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Lawrence J. DeNardis
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1983
Preceded by Robert N. Giaimo
Succeeded by Bruce Morrison
Personal details
Born Lawrence Joseph DeNardis
(1938-03-18)March 18, 1938
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Died August 24, 2018(2018-08-24) (aged 80)
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) MaryLou White DeNardis (m. 1961–2018)
Alma mater Holy Cross College
New York University
Occupation Chairman, Institute for New Democracies

Lawrence Joseph "Larry" DeNardis (March 18, 1938 – August 24, 2018) was an American politician who served as a U.S. Congressman for the state of Connecticut. He was also president of the University of New Haven.

Early life and career[]

DeNardis was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 18, 1938; graduated from Hamden High School, Hamden, Connecticut, in 1956 and received a B.A. from Holy Cross College in 1960, an M.A. and a Ph.D. from New York University, in 1964 and 1989, respectively. He served in the United States Naval Reserve, 1960–1963 and was associate professor at Albertus Magnus College.

Political career[]

He was active in Republican Party politics in the 1960s serving as a delegate to the state Republican conventions beginning in 1966. In 1970, he became a member of the Connecticut State Senate. He served in the Senate until 1979, when he resigned to become President of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges.[1]

In 1980, he ran for the United States House of Representatives from 3rd congressional district that Democrat Rep. Robert Giaimo had held for 22 years before retiring. Although the Democratic Party had a significant advantage in voter registration, the district supported Ronald Reagan by 25,769 votes in the presidential election and Denardis defeated then-State Senator Joe Lieberman by 13,121 votes.[2]

In the Ninety-seventh United States Congress, he was a leader of the “gypsy moths”, a grouping of moderate Republicans that opposes some of Reagan's budget cuts.[3] He ultimately supported some of the cuts, but retained a $16 million grant to renovate the train station in New Haven.[4]

In 1982, he faced Democrat Bruce Morrison, the Executive Director of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association. Morrison was a former classmate of Bill Clinton at Yale Law School. Although Denardis touted his opposition to some of Reagan's initiatives, the district had a 110,000 –55,000 registration advantage and Morrison prevailed in the election by 1,687 votes.[2][5]

In 1984, he sought to win back his seat in a strong Republican year. Despite Reagan's margin of more than 20% in Connecticut and the Republican capture of both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly, he again lost to Morrison.[6]

After Congress[]

After losing the 1984 election, DeNardis was given a political appointment in the Reagan Administration, serving as assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1985 to 1987.[7]

He joined the University of New Haven as president, serving in that position from 1991 to 2004 before becoming President Emeritus. He succeeded Phillip S. Kaplan.[8] He led a great expansion of programs and facilities during his tenure as the University's president, including substantial international programs, and has participated in international election monitoring missions. Since retiring as university president, he has continued to serve as a member of the faculty, teaching national security policy.[7] He also is chairman of the Institute for New Democracies, a nongovernmental organization that advises evolving democracies. He has been an independent election observer in central Asian countries, and in December 2009 was an advisor to the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) as it participated in local elections in Kosovo.[9]

He briefly ran for Governor of Connecticut in 2010 as a Republican but failed to receive enough support from delegates to qualify for the primary ballot.[7][10]

DeNardis died after a brief hospitalization in New Haven on August 24, 2018 at the age of 80.[11]


  1. "Politics: Transforming Lawmakers into Lobbyists". New York Times. 1979-11-18. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Two Candidates Clash Again in Connecticut for House Seat". New York Times. 1984-10-17. 
  3. "Congressmen Break Ranks". New York Times. 1981-09-27. 
  4. "How the Reagan Team Won in Congress". 
  5. "Rise of a Newcomer to Seat in Congress". New York Times. 1982-11-07. 
  6. "Connecticut Legislature Shifts to G.O.P. Control". New York Times. 1984-11-07. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Christopher Keating, Former Congressman Larry DeNardis Running For Governor; Ex-college president is 11th Candidate in Race Archived 2013-01-19 at, Capitol Watch Blog,, January 13, 2010
  9. Mary E. O'Leary, DeNardis takes on new role in Kosovo vote, New Haven Register, January 4, 2010
  10. "GOP: Fedele and Griebel to challenge Foley for nomination". CT Mirror. 2010-05-22. 
  11. "Lawrence J. DeNardis, Congressman And University President, Dies At Age 80". Hartford Courant. August 26, 2018. 

External links[]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Giaimo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Bruce Morrison
Academic offices
Preceded by
Phillip S. Kaplan
President of the University of New Haven
Succeeded by
Steven H. Kaplan

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