MIDDLETOWN—SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges Johanna Duncan-Poitier presided over the investiture of Dr. Kristine Young as the eighth president of SUNY Orange.
Ten months into her tenure, Young was lauded at the Edward A. Diana Physical Education Center on April 29 for her hard work, perspective, perseverance, energy, and encouragement.
The inauguration took place before a crowd of more than 250 and featured remarks from community and college representatives.
Dr. Tom Ramage, president of Parkland College where Young worked for 17 years, sprinkled bits of self-deprecating humor amid praise for Young for her many contributions to the Illinois community college.
Local officials congratulated Young on her appointment and looked forward to working with her. County Executive Steven Neuhaus said: “She has engaged every part of our community. I’m excited about it. That’s the fire in the belly you get with a new president and, so far, she’s delivered.”
Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano anticipates a good working relationship with the new college president. “Dr. Young, since her first visit into Middletown after accepting the job, has been accessible.”
He said Young has been busy doing outreach to the city’s large Latino population. “I think she’s a perfect fit at the perfect time. She is not only accessible, but she’s personable and wants to be approached with ideas and thoughts. That’s something that is very welcoming.”
Helen Ullrich, chair of the SUNY Orange Board of Trustees, hosted the ceremony and noted the manner in which Young handled unexpected situations when she arrived. “Almost from the beginning, she faced unexpected situations which she handled with calm intelligence, humor, and grace.”
Ullrich also stressed openness, especially for the student population. “I think the highest priority is to be student-centered, to be sure that we are offering students of today the academic courses that they need and to be sure that our college is welcoming and accessible and relevant.”
Additional remarks were offered by Terry Saturno, chair of the SUNY Orange Foundation Board of Directors; Tony Cruz, representing Kathy Malia, president of the Faculty Association; Frank Traeger, president of the Staff and Chairman’s Association; Michelle Tubbs, president of the College’s Shared Governance system; Irina Negru, president of the Middletown Campus Student Senate; and Jo Ann Hamburg, Class of 1987, vice president for administration and finance.
Traeger, who has been a biology professor at SUNY Orange for 35 years and has now served under six of the College’s eight presidents, used his remarks to highlight several of the achievements of Young’s predecessors before he directed final remarks to Young. “We (college employees) invest our aspirations and hopes in your leadership and vision.”
Young spoke for 30 minutes following the investiture. She spoke about the need to educate “the students of today” and outlined her hopes that the college and the community will begin to think differently about how education and student support services are delivered at SUNY Orange in the future.
“There is no doubt—none—that this community believes in us, trusts us, and values us. I have heard it time and again. It is my intent to lead this respected manner of doing things, our seasoned, measured, rigorous way, and apply it to the timely consideration of opportunities for students in Orange County today.”
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