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President's Welcome Heralds Opening of 2015-2016 Academic Year

SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling Friday welcomed faculty and staff to the 2015-2016 academic year — his 12th fall welcome since arriving on campus in 2004.

In addition to bringing faculty and staff up to date on a summer that included the implementation of the college’s tobacco-restricted campus initiative, which limits smoking to a few parking lots on campus, Ettling and Provost and Vice President for Academics James Liszka presented faculty and staff members who received chancellor’s awards for excellence. 

Recipients are: Dr. Timothy Mihuc, professor in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science and director of the Lake Champlain Research Institute, for excellence in faculty service; Dr. Monica Ciobanu, associate professor and chair in criminal justice, for excellence in scholarship and creative activities; Elin O’Hara-Gonya, associate librarian, for excellence in librarianship; Torrey Wuesthoff, adjunct lecturer in English, for excellence in adjunct teaching; Lisa Frennier, secretary 2 in business affairs, for excellence in classified service, and Michael Cashman, assistant director, Center for Student Involvement, and Gregory Withrow, associate director, student financial services, both for excellence in professional service.

The college also honored Dr. Katherine Dunham, associate professor and co-chair of psychology, as Outstanding Academic Advisor.

Dr. Thomas Moran, SUNY distinguished service professor and director of the Institute for Ethics in Public Life, was honored with the Faculty/Staff Impact Award, which is given by the Plattsburgh Alumni Association in recognition of committment to students and alumni.

Moran, who arrived at SUNY Plattsburgh as a freshman 50 years ago this fall and went on to become provost and vice president for academic affairs before founding the Institute in 1998, was nominated by Devin Martinez, a 1997 political science graduate, who thanked Moran for "steering me in the right direction and opening his office during my college days. ... I would not be the person I am today. ... He truly deserves this award as a thank you for shaping us as better citizens of the world."

"To be selected for this award when there are so many exceptional faculty and staff at the college is profoundly humbling," Moran said. "And to have wonderful former students, like Devin Martinez, who are willing to express their appreciation in this way epitomizes the good fortune and privilege I feel in being part of the Plattsburgh college community."

Classes for the 2015-2016 academic year begin Monday morning, Aug. 24.

As he has in recent years, Ettling discussed enrollment figures, reporting that 994 freshmen will arrive on campus during opening weekend, Aug. 22 and 23. This represents an acceptance rate of 49.6 percent from a pool of 8,258 applicants. Nearly 30 percent of the 994 freshmen — or 295 — are students of color.

“This excludes international students,” he told about 200 members of the faculty and staff in the Warren Ballrooms. “Fifty-eight freshmen and transfer students are from out of state.” The top states, in descending order, are Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland.

New international students number 108, with the top five countries being Vietnam, Japan, Brazil, China and India, with a total of 36 countries being represented by new students on campus this year.

Ettling said that the transfer-student class size totals 540, with 475 at the Plattsburgh main campus, 54 transfer students at the branch campus in Queensbury and 11 students at the Hudson Valley Community College extension site. Sixty-two percent of the 1,611 applicants were accepted as transfer students.

New graduate students number 204, he said, which includes 77 students at the branch campus. Numbers are holding, but the college will be doing more to advance, Ettling said.

The college has ongoing efforts to explore ways to increase enrollment, he said, including a stronger presence with online courses and a farther-reaching recruitment effort in New York City. The college has hired a recruitment officer whose office is in the city.

“He’s meeting day in, day out with guidance counselors” and others in an effort to attract candidates to what SUNY Plattsburgh has to offer high school graduates, he said. On campus, groups have met to come up with strategies for increasing enrollment. 

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