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Sacred Heart University and St. Vincent’s College join forces

Updated 4:20 pm, Monday, April 3, 2017

FAIRFIELD — Sacred Heart University is entering a management agreement with St. Vincent’s College that could eventually lead to the college becoming part of the university.

“Our goal is to serve the students at Sacred Heart University and St. Vincent’s College with an opportunity to work together to create new models for clinical education and honor the shared Catholic legacy, mission and core values,” said Vince Caponi, president and chief executive officer of St. Vincent’s Medical Center.


Rupendra Paliwal, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Sacred Heart, called it an exciting venture that will create new opportunities for the students and will strengthen both programs.

The agreement anticipates a transfer of the college to Sacred Heart as either a division of the university or a subsidiary. The transfer is part of a master agreement that requires accreditation and regulatory approvals.


St. Vincent’s College, with 763 full- and part-time students, will stay adjacent to St. Vincent’s Medical Center off of Main Street in Bridgeport. Some management functions will merge and, for now, St. Vincent’s College will keep its president.

The college provides associate degrees in nursing, radiography and general studies, as well as online bachelor’s degree completion programs in nursing, radiologic sciences and health care administration.

St. Vincent’s College President Michael Mike Gargano called it terrific news.

He estimates the process will take about a year.


“The college will maintain its mission to serve the low income, first generation and underrepresented populations started by the Daughters of Charity in 1905; preserve our Catholic identity; and the historical significance of the St. Vincent’s College name will continue,” Gargano said.

For St. Vincent’s students, the change will allow a seamless transition to pursue a baccalaureate or master’s degree at Sacred Heart University. Students who complete an Associate degree at St. Vincent’s College can transfer to Sacred Heart to complete a bachelor’s degree without losing any credits.

Sacred Heart University, an independent Catholic institution started by the Diocese of Bridgeport in 1963, is in the midst of building a Center for Health Care Education that will house its own school of nursing and other health care profession majors.

With 8,532 full- and part-time students, Sacred Heart is the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, with more than 70 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its main campus.

Gargano said St. Vincent’s College students will now have access to Sacred Heart’s student organizations and campus events.

“I envision this opportunity with Sacred Heart University as another milestone in the evolution of St. Vincent’s College,” Gargano said.

The agreement goes into effect next week.

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