Students React to New UConn President

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UConn welcomed its new president Tuesday morning. Students have given him solid reviews. (Photo by Judah Shingleton/The Daily Campus)

On Feb. 5, the University of Connecticut officially announced Thomas C. Katsouleas as the University’s 16th president.

Katsouleas will be replacing current president Susan Herbst on Aug. 1, 2019. Many students were not surprised by the university’s choice in Katsouleas.

“I did initially think he was a safe bet,” Omar Taweh, an eighth-semester senior physiology and neurobiology major, said. “I do think they (the board) chose him because they knew he would do the job the way they wanted him to do the job, and I don’t mean that in a malicious way, but I don’t mean that in an amazing way either, it’s just a very neutral term.”

Katsouleas comes from a scientific background working as a plasma physicist and engineer. Many students, including Taweh, are excited by his previous work and devotion to scientific research.

“The fact that he’s a scientist makes me excited. They have critical thinking skills that allow them to maneuver problems they approach differently than a standard human being,” Taweh said.

Katsouleas has worked as both a professor, teaching physics and as a researcher. This array of experiences is something that students find add to his credibility and problem-solving abilities.

Griffin Tyler, an economics major and eighth-semester senior, argued in favor of Katsouleas.

“I read over some of his file this afternoon, in some of the newspapers and his credentials, [he] looked pretty good,” Tyler said.

Taweh also said Katsouleas’ credibility is a strong suit.

“I know his positions in the past have entailed a lot of responsibility where he’s been working with students, and I expect that after looking into his background a lot more that he honestly seems like such a well-rounded human being,” Taweh said.

The state budget remains a hot topic among students, but both Taweh and Tyler appeared optimistic about the future.

“Hopefully he will be able to push us in the right direction even though the state’s budget is coming down and tuition is going up,” Tyler said.


Rachel Grella is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at rachel.grella@uconn.edu.

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