As you know, this is our last faculty meeting of the year—and, because I will be leaving New Paltz at the end of June, our last formal meeting together. I’ll say just a bit more about that later, but first let me share with you some news about our fall incoming class, an important donation to our Art Museum, the Old Main renovation project, and this year’s Chancellor’s Award recipients.
Enrollment: I can now report excellent results for our incoming freshman and transfer classes. With the May 1 deposit deadline for entering freshmen behind us, we know that we have made our enrollment targets. We anticipate that about 1,100 freshmen and 550 transfers will enroll this fall. The quality and diversity of this cohort are stellar. Twenty- eight percent of the incoming freshmen are from traditionally underrepresented groups, the highest percentage of minority students in the College’s recent history. Once again, more than 40% of entering freshmen students come from the top SUNY selectivity group, with average SAT scores of 1170 and high school GPA of 91.
Gift of Rare Paintings: While we’ve mounted a wonderful series of exhibits of loaned Hudson River School Art in the Dorsky Museum in the last few years, I am thrilled to report that through a generous gift from Helen McEntee, the College has just acquired its first two Hudson River School paintings for our own permanent collection. Mrs. McEntee decided to donate the paintings after she came to last year’s exhibition and saw how much New Paltz valued the importance of this 19th century artistic genre. The two paintings are the work of Rondout native Jervis McEntee (1828-1891). Mrs. McEntee, who was married to Jervis McEntee’s nephew, loves the notion of the paintings having a final home right where the Hudson River School began and where it is most celebrated and beloved. We are most grateful for Mrs. McEntee’s generosity, which moves us toward our long-term goal of developing a strong collection of these important 19th century works.
Furlough: Since my earlier e-mail communicating how New Paltz will implement the directed furlough of State employees, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the furloughs and has called for a hearing on May 26 or "as soon thereafter as counsel can be heard" on the case. These are all steps in a longer legal (and budgetary!) process that is clearly far from resolved. We await further guidance from SUNY System Administration before proceeding with the furlough planning process. We'll update the community as we know more.
Old Main: Last month, I told you that there was doubt about whether we could construct three floors of offices in the gymnasium wing of Old Main. The discussion continues. The State University Construction Fund now tells us it may in fact turn out that we can get three floors of offices into the space with an appropriate level of ceiling clearance, which would certainly help relieve faculty office over-crowding. Once again, stay tuned.
Chancellor’s Awards: I’m pleased to announce that the following four very deserving members of our community will receive Chancellor’s Excellence Awards at the May Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. Michele Halstead, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration, will receive the award for Professional Service; Surinder Tikoo, Professor of Business, is being recognized for his Scholarship and Creative Activities; Nancy Johnson, Associate Professor of English, will receive the award for Teaching; and Charleen McCarthy, Custodian in the Haggerty Building, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Classified Service. Please join me in congratulating these wonderful colleagues!
Let me close my last report to you by saying that it has been my privilege to serve as New Paltz’s President these past nine years. I will take many memories with me, one of which will be the colleagueship, good spirits, honest dialogue and open exchanges that (at almost all moments!) characterize faculty meetings here. It’s healthy to have a forum where the College President shares news and makes him or herself available to take questions on any topic. I’ve enjoyed the sharing of ideas and even the occasional jousting. The hard work we’ve done together—through both good and difficult times—in faculty governance meetings has made this a more resilient and a better institution.
I look forward with enormous pride to reading about New Paltz as it continues on its trajectory to become the site of the finest undergraduate education in the SUNY System. It will be difficult for my family and me to leave so many cherished friends and colleagues. It has been my highest achievement to lead this institution—in tandem with all of you.