued success and development of UNH is critically important to the transformation of Allingtown Center.”
Celentano owns a number of businesses in Florida and Connecticut, including the popular Chick’s Drive-in Restaurant on Beach St. in West Haven, founded by Celentano’s father in 1950.

Celentano served in the United States Navy and Air Force during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. He was assigned to Attack Squadron One Seventy-Five and Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron #6.  He also served on the USS Leyte, the USS Antietam, and the USS Saipan.

Following his active service, Celentano returned to his West Haven roots to run the restaurant and began giving back to his community. He has served on almost every civic association and city of West Haven commission. He was a Park and Recreation commissioner and served on the Board of Police Commissioners and the Planning and Zoning Commission. In 1969, Celentano received the Outstanding Citizen of West Haven award.

One of his most enjoyable personal accomplishments was in 1992 when he purchased the private home of the late entertainer Jackie Gleason on the grounds of the Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill, Florida.

“Chick has built successful businesses, created many jobs and been a leading citizen of West Haven,” said UNH President Steve Kaplan.  “He has also been a wonderful neighbor to UNH throughout his life. We are honored and grateful that he is continuing to give back to his city through his support of UNH and West Haven students.”

Soundview Hall, which will be renamed Joseph “Chick” E. Celentano Hall, opened in August 2009 and features spectacular views of Long Island sound and downtown New Haven from its upper floors. It is the first "green" residence hall at UNH and has received LEED gold certification status. The hall consists of four-person double, four-person single, and six-person single apartments for 402 students.

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