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UNH Theater Named in Honor of William L. Bucknall, Jr.

Release Date:
4/10/2014 9:00 AM
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April 10, 2014

Bill Bucknall, features William L. Bucknall, Jr.

WEST HAVEN, CONN. – The University of New Haven today recognized the outstanding contributions of alumnus William L. Bucknall, Jr. by naming the theater in Dodds Hall in his honor during a dedication ceremony.

“I love the theatre,” said Bucknall,’63 A.S., ’65 B.S. “My mother’s side is Irish – they love the theater and a good story.”

A Milford resident, Bucknall serves as the vice chair of the UNH Board of Governors and contributed funds to refurbish the theater. Bucknall served on the UNH Board of Governors from 1992 to 2000, including as its chair from 1998 to 2000. He rejoined the board in 2006 and was named vice chair in 2012.

Bucknall, who regularly attends events at the theater, as well as theater events in Manhattan and London, decided to support theater renovations because the UNH theater department provides students with an understanding of theater and because theater “gives students a confidence in themselves to project who they are on a stage.”

“So much in the business world is about being able to stand on your own two feet and to persuade people to move in a certain way,” he said.

“Bill’s financial support, advice and guidance have been critically important to the University for many years,” said President Steven H. Kaplan.  “His support for the theater program, in particular, has been especially inspiring to students. It is because of his generosity that they are able to pursue their passion for acting, singing, dancing and performing.”

After graduating from UNH in 1965, Bucknall began a career in human resources at United Technologies. Over 41 years, he rose to become one of the top human resources professionals in the nation and spent 16 years as senior vice president at United Technologies before retiring in 2008. In 1997, he was inducted into the National Academy of Human Resources.  He also served on the North American executive board of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

He said his commitment to the University of New Haven results from the experiences he had as a student.

“You begin to think about how your life would be entirely different had you not had this education,” he said. “And when you achieve some form of success, there is an inclination to want to share that with the institution that started it all for you.”

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 the University enrolls approximately 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.