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President John Ettling

President John Ettling

Dr. John Ettling became the 10th president of the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh on June 15, 2004 after serving as vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of North Dakota for six years.

In the summer of 2018, President Ettling announced plans to retire following the 2018-2019 academic year.

President Ettling began his academic career in 1978 as a visiting faculty member in the History Department at Northwestern University. From 1979 to 1995, he served as a faculty member in the Honors College and History Department at the University of Houston and as chair of the History Department for five years during the mid 1980s.

President Ettling served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Dakota (UND) from 1995 to 1998 and as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at UND from July 1998 to 2004. He also has held visiting faculty appointments at Northwestern University, Union College (Schenectady, N.Y.) and Rice University.

Shortly after President Ettling's arrival, SUNY Plattsburgh went through a transformation under his leadership. Several major accomplishments include:

  • SUNY Plattsburgh completed its first ever-major capital campaign raising more than $16 million.
  • A Facilities Master Plan on future campus improvements/developments supporting the academic mission and strategic vision was completed (2010).
  • Two new buildings – Hudson Hall Annex and School of Business and Economics/Computer Science Building – were constructed while the original Hudson Hall was rehabilitated.

President Ettling believes the college along with its faculty, staff, and students should be engaged in the community. As part of his public service, President Ettling is a member of several boards and has served on several others, including:

Current Boards

  • North Country Regional Economic Development Council
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Commissioner)
  • William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute
  • Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce
  • The Development Corporation

Past Boards

  • CVPH Medical Center
  • Canada-U.S. Fulbright Foundation
  • Mountain Lake PBS

During his academic career, President Ettling has worked to advance honors and international programs and to increase diversity among students, faculty, and staff. An accomplished scholar, President Ettling has lectured throughout the country, presented research papers and served as a commentator and panelist on issues ranging from public and social policy to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. He is also an author of one book and co-author of another. President Ettling wrote The Germ of Laziness, which was reviewed by the New York Times and dozens of other publications and received national prizes. In addition, he has contributed articles and chapters to scholarly journals and books.

President Ettling has numerous awards, including the University of North Dakota's President's Medal. He was also awarded the Allan Nevins Prize by the Society of American Historians for the best-written doctoral dissertation, nationwide, in American history in 1979.

Originally from Houston, Texas, President Ettling served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1971 and was a B-52 crewmember. He holds a B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Virginia where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. President Ettling is married to Lisa Lewis and has two daughters, Sarah and Rachel.

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