About Joe Bertolino

President Joe Bertolino with students laughing

In July 2016, Joe Bertolino, Ed.D., was named the 12th President of Southern Connecticut State University, a public institution of 10,300 students in New Haven, Conn. President Joe, as he is affectionately known, has been a social justice educator for 25 years, and is passionate about student success and access to higher education.

During his short time at the helm of Southern, he has outlined the following priorities: raising the University’s profile, expanding community outreach and partnerships; strategic enrollment recruitment and retention; and streamlining students’ path to earning a degree.

Early initiatives include a new marketing program that is reintroducing the University to the region and beyond; the University’s first comprehensive enrollment plan and new community partnerships at multiple levels to establish Southern as a good neighbor. 

President Joe Bertolino at a football game sitting with students

Administrative leadership in higher education has long been Dr. Bertolino’s passion. From 2012-16, he served as President of Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont, where he instituted a plan of  “Moving Forward,” reintroducing Lyndon State as “the College” of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Previously, he served as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Queens College/City University of New York from 2004-2012.     

Dr. Bertolino is an author, lecturer, and teacher, having presented hundreds of programs to tens of thousands of students at over 600 colleges and conferences nationwide. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and is the co-author of Let The Games Begin, A Guide For Peer Mentors (2012). His research interests include student immigration (with an emphasis on undocumented students and the DREAM Act), campus community development, campus social change, leadership development, service learning, multicultural worldviews, and LGBTQ student issues. 

He has been recognized with numerous outstanding professional awards. Campus Activities Magazine named Bertolino “Best Diversity Artist” in 2007, and the American College Personnel Association presented him with the prestigious Annuit Coeptis Award. His undergraduate alma mater, the University of Scranton, presented him with the 2011 Frank O’Hara Award in Education — the highest award given jointly by the University and the National Alumni Society.

Dr. Bertolino currently serves on the boards of the American Association of State Colleges & Universities; the American Council on Education (ACE) Council of Fellows; New Haven Promise; and the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA.

He earned his doctorate in higher education administration and organizational leadership from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2003, a master’s in social work from Rutgers University in 1990, and a bachelor of science in psychology and sociology from the University of Scranton in 1986. 

Joe Bertolino and Bil Leipold

Dr. Bertolino lives with his partner of 23 years, Bil Leipold, Ed.D., and his three dogs, Livingston (a Corgi), Wanamassa (a Shih Tzu), and Willoughby Vail (a Lhasa Apso mix).