The United Nations Charter went into force on October 24, 1945. The Junior College of Connecticut became the University of Bridgeport in 1947, less than two years later. Since its beginning the University has been a strong advocate for the United Nations and education for world peace and development.
The first activity on record was the celebration of of UN week in 1947, with Wendell Kellogg, the public relations director for University speaking to a group gathered in Bridgeport.
On January 20, 1951, it was announced that Frank Jacoby, a successful Bridgeport merchant, had provided a $1,000 annual gift for a lecture on “the Brotherhood of Man” to bring an outstanding national figure each year to the University of Bridgeport. The agreement was made with UB President James H. Halsey–who later became President of the Connecticut UN Association and organized many celebrations and UN observances.
The First Jacoby lecturer, in 1952, was Dr. Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize winner, civil rights leader, and long-time undersecretary at the UN. He was followed by such luminaries as Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacob Javits, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Leland Miles, who took over the presidency of the University of Bridgeport in 1974, brought a boost to the promotion of the United Nations and peace education, not only at the University but as the representative of the the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) at the United Nations. Miles was inspired by Rodrigo Carazo who, as President of Costa Rica, had established a United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. Miles promoted the idea of peace education at IAUP meetings, and awarded President Carazo an honorary doctorate from the University of Bridgeport. Dr. Miles also create a Committee of International Fellows with distinguished international members to help guide UB’s international programs.
By 1992, much of the manufacturing that had given a boon to the city of Bridgeport had been moved by manufacturers to other countries. UB had fallen on hard times and President Carazo led a delegation of international scholars with the Professors World Peace Academy, an international academic organization, to UB to establish a relationship with the university that would bring in much needed financial support and increase the University’s International programs and student body. A number of prominent academics, including: Morton A. Kaplan, Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago; Dr. Nicholas Kittrie, Professor of Law at American University and active on several UN committees and international justice programs; Professor Elliott Skinner, Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, and First African-American Ambassador to an African country; and Professor June Dreyer, Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Miami.
Shortly thereafter Dr. Stoyan Ganev, the 47th President of the UN General Assembly, was hired to develop international programs at UB. He helped to create the International Political Economy and Development (IPED) degree at UB and the New England Center of International and Regional Studies. These programs and others coalesced into the International College under Dean Thomas Ward, who brought his global experience with international banking and other international programs to UB. The International College has sponsored UB participation in the Model UN competition for students.
On September 10, 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a new initiative called “Academic Impact” to officially involve higher education in the work of the United Nations based on ten principles. The University of Bridgeport became a member of Academic Impact in 2009.
The University of Bridgeport continues to expand its activities related to the United Nations, international development, international security, peace studies, conflict resolution, and global citizenship. More detailed information about these activities and United Nations programs and concerns can be found on this website.
University of Bridgeport Mission Statement
The University of Bridgeport offers career-oriented undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees and programs for people seeking personal and professional growth. The University promotes academic excellence, personal responsibility, and commitment to service. Distinctive curricula in an international, culturally diverse supportive learning environment prepare graduates for life and leadership in an increasingly interconnected world. The University is independent and non-sectarian. —Adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 23, 2004.