President Profiles

Photo Courtesy SCSU Public Affairs


Michael J. “Red” Adanti was born Jun. 23, 1940 in Derby, Conn. Adanti, class of 1963, was co-captain of the 1962 Owls football team as a center and linebacker. Adanti was named to the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990.

After graduating from Southern, Adanti taught for several years in the Ansonia school system. He served two terms as the 19th mayor of Ansonia. He was the Democratic party’s Congressional Candidate for the 5th district in 1976.

Adanti became the first graduate of Southern to become its president in 1984, serving for 19 years. When Adanti retired in 2003, the school named its new student center after him. After his retirement, Adanti became president and CEO of a mortgage company, the Monetary Funding Group of Connecticut.

On an anniversary trip to Italy with his wife and two family friends also celebrating their anniversary in 2005, the two couples were involved in an automobile accident. Adanti and William P. Tuccio, of Trumbull died in the accident. Adanti was 64.

Photo Courtesy SCSU Public Affairs


When Michael J. Adanti retired in 2003, the Connecticut State University (CSU) Board of Trustees unanimously recommended Dr J. Philip Smith for interim president. Smith was previously the University’s vice president for academic affairs, but Smith began his 47-year tenure at Southern as a professor of mathematics in the fall of 1965. He eventually became chairman of that department and also served as the first director of Southern’s Honors College, which was created in 1982. In 1986, Smith was promoted to dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, a post he held until 1998, when he became interim vice president for academic affairs. In 2000 he was named vice president for academic affairs after a nationwide search. According to a 2003 issue of Southern Magazine, Smith took over at the time of rapidly growing enrollment, new degree programs- including the university’s first doctorate programs, and a $230 million construction program.

Smith is a Connecticut State University system legacy, his father, J. Eugene Smith was president of Eastern Connecticut State University from 1948 to 1966.

Currently Smith teaches classes for the Honors College and is a professor of mathematics at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Photo Courtesy SCSU Public Affairs

The University’s 10th president, was also its first female president. Norton was only the second woman to hold that title at any of the CSU campuses; Ruth A. Haas was president of Western Connecticut State University from 1946 to 1975.

Prior to coming to campus, President Norton was provost of Metropolitan State College of Denver, where she also served as vice president for academic affairs, interim associate dean of the School of Professional Studies, and chairman of the Department of Human Performance, Sport, and Leisure Studies.

Norton was raised in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, and is an avid athlete. She is a nationally ranked marathon runner, earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, won a Tae Kwon Do state championship in fighting and forms, raced a dog sled team for 10 years, and referees soccer games.

In 2011, after a personnel policy change by the system’s chancellor, David G. Carter and board chairman, Karl Krapek, Norton was abruptly fired as president of Southern Connecticut State University, although many board members were not even aware of the decision. The backlash from this incident and other highly criticized decisions led Carter to retire and Krapek to resign amid the controversy.

Photo Courtesy SCSU Public AffairsSTANLEY F. BATTLE

Another controversial policy change did not allow Southern to pull someone from its administration serve as interim president after Norton. Instead, Carter picked an old colleague, who had recently left a job in North Carolina, as interim president.

This colleague was Dr. Stanley F. Battle, former president of Coppin State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Battle’s interim appointment, made by Connecticut State University System (CSUS) Chancellor David G. Carter, was announced in April 2011 and endorsed by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for CSUS.

He previously served as vice chancellor for academic and multicultural affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and associate vice president of academic affairs at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he met Carter.

After a year-long presidential search, Dr. Mary A. Papazian was recommended by the Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees and the newly formed Board of Regents to be the University’s new president. Papazian was previously the provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Lehman College in Brooklyn, NY. Her scholarly work focuses on 17th-century English poet and clergyman John Donne.


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