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Dr. Karim Ismaili appointed next president of Eastern Connecticut State University

Published on May 07, 2024

Dr. Karim Ismaili appointed next president of Eastern Connecticut State University

Dr. Karim Ismaili
Dr. Karim Ismaili

(Hartford, CT) – Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) Chancellor Terrence Cheng announced May 7 that he will appoint Dr. Karim Ismaili as president of Eastern Connecticut State University. Dr. Ismaili is currently executive vice president and provost at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. Dr. Ismaili begins his new role on July 31, 2024.

“As a first-generation college student, Dr. Ismaili understands the power and transformative role of higher education. In his new role as president of Eastern Connecticut State University, Dr. Ismaili will ensure Eastern’s nearly 4,000 students have access to the programs, courses, resources and support needed to thrive,” said CSCU Chancellor Cheng. “Throughout his career, Dr. Ismaili has secured the resources necessary to advance the mission of state universities; has worked collaboratively with internal and external constituencies to ensure student success; and has spearheaded the creation of new programs to meet student and workforce needs. He will help us reimagine a liberal arts university for the 21st century.”

Dr. Ismaili has extensive leadership and administrative experience, having worked in higher education for close to three decades. Under his leadership at Bridgewater State University, Dr. Ismaili advanced new degree programs based on workforce needs; guided successful interim and comprehensive regional (NECHE) accreditation reviews; and deepened relationships with public and private higher educational institutions to build academic pathways, with a particular focus on low-income, first-generation and students from systemically minoritized groups.

“Dr. Ismaili has the experience and vision needed to be a highly successful leader for the Eastern community. As Eastern’s next president, he will strengthen transfer pathways, build on the university’s commitment to social justice and equity, and ensure the financial stability of the university,” said Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education Chair JoAnn Ryan. “I want to thank Charter Oak State College President Ed Klonoski, who chaired the presidential search committee, and representatives from the Eastern community for their work in ensuring this was a successful process.”

Dr. Ismaili earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Philosophy in criminology from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Arts in criminology from Simon Fraser University.

“As the state’s only public liberal arts institution, Eastern has provided students with endless opportunities and pathways to success through its 40 majors and more than 60 concentrations. Eastern continues to be at the forefront of innovation, creating and implementing programs and courses to attract new and underserved students,” said Dr. Ismaili. “I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to work with the entire Eastern community to build on its success and chart a path forward with energy, enthusiasm and optimism.”

Chancellor Cheng, Eastern leadership and community stakeholders will work closely on transitional plans to ensure a successful start to the fall 2024 semester. Dr. Ismaili will also be a tenured professor in Eastern’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology, and Social Work.

Last year, Eastern’s current president, Dr. Elsa Núñez, announced she would retire as president following the conclusion of the spring 2024 semester.

“I am so grateful to President Núñez for the 18 years she has given to Eastern, and the culture of academic excellence and student success she has helped to create. It is an exciting time for Dr. Ismaili and Eastern’s incredible faculty and staff to write the next chapter,” said CSCU Chancellor Cheng.