Business Schools

University of Hartford Names Lawrence P. Ward as New President

Lawrence P. Ward will become the seventh president of the University of Hartford. Courtesy photo

Lawrence P. Ward, who has deep roots in Connecticut and West Hartford, has been named the next president of the University of Hartford.

By Ronni Newton

Lawrence P. Ward, Ed.D, who is currently the vice president for learner success and dean of campus life at Babson College in Wellesley, MA, was announced Thursday as the next president of the University of Hartford in West Hartford.

Ward, who will assume his role as the seventh president of UHart on July 1, will succeed interim president Stephen Mulready M’77, who has been acting president since Gregory Woodward, UHart’s sixth president, retired last summer.

“Following an extensive and comprehensive search process, the University’s Board of Regents was unanimous in our decision that Larry Ward is the right leader to steward the University of Hartford’s continued evolution and success,” Board of Regents Chair Donald Allan Jr. ’86 said in a statement. “The Board and I want to thank Acting President Stephen Mulready for his selfless service as our interim president in this challenging post-COVID period for higher learning institutions. He is a great example for our students in giving back throughout a successful career. He has strengthened our foundation this year, and we are ready to keep building to new heights for the benefit of our students, region, and state.”

“I am honored and absolutely delighted to have been selected by the Board of Regents as the next president of the University of Hartford,” Ward said in a statement. “From my first interactions with the search committee and throughout the selection process, I felt a very strong connection and enthusiasm for the University and this extraordinary academic community. I am energized by our strategic opportunities for growth and confident in our ability to navigate the challenging landscape of higher education, while maintaining a relentless commitment to student success.”

The announcement noted Ward’s role at Babson as central to shaping institutional priorities and strategic plans while successfully supporting the increasingly diverse undergraduate and graduate student body experiences.

“Ward’s numerous accomplishments at Babson include providing vision and oversight for major capital construction projects; advancing fundraising priorities that enhance student well-being, belonging, and engagement; reimagining the student success infrastructure; building a championship intercollegiate athletics culture; developing new non-tuition revenue channels; and strengthening the College’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity,” states the announcement.

“At each stage of my career, the hallmark of my leadership success has been my ability to authentically engage within and beyond my campus community,” Ward said. “In my experience, leading with personal authenticity and humility, as well as with vision and strategy, builds credibility, increases trust, and strengthens people’s willingness to work well together. That’s how I will approach my presidency at UHart.”

Ward said he looks forward to collaborations with businesses, elected officials, civic organizations, and other colleges “to expand UHart’s educational and economic ecosystem,” as well as expanding enrollment and elevating the brand within and outside the region.

Ward’s prior experience includes serving as associate dean for academic programs at American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington, DC, as managing director at PRS, Inc., an organizational development consulting firm, and as a health care account executive for Aetna.

He is also a member of the NCAA Board of Governors, chair of the NCAA Division III Management Council, and trustee at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT, and is often sought as a speaker or panelist on topics such as “how to help individuals and organizations reach their maximum potential for success.”

Ward has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds a faculty appointment in the Graduate School of Education.

He and his wife, Katerie, are both from the Hartford area. Katerie is an elementary school teacher and they have two children – Aidan, who lives and works full time in New York City, and Emerson, who will begin college this fall. The announcement notes that Ward’s extended family also has deep roots in the area dating back to the 1940s. His mother, now retired, was a human resources executive, and his brother, Rev. Fredd Ward, was chosen as senior pastor of First Church West Hartford in December 2023.

“My most fundamental truth is that leadership success is about the people whom I lead and the communities that I serve,” Ward added. “Without question, returning home to Hartford to lead this incredible institution into its next chapter is a very special and exciting opportunity for my family and me.”

Ward was selected from a large and diverse candidate pool by UHart’s Presidential Search Committee, in partnership with national search firm WittKieffer. University Regent Michael Daglio ’91, chief operating officer at Hartford HealthCare, one of the University’s strategic partners, led the committee and said the committee and campus stakeholders believed that Ward’s “professional experience, personal history, and leadership strengths” stood out and were aligned with the University’s academic mission, vision, values, and goals.

“At this important moment in the University’s history, the committee has complete confidence that we found the ideal individual to keep moving our vision to reality,” Daglio said in a statement. “At his core, Larry is an educator and a community connector. What he demonstrated to us throughout the process is that he is also a strategic thinker, a disciplined steward of financial resources, a champion for inclusive excellence, and an entrepreneurial leader.”

Ward has received multiple honors and awards during his career including twice (2020 and 2023) being named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Business Leaders of Color by the Charles River Chamber of Commerce, MetroWest, Massachusetts; recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award and William B. Castetter Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education; and  Pillar of the Profession Award in 2021 by the NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

The University of Hartford is currently in the final stages of its strategic action plan, UHart Start, “focused on holistic student success and growing its strategic partnerships, adding valuable support, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities for students.” The university has had increases in applications and enrollment, the announcement notes, and recently opened the transformational 60,000-square-foot Francis X. and Nancy Hursey Center for Advanced Engineering and Health Professions and announced the creation of the Allan Center for Career and Professional Development to promote career readiness.

Allan, an alumnus and corporate partner, as well as board chair, noted that “Stanley Black & Decker, Hartford HealthCare, Pratt & Whitney, and other industry leaders in Connecticut are stepping up to make significant investments into the University of Hartford. We recognize the talented pipeline of students receiving an exceptional and hands-on educational experience at UHart, and what that means for the future of our workforce in the state. It’s a transformational time and President-Elect Ward will be a critical partner in our growth,” he said, once who will infuse his energy and experience to help further UHart’s positive trajectory.

“I have long admired the University’s unique array of schools and academic units, including compelling combinations of the liberal, performing, and creative arts, with great depth in the sciences and professions,” Ward said. “As president, I will embrace not only UHart’s mission, proud history, and strengths, but also confidently lean into new opportunities and substantive challenges – while demonstrating a deep appreciation for the values of transparency and community engagement.”

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Translate »