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Presidential Search Gets Underway

President Nancy Kleniewski

In April I announced that the coming academic year would be my last at SUNY Oneonta. I shared this decision well in advance of my departure to give the college ample time to coordinate and conduct a search for a new president. This will help ensure a smooth transition for the campus.

SUNY policy guides presidential searches on state-operated campuses. It lays out the steps the campus will need to take in the process, the first of which is to convene a search committee consisting of:

List ItemFour members of the College Council (including the chair);

List ItemSix members of the full-time teaching faculty of the campus;

List ItemOne student;

List ItemOne alumni representative;

List ItemOne campus-related foundation representative;

List ItemOne academic dean;

List ItemOne professional or support staff member;

List ItemOne incumbent or retired SUNY president from another campus or a member of the chancellor’s senior staff designated by the chancellor; and

List ItemThe chancellor’s liaison representative (non-voting).

I am pleased to report that our Presidential Search Committee is formed, and that Patrick Brown, chair of the SUNY Oneonta College Council, has agreed to serve as its chair. Joining him are:

List ItemDavid Brenner (College Council)

List ItemDiane Georgeson (College Council)

List ItemJoseph Bernier (College Council)

List ItemSunil Labroo (faculty)

List ItemTheresa Russo (faculty)

List ItemMaria Cristina Montoya (faculty)

List ItemJohn Relethford, (faculty)

List ItemRobert Compton (faculty)

List ItemBarbara Durkin (faculty)

List ItemDarren Pikul (student)

List ItemDaren Rylewicz (Alumni Association)

List ItemBill Pietraface (College Foundation)

List ItemJan Bowers (academic dean)

List ItemKathy Meeker (professional/support staff)

List ItemDenise Battles, president of SUNY Geneseo, (chancellor’s designee)

List ItemJoseph Porter (chancellor’s liaison)

Kathy Webster in my office has graciously taken on the role of campus staff liaison, an instrumental, non-voting role. My thanks go to all who have agreed to sit on this committee. It will be a substantial commitment.

The committee held its first meeting last week. Chancellor Zimpher, appearing via videoconference, gave the committee its official charge and offered kind words about SUNY Oneonta and the progress that we have made over the last several years.

The campus also has retained the executive search and consulting firm RPA Inc. of Williamsport, PA, to guide the search. RPA will help the committee craft a prospectus for the position and develop a schedule for the search.

I have invited the search firm to meet with my Cabinet via conference call this week. Later this summer, representatives from RPA will travel to Oneonta for a site visit and meetings with constituent groups within our campus community.

The search is off to a fantastic start. The fall semester will be an especially busy time for the committee. Moving forward, updates and progress notes will be noted on my website in a special section currently under development.


Highlight: Ebert and Bischoff Land $350,000 NSF Grant

National Science Foundation

This month I am delighted to share the news that the college has been awarded a $354,439 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support an engineering and science education project titled “Authentic Research Experiences for Earth Science Education Majors.” The initiative, led by Dr. James Ebert of the Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Department and Dr. Paul Bischoff of the Secondary Education Department, will help pre-service Earth Science teachers design and build models of Earth processes and concepts. Through the design and construction of these models, pre-teachers will likely stimulate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) interest among K-12 students, with the goal of encouraging them to major in geosciences in college, and ultimately reducing the workforce’s deficit of geoscientists. Models developed by participants will be evaluated by New York State Master STEM Teachers and pilot-tested in K-12 and introductory geoscience college classes. They will also be presented at the Science Discovery Center’s “Science Saturdays,” in other informal science education venues, and at science teacher conferences. 

It’s worth noting that the application to NSF for this project received ratings of ‘excellent’ from all of its assigned peer reviewers and was among just 13 percent of applications that were funded. Please join me in congratulating Drs. Ebert and Bischoff!

- In this Edition -

Red Dragon Outfitters Opens

Former Fortune 500 CEO to Lead Foundation Board

Campus Completes Homeland Security Assessment


Red Dragon Outfitters Opens

Diane Williams
Executive Director, Oneonta Auxiliary Services

Red Dragon Outfitters

The newly opened Red Dragon Outfitters building is a campus addition of which we should be particularly proud. Not only is it beautiful in design, but it’s also an impressive example of how SUNY Oneonta continues to make sustainability a top priority.

The 19,000-square-foot structure, complete with a sundial on its façade, officially opened June 21. It houses Red Dragon Outfitters, Damascene Book Cellar, and offices for OAS and Sodexo management staff.

The spacious building makes use of natural light and has some interesting architectural features, such as its high ceilings and exposed beams, built at nearby Unalam, which is owned by an alumna’s spouse.

Red Dragon Outfitters

A particularly impressive feature is the building’s green roof, which is the first on campus. The roof, which will soon be covered in a variety of plants, will help reduce stormwater runoff and energy costs. It also earns us several LEED points.

The presence of the new Red Dragon Outfitters building additionally aligns the college with its Facilities Master Plan, which seeks to centralize student services in Hunt Union.

Red Dragon Outfitters is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., but hours will be extended once the semester begins. There will also be a grand opening when students move back onto campus in August. Stop by and see this wonderful addition!

Former Fortune 500 CEO to Lead Foundation Board

Paul Adamo
Vice President for College Advancement


The State University College at Oneonta Foundation has three new officers on its Board of Directors, including a former chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company.

All three individuals were unanimously elected on June 23 at the annual meeting of the College Foundation.

Patrick G. McCann ’75 was elected President; Andrea J. Casper ’75 was elected Vice President; and retired biology Professor and former Biology Department Chair William J. Pietraface was elected Secretary.

McCann, who studied economics at SUNY Oneonta, retired as President and CEO of Weston Solutions, a Fortune 500 company in West Chester, PA. He was elected to the College Foundation’s Board of Directors in June 2012, served on its Finance Committee, and chaired the Investment Sub-Committee before his election as president of the board.

Casper, who studied biology at SUNY Oneonta, retired in 2017 from her position as Corporate Officer and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at C.R. Bard, Inc. She was elected to the College Foundation’s Board of Directors in June 2013 and chaired the Membership Committee for the past two years.

Pietraface was elected to the Board of Directors in June 2010. He has served as Vice President of the College Foundation Board of Directors, serves on all four of the board’s committees, and chairs the Finance Committee.

Todd Foreman serves as Treasurer and Paul Adamo as Executive Director by virtue of their positions as Vice President for Finance and Administration and Vice President for College Advancement, respectively.

The College at Oneonta Foundation has become an integral part of the tradition of excellence at SUNY Oneonta, thanks to the many alumni, faculty, staff and community members who have made gifts and served on the foundation’s volunteer board.

Campus Completes Homeland Security Assessment

Jonathan Bartlett
Lieutenant (Ret.), University Police Department

See Something Send Something

You’ve likely seen the posters and signage. Through the state Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign, individuals are urged to report suspicious activity in an effort to thwart malicious acts and terrorism. But how often do we actually trust our gut and “Say Something”?

Last month, several of our staff members showed that our campus is prepared to handle these types of situations during an undercover assessment, which we passed with flying colors, thanks to observant and diligent employees.

The test was part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Terrorism Awareness Assessments,” which were conducted at commercial and private infrastructures throughout New York. The goal of these assessments was to evaluate vulnerabilities and help facilities become better prepared to prevent incidents.

On June 19, several undercover officers were on campus for about an hour, simply observing the area. They returned the following day, this time walking around, entering buildings and taking pictures. The next day, the undercover officers entered several campus offices and asked the staff questions about the area police, etc. Staff members recognized the odd questioning and suspicious behavior and contacted University Police immediately after the individuals had left.

This is exactly the outcome for which we would hope. The staff members followed the guidelines stressed in the Safeguard New York and “See Something, Say Something” campaigns. They didn’t take direct action by confronting the individuals or revealing their suspicions. Instead, they recorded as many details as possible and immediately notified the proper authorities.

UPD applauds those that made the connection and said something. Taking these simple steps—observing and reporting—makes our campus a safer place.

For more information and tips on how to recognize suspicious activity, visit To make a report to state authorities, call the New York State Terrorism Tip Line at 1-866-SAFE-NYS (1-866-723-3697).

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