President Welcomes Faculty, Staff to Campus for Start of Academic Year
SUNY Plattsburgh President Alexander Enyedi welcomed faculty and staff back to campus Friday, Aug. 27, drawing attention to deep preparation for the semester and the work ahead in shepherding the next class of Cardinals.
“The past 18 months have tested us,” he said. “They challenged us. And they have brought out the best of our campus. Throughout it all, we have never stopped giving our strength to our students, strength that allows students to continue their academic journey and realize their dream of attaining their baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
President Enyedi was six weeks into his new presidency at SUNY Plattsburgh in March 2020 when the college — and nation — started shutting down in response to COVID-19. This year, with protocols, including masking, social distancing and mandatory vaccinations for new and returning students, in place, he took the podium in Hawkins Hall to welcome those in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium and those viewing via livestream to the fall semester.
“This special place will always be an integral part of the North Country because of this incredibly caring community,” he said. “We came together as a team in response to the pandemic — but this has been tough, and it has been draining. I would be remiss not to acknowledge the daily challenges each of you has faced under conditions that were constantly changing and continue to change — even this week.”
With the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccination, SUNY made it mandatory for students to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or to be excused under a limited and documented exemption.
He praised the college’s resiliency, hope, tenacity and kindness.
“There is a powerful can-do spirit that pervades this campus,” he said. “I am incredibly proud to lead you.”
As part of the program, the president recognized faculty and administrative leadership on campus and highlighted several examples of student and faculty successes, including students who worked on an environmental science internship at the Plattsburgh City Beach, the work SUNY Plattsburgh nursing students did volunteering at COVID vaccination sites, and August 2021 grad Rokhiya Ngom, who worked for a year in an internship at Rochester Regional Health in her medical technology program amidst the pandemic.
In discussing the fall enrollment picture, Enyedi said the college is on pace to reach its new student enrollment target.
“The Admissions Office continues to process domestic transfer and re-admit applications; we will know more about our total fall enrollment as we get to the start of classes,” he said.
President Enyedi said he will be prioritizing fundraising and travel to enhance the college’s ability to ensure students have access to an affordable degree. Tentative visits include Albany, Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C., as well as the greater Plattsburgh area.
Areas of focus in the coming months also include enhancing the college’s designation by the Association of American Colleges and Universities as a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation campus center, becoming an active place for conversation that can dismantle historical racial narratives and broaden recruitment of a diverse campus community.
Enyedi mentioned capital improvements projects, from the parking lot in front of Kehoe and Myers Fine Buildings to Memorial Hall reconstruction and a new Admissions welcome center.
As is tradition at the President’s Welcome, President Enyedi celebrated faculty and staff recipients of the State University of New York’s Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence, recognizing recipients from both 2020 and 2021.
- Curt Gervich, associate professor of earth and environmental science: Faculty service
- Karen Glushko, adjunct lecturer, psychology: Adjunct teaching
- Jeff Hornibrook, professor of history: Teaching
- Janet Manor, administrative assistant 1, biological sciences/Lake Champlain Research Institute: Classified service
- Gloria Bobbie, adjunct lecturer, anthropology: Adjunct teaching
- Michael Caraballo, director of emergency management: Professional service
- John Locke, coordinator, technology enhanced learning: Professional service
- Wendy Gordon, professor of history: Faculty service
- Ann LaBier, administrative assistant 1, mathematics and computer science: Classified service
- Kevin McCullen, associate professor, computer science: Teaching
In addition, the Office of Alumni Relations honored Dr. Randy Kelley, assistant professor, nursing, and Patty Bentley, retired librarian, with the Faculty/Staff Impact Award.
The event, livestreamed for those not attending in person, can be viewed online at: https://www.plattsburgh.edu/about/president-leadership/welcome.html.