Malloy Celebrates Groundbreaking For Ernest Trefz School Of Business At UB, Mayor A No Show

Salonen, Malloy, Trefz
Governor Dan Malloy is sandwiched by UB President Neil Salonen, left, and Ernie Trefz at Wednesday morning groundbreaking.

Governor Dan Malloy on Wednesday joined University of Bridgeport officials at the groundbreaking for the Ernest Trefz School of Business in honor of the UB supporter and trustee. Mayor Bill Finch, continuing his boycott of UB because of his opposition to an arm of the Unification Church that rescued the university financially more than 20 years ago, did not attend. Finch, an employee of the university decades ago, will not attend UB events irrespective of the university’s turnaround, economic impact on the city and respected public officials and dignitaries who support the South End campus. Trefz is the owner of the Bridgeport Holiday Inn Downtown. In lieu of the mayor’s presence, Chief of Staff Adam Wood presented Trefz a city proclamation.

News release from UB:

Calling it “another important step forward for the University,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy joined University of Bridgeport (UB) Trustee Ernest Trefz and campus officials today in breaking ground on the newly renamed Trefz School of Business.

Mr. Trefz has been a trustee of the University since 1980 and a constant presence as an advisor, philanthropist, and supporter. His gift is a tribute to his parents and family who gave him the skills he needed to become an entrepreneur and business leader, he said.

Salonen, Malloy, Foster, Zullo
From left, UB President Neil Salonen, Governor Malloy, Mary-Jane Foster, vice president of university relations and Frank Zullo, former mayor of Norwalk and co-chair of the Board of Trustees at UB.

“This groundbreaking is a celebration of Ernie’s long-time philanthropy and another important step forward for the University of Bridgeport as an institution of higher learning,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “We are also here to celebrate a project that represents a major investment in our future workforce and, upon completion, a project that will facilitate an even stronger partnership between the university and Connecticut’s business community.”

Gov. Malloy was joined by UB President Neil A. Salonen, UB Trustee Frank Zullo, School of Business Dean Lloyd Gibson, and Mr. Trefz, who all delivered remarks at the school, 230 Park Avenue.

“This naming gift from Trustee Trefz will transform the School of Business, and in particular, strengthen its focus on Entrepreneurship,” President Salonen said. “We are grateful to Ernie’s generosity and steadfast loyalty to UB.”

Trefz said, “I am honored and, honestly, humbled that UB’s business school will carry my name. I would never have imagined all those years ago that one day I would be in a position to be of help to future generations of aspiring business people and entrepreneurs. I come from a family of immigrants who taught me the value of hard work and persistence. I understand how important education is and I hope my efforts at UB will help others, like me all those years ago, achieve their dreams.”

The University is in the midst of a multi-year, multi-million dollar capital campaign to enhance its main Bridgeport campus. Since 2007, it has raised nearly $50 million from bonds, grants, and private donors to complete dozens of projects.



  1. Congratulations to the University of Bridgeport.

    The mayor is wrong, dead wrong, on a number of different levels.

    But you almost have to admire him at this point.

    It would be so much easier for the mayor to smile, make nice, just go along–and quietly stick a knife into them.

    Instead, he has let everyone know about his hostility, is consistent about it, and everyone can adjust how they handle things accordingly. People can work around a mayor, they always have, particularly when they have an odd story to tell about opposition, and people believe the story. It generates sympathy.

    There is no question of the mayor’s hostility. I have not read anything here to suggest it extends beyond campus limits, and just to the college itself. OK, maybe he’s not too fond of a vice president of something or another down there. But she strikes me as a big kid able to take care of herself.

    This is dumb. This is irritating. There is no reason for it. The mayor is unnecessarily hurting himself politically. (See opposition in the South End, Black Rock.) Ya gotta write this off to the human comedy.

    And the more we talk about this the more attention is taken from the advance in programs at UB. Congrats to the business school, Ernie Trefz and all involved.

  2. Typical POS. Even though he has a publicly known issue with the school, I’m still surprised he didn’t show up for his photo op as he usually does for things he has no part of. The mayor of our city should be 100% behind the one university we have and help it prosper, because in the long run it also will improve the image of BPT if the university is doing well.

  3. This is just another huge contribution the Trefz family has given to Bridgeport. Regarding the earlier post where they were character assassinated because of firing an associate, it is sad Finch does not show support for the University that is an anchor in the South End and key to future development projects. Malloy should also be insulted the Mayor did not show up. I can understand his position 20 years ago but really, you are the Mayor now. You represent us and the ground breaking could have been that much more festive with your presence. Finch also knows if he did show up, many would hurl assaults this was just another photo opportunity. I can remember when all my friends from Long Island made Bridgeport their home for four years. That was in the mid ’70s. I wish The University of Bridgeport continued success. The University is key for any future hope and development for the South End. Mayor Finch, you need to swallow your pride and embrace UB.

      1. Ron Mackey, people come and go. We do not know the story behind the firing and to be honest, I do not care. It is not my business and I am not the owner of the business. Calling him an ass is disrespectful and not necessary. Your friend had a good run and now somebody else gets a shot. Better you support raising the minimum wage so the working poor can eat. Your friend was living the good life while it lasted. So for the thousands of people Trefz puts to work and the time and money he contributes to Bridgeport, I think calling him an ass just isn’t warranted.

  4. The mayor is not going to grow up, he is never going to be big enough or smart enough to understand the city he governs needs a successful university and he is going to continue to hamper the potential of Bridgeport by refusing to leverage its assets. It is what it is. Looks like he’ll continue to create new parks and other non-taxable opportunities and the University of Bridgeport will continue to thrive, contribute major economic benefit to the city and ultimately mayors come and go but UB will be here to stay.

  5. The University of B’port (UB) is ranked #4 by U.S. News and World Report in online graduate IT programs.

    Source: www

    Crazy idea: Could the UB IT professors be a resource for B’port’s gov’t IT system and engineering? The public school system’s IT? Cooly distancing our city government from the many talents and resources of UB … talk about shooting yourself in the foot–our collective foot … and how about the school children?

    And sending a minion with a proclamation! Straight out of the Munchkin Welcome/Lollipop Guild playbook.

  6. *** UB is a local education “gem” that should be “polished” every chance this city’s Mayor gets, instead of always trying to “tarnish” it! *** WAKE UP! ***


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