In July 2016, Joe Bertolino, Ed.D., was named the 12th president of Southern Connecticut State University, a public institution of 10,300 students in New Haven, Conn. President Joe, as he is affectionately known, has been a social justice educator for 25 years, and is passionate about student success and access to higher education.
During his short time at the helm of Southern, he has outlined the following priorities: raising the University’s profile, expanding community outreach and partnerships; strategic enrollment recruitment and retention; and streamlining students’ path to earning a degree.
Early initiatives include a new marketing program that is reintroducing the University to the region and beyond; the University’s first comprehensive enrollment plan and new community partnerships at multiple levels to establish Southern as a good neighbor.
He has been recognized with numerous outstanding professional awards. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Golden Key. Campus Activities Magazine named President Bertolino “Best Diversity Artist” in 2007, and the American College Personnel Association presented him with the prestigious Annuit Coeptis Award. His undergraduate alma mater, the University of Scranton, presented him with the 2011 Frank O’Hara Award in Education — the highest award given jointly by the University and the National Alumni Society. Most recently, President Bertolino has been recognized by the Southern Connecticut Urban League with the 2017 Diversity Award and Delta Sigma Phi with the 2017 Career Lifetime Achievement Award in Education.
President Bertolino has served on numerous national and local boards and was appointed by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin to serve on the New England Board of Higher Education. Currently, President Bertolino serves on the boards of the American Association of State Colleges & Universities; the American Council on Education (ACE) Council of Fellows; New Haven Promise; the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA; and the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
He earned his doctorate in higher education administration and organizational leadership from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2003, a master’s in social work from Rutgers University in 1990, and a bachelor of science in psychology and sociology from the University of Scranton in 1986.
President Bertolino lives with his partner of 24 years, Bil Leipold, Ed.D., and his three dogs, Livingston (a Corgi), Wanamassa (a Shih Tzu), and Willoughby Vail (a Lhasa Apso mix).