Office of the President

Past Presidents

New Paltz Academy  -   Principals

Rev. Mr. Qua 1833-34 John H. Post, A.B. 1860
Eliphaz Fay 1834-41 M. McN. Walsh, A.M. 1860-61
William Parker 1841-43 David M. DeWitt, A.M. 1861-62
Eliphaz Fay 1844-47 Charles H. Haywood 1862-63
Mr. Munsell 1847-48 Henry Gallup, A.M. 1863-65
Rev. Calvin Butler, A.M. 1849-51 Jared Hasbrouck, A.M. 1866-68
John B. Steel, Jr., A.M. 1851-54 H. M. Bauscher, Ph.D. 1868-81
Rev. J. H. Sinclair, A.M. 1854-57 Frederick E. Partington, A.B. 1881-84
Frederick R. Brace, A.M. 1857-59 Henry A. Balcom, Ph.D. 1884-85

New Paltz Normal - Principals and Presidents

Eugene Bouton - Principal  1886-1888
A.B. Yale; PhD Syracuse, 1885.  Deputy superintendent of public instruction, New York State, 1885-86; principal, State Normal School, New Paltz, N.Y., 1886-88; superintendent of schools, Bridgeport, C.T.; Pittsfield, M.A.; Glen Ridge, N.J.

Frank S. Capen - Principal  1888-1899
A.B. Brockport Collegiate Institute; PhD Colgate, 1887.  Teacher, vice principal, Cortland Normal School; superintendent of schools and Academy principal of Norwich, N.Y.; principal, State Normal School, New Paltz, N.Y., 1888-99.

Myron T. Scudder - Principal  1899-1908
A.B. Rutgers, 1882, A.M. 1886.  Teacher, Fort Plain public schools, 1882-83; principal, Fort Plain schools, 1884-88; Rome Free Academy, 1888-90; teacher - classics, Plattsburg State Normal School, 1890-92; inspector, Regents Schools, N.Y. state, 1892-97; principal, Hillhouse high school, New Haven, C.T., 1897-99; principal, State Normal School, New Paltz, N.Y., 1899-1908; professor of education, Rutgers, 1908-12.

John C. Bliss - Principal   1908-1923
A.B. Cornell University, 1889; hon. PhD, State College for Teachers , Albany, N.Y., 1908.  Teacher, Fairfield N.Y. Seminary 1889; inspector, State Education Department, Albany, N.Y., 1900-1904; in charge of teachers' examinations and certifications, 1904-08; principal, State Normal School, New Paltz, N.Y., 1908-1923.

Lawrence H. van den Berg - Principal  1923-1943
B.A. University of Michigan, 1898; M.A. Columbia, 1913; honorary PhD, State College for Teachers, Albany, N.Y., 1925.  High school principal, Grand Haven, M.I., 1898-1904, Owosso, M.I., 1904-07; superintendent of schools, Grand Haven, 1907-1912; director of training, State Normal School, Mount Pleasant, M.I., 1912-16; State Normal School, Oswego, N.Y., 1916-21; superintendent of schools, Grand Haven, 1921-23; principal, State Normal School, New Paltz, N.Y., 1923-1943. Assumed first presidency of the College at New Paltz, 1943.

SUNY College at New Paltz
State University of New York at New Paltz

William J. Haggerty - President  1944-1966
A.B.University of Minnesota 1930; A.M. University of Chicago, 1938, PhD 1943.   Researcher, National Resources Planning Board, 1935; researcher, President's Commission on Administration Management, 1936; director of student personnel, University of Conneticut, 1940-44; president, State University College, New Paltz, 1944-66; chairman, Conference of World Affairs, Inc., 1967-75.
John J. Neumaier  1968-1972
Completed the college's transformation from a teachers college into a center for liberal arts and graduate studies. Enrollment increases were accompanied by pioneering initiatives to provide greater educational opportunities for African-Americans and other minorities. Expanded international education by establishing more than a dozen centers of overseas learning. Created a more collegial and democratic campus atmosphere through governance procedures that emphasized faculty and student participation. Successfully led the campus through era of social unrest.
Stanley K. Coffman - President  1972-1979
Led the institution through its most severe budgetary circumstances. Recognized need to assure continued institutional vitality through the diversification of programs and private fundraising. In response to regional needs, created first professional programs beyond teacher education, including business, nursing, and computer science. Through the chartering of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, became one of the first SUNY campuses to create a vehicle for attracting private support.
Alice Chandler - President  1980-1996
Raised admissions standards and academic profile of the student body, making New Paltz among the most selective in SUNY, while increasing enrollment and preserving institutional commitments to diversity. Improved quality of student residential life. Strengthened the liberal arts and sciences through more comprehensive general education requirements, new undergraduate and graduate majors, and a renewed emphasis on international studies. Expanded professional programs, including a new nursing major, and the first electrical engineering program in the Mid-Hudson region. Successfully renovated six buildings after a serious environmental accident, and secured the first additions to the physical plant in nearly two decades. Advanced institutional fund-raising by securing major private gifts for acquisition of the Hopfer Admissions and Alumni Center, construction of the Resnick Engineering Building and Samuel Dorsky Museum.
Roger W. Bowen - President  1996-2001
Advanced reputation for selectivity, further improved academic profile of the student body, and increased student retention. Transformed campus appearance. Led development of first strategic plan, with its articulation of a student-centered mission. Expanded international education opportunities. Achieved major increases in fund-raising, including gifts for the first endowed chair, the Dorsky Museum, and scholarships. Initiated construction of two residence halls and ended delays in expansion of athletics facilities. Secured approval of MBA degree, and added 35 new tenure-track positions.

Steven G. Poskanzer - President  2001-2010
Dramatically improved the College’s academic profile and bolstered its public image both statewide and nationally. Increased the number of full-time faculty and dramatically drove down the College’s reliance on part-time faculty. Student retention rates and graduation rates increased significantly during Poskanzer’s presidency; he also forged partnerships with business and political leaders that helped garner for the College an extra $94 million in capital funding. Obtained the College's first-ever federal earmarks and invigorated fund raising at New Paltz, increasing average annual giving by 39 percent. Facilitated purchase of 42 acres of land contiguous to the southern end of the campus for future faculty, staff and student housing, and as a 100-year land bank for the College.


President Christian

Donald P. Christian – Interim President, 2010-2011; President, 2011-2022
Strong advocate for the value of a liberal education and applied learning experiences that prepare students for success. Oversaw the most significant capital investment, renovations and building expansion since the 1960s/70s. Successfully managed crises, including Hurricane Irene (2011), a mumps outbreak (2016), the village/town water supply contamination (2020) and the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2022). Guided process that led to renaming campus buildings named after founding families of the New Paltz community who enslaved Africans. Created the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion and appointed the College’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Supported the rapid growth of STEM enrollments and the fusion of art and technology through the College’s 3D printing initiative. Established the Office of Veteran & Military Services and the Office of Campus Sustainability. Engaged extensively with regional organizations. Led the College’s first-ever fundraising campaign, which exceeded its financial goal.

The Presidency of Donald P. Christian

College History Collection