The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce will have a university official at the helm of its board of directors for the first time in its history.
Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, associate vice president of the University’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs, was named chairman of the board for the Chamber of Commerce yesterday at the organization’s 213th annual meeting. Chamber of commerce and city officials said the appointment of a University official is evidence of Yale’s growing involvement in the development of the region’s economy.
The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce — which includes about 2,000 businesses — lobbies at the local, state and federal levels for business-friendly legislation. The organization also facilitates networking among its member businesses and helps some of them with business planning.
Morand said he is looking forward to working with Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce President Tony Rescigno.
“We make a good combo given that we both have experience serving in public office,” Morand said. “Having senior administration from Yale on the chamber board reflects both the strength of Yale’s commitment to our hometown and, more importantly, the welcome embrace of our neighbors of the University as an engaged citizen.”
Morand has been involved in city affairs since his undergraduate days at Yale. As a student, he served two terms as Ward 1 Alderman. He was president of the New Haven Public Library from 1996 to 2003, and now serves on the New Haven Development Commission.
Rescigno said Morand’s work for the city and his prior service on the board of directors made him well-qualified for the position.
“I look forward to working with him,” Rescigno said. “He has been a very active, involved, and very productive member of the board of directors.”
Rescigno said the selection of a Yale official is not particularly significant because he considers the University to be a business like others in the city. But he said Yale’s membership in the chamber of commerce is particularly important because unlike some businesses, the University will never leave the city.
“The special thing [about Yale] is that they bring a unique perspective in that they will always be here,” he said. “[But Morand] will act as the board chair just as the others that he has followed.”
But Scott Healy ’96, executive director of the Town Green Special Services District and an ex-officio member of the chamber of commerce’s board of directors, said it is natural for the University to have a large say in the organization because of the influence it has on the city’s economy. He said Morand’s appointment will help to forge closer ties between the University and the region’s wider business community.
“It very much makes sense for the area’s largest taxpayer and largest employer to be well represented on the board of directors,” he said. “[Morand] is bright and articulate and understands the role of the University as an economic generator.”
Other local universities, including Quinnipiac, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of New Haven, are members of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, and each has a representative on the board of directors.
Morand will replace Richard Simione, a public accountant of Simione Macca & Larrow, who became president of the Board of Directors in 2005.