Ernie Trefz admits to being older than 50, but younger than 100. He rises at 6 a.m. and goes to work each day at his 10 Middle St. office in Bridgeport, “15 minutes from my house.” Everyone calls him Ernie.
Trefz’ full name will soon identify the University of Bridgeport’s burgeoning business school as the Ernest C. Trefz School of Business.
Mandeville Hall on the U.B. campus is being remade for the purpose, to be finished this winter. Current business school Dean Lloyd G. Gibson – a former bank executive (and Ph.D.) who took the business school helm last year – will remain.
A Wednesday ribbon-cutting will make the announcement formal.
Trefz declined to put a price tag on his generosity, which is being used to renovate Mandeville Hall and for scholarships and faculty positions. His family company, Trefz Corp., includes a brother and two sons who are fellow principals and who together own 44 McDonald’s restaurants, the Bridgeport Holiday Inn and investment property. Trefz’s support for U.B. dates back 30 years.
An expanded online graduate business program begins in January. The online MBA – which will confer the same MBA as campus classes – amplifies a more-modest online/in class model available now, called blended learning. Other teched-out advances are being built into the new school to promote, for example, off-site networking.
Trefz, university President Neil Albert Salonen, business school Dean Lloyd Gibson, university Vice President Mary-Jane Foster from the division of university relations and Leslie Geary, the school’s director of public information and media relations, addressed the impact of the new business school on the university and on the community in a sit-down with the Fairfield County Business Journal that preceded the official groundbreaking by several days. The official event is expected to attract civic and education leaders, including Gov. Dannel. P. Malloy.
A full report will appear online at Westfaironline and in the Nov. 25 print issue of the Faifield County Business Journal.