Papazian named president of SCSU; interim chief stays in system

Mary Papazian is set to be named Southern Connecticut State University’s next president before the end of the day, two years after a very awkward dismissal of the previous president.

Mary Papazian

Mary Papazian (photo courtesy of Lehman College)


The Connecticut State University System’s board received more than 70 applications and released a list of their three finalists last month — which included Papazian, a top official at Lehman College in the Bronx, and SCSU’s interim President Stanley Battle. The third candidate, James McCarthy of Baruch College, withdrew his name from the running in an email last month.

Papazian’s salary will be $294,460, the same as her predecessor’s, and a spokeswoman for the system said the rest of her compensation package is still being finalized.

Papazian is set to tour the 11,000-student university this afternoon, though classes have already ended for the semester. University faculty have been highly critical of how long it has taken to name a president.

Battle, who emailed SCSU students and faculty this morning that he would be withdrawing his name, will remain working in the system.

Asked if Battle has been hired under the newly formed Board or Regents, spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan responded in an email, “Details still being finalized,” but that he will be a social work professor at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

The unanimous recommendation by Connecticut State University’s Board of Trustees for Papazian is likely to be their last action. The board is set to dissolve at the end of the year after a tumultuous year. Top officials were criticized for getting double-digit raises and the questionable hiring of Chancellor David Carter’s wife. In addition, the board received a public lambasting by state legislators for how the system handled the departure of Cheryl Norton, the former SCSU president.

As a result of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s reorganization plan, the Board of Regents is set to take over governing the community colleges Jan. 1.

BOR President Robert Kennedy called Papazian a “fantastic choice” who has a “strong academic and administrative experience.”

Papazian attended the University of California. She has been an official at Oakland University, Montclair State University in New Jersey and the City University of New York (CUNY) system. At Lehman, Papazian has been responsible for a $60 million budget and helped build their research programs. She has published a number of books, including her most recent, “Sacred and Profane in English Renaissance Literature.”