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Riverfront Recaptured

Goodwin College Visionary leader makes good on his dream

Hartford Courant Editorial

January 08, 2009

When Marc Scheinberg, president of Goodwin College, says he's going to do something, believe it. The man is a visionary, a can-do guy whose latest achievement is a winner.

We're talking about the opening of a gleaming 110,000-square-foot academic building on the Connecticut River in East Hartford, the start of a planned $90 million campus development.

A few years ago, he took The Courant's Editorial Board on a tour of the site, a collection of oil tanks and dilapidated industrial buildings. It was a stretch for visitors to imagine grass growing there, let alone a vibrant campus to augment the overflowing college on Burnside Avenue in East Hartford. But Mr. Scheinberg described his dream of expansion with such enthusiasm and confidence that skepticism melted away.

In what seems like an amazingly short time, it is reality. The tanks are gone, replaced by a state-of-the-art learning center. Goodwin begins classes in its dramatic riverfront setting this month.

The building of a college from scratch is a pretty heady achievement, especially since it was a business school over a Hartford pizza parlor when Mr. Scheinberg, then a 24-year-old Vassar College graduate, bought the enterprise. At the time it had just four students. Enrollment is now at 1,589, up 69 percent since 2004.

The demand for Goodwin's services is growing at a rate that suggests it more than fills a niche. Thanks to Mr. Scheinberg's foresight, it is now an accredited two-year college that trains mostly working adults in fields such as nursing and human services. It recently received approval to offer four-year programs in child studies and health sciences.

Goodwin's success is a winner for the state, which kicked in money for cleaning up pollution on the site and has pledged a total of $12 million overall to the private college. The project reclaims a riverfront that, Mr. Scheinberg promises, will be available to the public for recreation and events. It also brings life to a moribund part of East Hartford.

Most important, it will train people for jobs. That's reason enough to justify the public expenditure.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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