Campus Life

Presidential candidate Dr. Joe Bertolino visits Stockton University for open forum

On Friday, Feb. 3, Stockton University held an open Q&A for the third and final presidential candidate, Dr. Joe Bertolino. Bertolino has been the President of Southern Connecticut State University for the past seven years and has served in various positions over his 32-year career in higher education. He understands the importance of Stockton’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives (DEI) as a fundamental part of the institution, along with the philosophy of putting students first. Bertolino further stressed the commitment he would have toward expanding community relationships, as Stockton’s campus reaches far beyond Galloway into Atlantic City, Hammonton, and Manahawkin.

Bertolino speaks at Stockton’s open forum. Photo courtesy of Emily Hamilton.

Bertolino earned his Doctorate of Education, Higher Education, Administration, and Leadership Development from Columbia University Teachers College, his Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers-Camden, and his B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Scranton. Prior to his current position at Southern Connecticut State University, Bertolino was the president of Lyndon State College in Vermont for four years.

Born and raised in South Jersey, Bertolino’s mother received her BSN in 1977 from Stockton University. He grew up familiar with the Galloway area while continuing his education and work around NJ. His first job in higher education was as a graduate assistant at Glassboro State College (now known as Rowan University) where he was a hall director. Bertolino’s first teaching position was as a high school teacher at St. James High School in Carney’s Point, NJ, which he credits among his many other experiences as the foundations for his leadership today.

Bertolino expressed his level of comfort and happiness in his current role at Southern Connecticut State University; however, when presented with the possibility of a Stockton presidential position, he felt excited at the opportunity to be part of the Stockton community.

“The work that Stockton is doing has been extraordinary and an envy to other like institutions around the country, and in particular the Northeast in case you didn’t know that. Part of that is centered around your interdisciplinary studies, commitment to social justice, [and] your commitment to experiential education. The university has momentum, it has a reputation,” Bertolino said.

He further expressed his amazement in watching the university grow from the outside, referencing how far it has expanded from the Galloway area as well as the great work faculty, staff, and students have done. “Who wouldn’t want to be part of that journey? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of an anchor institution? I find that very exciting,” Bertolino said.

Bertolino recognizes Stockton’s climate of community and family as something that he wants to continue to grow. “…I’m a relationship guy, values matter to me. I talk about students and students first all the time. It is what my team and I at Southern live and how we do our work,” Bertolino said.

Bertino claimed that if given the opportunity to be Stockton’s next president, he would strive to continue building and fostering relationships within and outside the campus community. Furthermore, he would bring his background, knowledge, and skills to continue the work already being done at Stockton by President Kesselman.

This was the final forum for the presidential search. For anyone who missed them, all sessions were recorded and posted here on Stockton’s website: