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May 19, 2021

UConn Health CEO Agwunobi named UConn’s interim president 

Matt Pilon Andrew Agwunobi is the CEO of UConn Health in Farmington.

The University of Connecticut board of trustees has appointed Dr. Andrew (“Andy”) Agwunobi as the university's interim president.

Agwunobi, who also serves as CEO of UConn Health, will start his tenure as UConn's interim president on July 1. He will continue his duties leading UConn Health as he takes the reins at UConn, the state’s flagship public university.

"I know how much UConn means to the people of this state," Agwunobi said after the unanimous vote favoring his appointment. "It's more than a university, it's an identity."

In comments before trustees unanimously appointed Agwunobi, board Chairman Dan Toscano praised Agwunobi for his stewardship of UConn Health through the COVID-19 pandemic, and praised his "efforts to create a financially viable institution with at least one arm tied behind his back.”

"[Agwunobi] is bold when boldness is needed, cautious when caution is the wisest choice, and methodical on all things," said Toscano, who also noted Agwunobi is the first person of color to serve as UConn president

Agwunobi joined UConn in 2014. As CEO of UConn Health, Agwunobi oversees UConn's $1.2 billion academic health system, which has been dogged by financial problems over the years, particularly from burdensome unfunded liabilities. UConn Health includes a teaching hospital, faculty practice plan, medical school, dental school, research facilities, and an incubator facility/program for biotechnology startups.

His appointment comes after a current UConn President Thomas Katsouleas' March resignation letter surfaced last week.

Sources say his relationship with UConn’s board of trustees has deteriorated but called his resignation voluntary. The conflict had several causes, sources said, beginning with an unexpected announcement at his inauguration to provide free tuition for lower-income households. More recently, he announced the university would cut slated tuition increases by half without consulting with trustees.

His contract with the university has a provision that allows him to transition to a tenured faculty position.

"For reasons we have discussed at length over time, I have made the difficult decision to resign my position as President of the University of Connecticut," Katsouleas wrote in the March 13 letter said. "I appreciate your understanding of my decision."

The resignation came just about three years after UConn hired Katsouleas to helm Connecticut's flagship state university after former President Susan Herbst stepped down after serving eight years in the executive position. 


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