On Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, the New Hall student residence was renamed Bergami Hall in honor of Samuel S. Bergami, Jr., and his wife, Lois Stapleton Bergami, at a well-attended dedication ceremony. The UNH community, including senior members of administration, faculty, staff, students and friends, recognized the remarkable commitment of the Bergami family to the growth and development of the University through their past and present donations of time and money. Sam Bergami, who was former chair and is a current member of the Board of Governors, is a UNH alumnus. He was awarded an EMBA from the College of Business in 1985.
The most recent generous gift from the Bergami family allowed the university to purchase the 66,000-square-foot facility facing the Boston Post Road, which includes not only dorms, student lounges, classrooms and dining areas, but also essential administrative offices and retail space. Built in 2004 and on lease, the university was able to purchase the building at a cost of $12.5 million.
The purchase was made possible through the assistance of the Bergami gift—another in a lengthy line of charitable contributions which includes the Samuel S. Bergami, Jr., Learning Center for Finance and Technology, the Bergami Family Fitness Center, the Bergami Family Lecture Hall, and the Bergami Family Summer Internship Program. As well, the Bergami family has endowed several scholarships to assist and advance future generations of UNH students.
At the unveiling ceremony, President Steven H. Kaplan remarked on the longstanding and storied philanthropy of Sam Bergami to UNH. In his lighthearted, but also serious and significant remarks, Kaplan noted that “with the exception of the Rockefellers, the name ‘Bergami’ is probably on more college buildings than any other name in the country.”
In emphasizing the Bergami family’s generosity to the university, Kaplan further noted that “Sam is a millionaire now. He was a multimillionaire before he met me. Now, he claims me as a dependent on his tax returns.”
Kaplan closed his remarks by noting that UNH will soon be the beneficiary of the Bergami Family’s renewed financial commitment. In a challenge donation, Sam Bergami, who is one of UNH’s two largest donators, has agreed to fund the purchase of property in the Orange area. The university plans to house its ever-expanding graduate programs there.
Not only Kaplan recognized the matchless financial support of Sam Bergami at the dedication ceremony, but John M. Picard, the Mayor of the City of West Haven, did so as well. Mayor Picard, who is also a UNH alumnus, noted that the university has grown by “leaps and bounds” and that the campus when he was a student was “about the size of a phone book.”
He credited the Bergami family and their impact gift-giving with the rapid, hallmarked advancement of the university and cited Sam Bergami as the vital link in the partnership between UNH and the City.
Phillip H. Bartels, the recently-elected chair for the Board of Governors, also paid tribute to the numerous contributions of Sam and his family to UNH. He praised Bergami on both a professional and personal level, honoring him as both a mentor and a friend. Bartels has worked with Bergami for several years, especially during Bergami’s past stewardship as chairman.
In recognition of Sam Bergami’s many contributions, the university named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 2000, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Business degree in 2002, and presented him with the President’s Award in 2012. Under his continued support, it is clear that the University of New Haven will thrive—indeed, flourish and prosper—in the decades to come.