The Quinnipiack Club and The Graduate Club are joining forces after competing for over a century. Both club buildings will remain open so current members of each club will have access to both sites.
After competing for more than a century, two private clubs in New Haven, Conn., are merging, the New Haven Register reported.
The Quinnipiack Club will merge with the Graduate Club by October 1, according to the Graduate Club’s General Manager, Sandra Gervais. Gervais will now manage both clubs and the two buildings will remain open so current members of each club will have access to both sites, the Register reported.
“It’s something that’s been discussed casually over the years by our board and their board, but it didn’t work until now,” Gervais said. “We need to make one strong organization so we don’t lose the clubs of New Haven.”
The younger generation is less likely to join private clubs, Gervais said, prompting a need for existing clubs to shed their image as an “old boys” network. A new breed of organizations, such as The Grove and The Bourse in New Haven, is proving attractive to young business leaders and creative professionals, she added.
“There’s still the desire for business clubs,” said former Quinnipiack Club Manager Richter Elser, who left that position in May. “The question is, how do you address that need as society changes around you?”
The Quinnipiack Club is the older of the two, founded in 1871 by 20 local businessmen and shifting around several locations for decades before settling in its current Georgian-style clubhouse in 1931. The club once named President William Howard Taft as an honorary member, the Register reported.
The Graduate Club was founded in 1892 by a group of Yale University graduates as a place for college men to engage in intellectual discussions and enjoy beer kegs and hearty meals. It moved to its current building in 1904, the Register reported.
Quinnipiack currently has 300 members and Graduate has slightly more than 200, with fewer than 10 people possessing memberships to both clubs. The Graduate Club is open to anyone with two-year or four-year degrees from college; membership at Quinnipiack is by invitation only, the Register reported.
“We use our space to its maximum,” Gervais noted. “The Quinnipiack Club is underutilized at this point and it is much larger, with five floors. The membership of the two organizations will have to decide where we need to go in terms of rewriting the bylaws. We will keep both names, but a simple, umbrella name may emerge for both.”
Charles Noble, a Quinnipiack Club member who bought the club’s building in 2010, went to Gervais with the idea for the merger several months ago, and both clubs’ boards of directors worked out the details over the summer, the Register reported.
Gervais said some staff at the Quinnipiack Club will likely be asked to move over to the Graduate Club, which had been looking to hire new employees, and Quinnipiack’s General Manager, Carla Cruzoni, will stay on in some capacity.
“We’re hoping by merging the two clubs we can keep everyone happy,” Gervais said. “But is there going to be some consolidation? Maybe. That human resources part of it is what I’m working on now.”
So far, Cruzoni said she hasn’t heard any complaints from club members about the merger. Members of the Graduate Club have signed up for the Quinnipiack Club’s bowling league, and Quinnipiack Club members have been invited to the Graduate Club’s upcoming open house, the Register reported.
“Both clubs will have twice as much space to have events,” Cruzoni said. “We can work with each other rather than against each other. We’re not competing anymore.”news