University Dedicates Bergami and Pompea Graduate Center at Orange Campus

University Dedicates Bergami and Pompea Graduate Center at Orange Campus

by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor

President Steve Kaplan likes to joke that he made prominent alumni Sam Bergami ’85 EMBA and Charlie Pompea ’71, ’90 EMBA millionaires. Though, the president is quick to point out, the dedicated UNH supporters were multimillionaires before he met them.

On Friday, the University community celebrated the generosity of Bergami and his wife, Lois, and Pompea and his wife, Tammy, for their transformational gifts that supported the University’s acquisition of its new campus in Orange. The facility was dedicated as the Bergami and Pompea Graduate Center during an afternoon ceremony.

(L-R) Lois and Sam Bergami, President Steve Kaplan and Tammy and Charlie Pompea.

“As I have conveyed to Sam and Charlie in a number of discussions, I believe the University’s acquisition of this new campus is, for me, the most important development that has taken place during my presidency,” said Kaplan.

Bergami, who served as chair of the UNH Board of Governors from 2006 to 2012 and is a current member, has spent nearly 50 years at Alinabal, Inc., working up the ranks from a tool and die apprentice to become president, CEO and co-owner.

Pompea, a former vice chair of the Board and an emeritus member, spent two decades advancing up the ladder at Primary Steel, a company he eventually purchased in 1993 and ran for 15 years.

The two, who met at UNH more than 25 years ago, reflected on the development that has taken place since their days as students and praised Kaplan for his vision for the University.

“The ongoing growth that has taken place over the past 10 years since Steve Kaplan came here has been nothing short of staggering,” said Bergami.

“I look back at the University of New Haven and look where it has come and where it is going to be in another 10, 15 or 20 years, and it is simply amazing,” added Pompea. “Certainly, the biggest driver has been Steve.”

Longstanding University supporters, the Bergamis and Pompeas were significant donors to the construction of two of the University’s signature buildings, the Beckerman Recreation Center and the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, among other important initiatives.

Both said they were humbled that their names will adorn a facility that provides students the same opportunities they had.

“I love the University, and I am very proud to be an alumnus,” said Pompea.

“I am especially glad that this wonderful facility will provide the same exceptional experience that I enjoyed when I went through the EMBA program,” added Bergami.

The campus, located off the Wilbur Cross Parkway, includes more than 70,000 square feet of space on 47 secluded acres. It is home for the Executive MBA and MBA programs, as well as UNH’s master’s degree in sports management. The facility features state-of-the-art technology computer labs, classrooms, meeting rooms and cafeteria that are designed to simulate the atmosphere of working in the board room of a leading corporation.

“You think a little bit differently when you first arrive here,” said Dan May, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “And that is a really important part of this facility.

Jim Zeoli, first selectman in Orange, conceded that when the site went up for sale, the town’s leaders faced some anxiety. He said many potential buyers visited the site, but their visions did not fit with what the town had in mind – until UNH expressed an interest.

“I don’t think I could have ever been more pleased than when I found out that the University of New Haven was making the move to develop this site for their graduate studies center,” said Zeoli. “I thought it was probably the best fit that I could imagine.”

Cherie Fazzino ’15 M.A., a vice president of the Graduate Student Council, said that she was already advocating for her program in industrial and organizational psychology to move to the new facility.

“My experiences as a graduate student have soared past my expectations,” said Fazzino.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” she said, quoting internationally renowned management consultant Peter Drucker. “I see the future being created right here.” 

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