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Presidential Speeches

Spring 2006 All College Meeting

Spring 2006 All College Meeting
by Dr. Andrew J. Matonak, President
Hudson Valley Community College
2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 23, 2006

Good afternoon, and for those of you who had an extended break, welcome back for Spring Semester. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I have already heard of some of your exciting destinations. I stayed in East Schodack and watched my Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs. This past week, I have been all over campus and I am so impressed with a very smooth start of the spring semester. I applaud all of you.

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to say a few things about former President James J. Fitzgibbons, who died Tuesday, Dec. 27 at the age of 90. The second president in the college’s history, President Fitzgibbons served as president of Hudson Valley Community College from 1965 through 1979. During his 14-year tenure at the college, President Fitzgibbons presided over an impressive period of growth, including the rise of five new buildings on campus and a 4,000-student increase in enrollment. At the same time, Hudson Valley\'s curricula grew from 18 to 38 academic programs, and the college was organized into five academic divisions.

While he was president, Hudson Valley was transformed from a largely technical college into one of the state’s most comprehensive community colleges. The college was well represented at his funeral and Professor Don Schmidt had some wonderful things to share about President Fitzgibbons.

Before I continue with my formal remarks, I’d like to invite Faculty Association President, Terri Pennisi, and Joan Shack, Academic Senate Chairperson to come to address you.

Terri Pennisi speaks.
Joan Shack speaks.

INTRODUCTIONS of Faculty and Staff
We have some new faces and I would like to welcome all of our new employees at this time. Our students and alumni have told me that Hudson Valley is a great place because of what all of you do every day. They are right. You all make this place very special. I would like to begin the introductions of new employees with VP Curtis, who will introduce the newest members of the academic division.

Academic Division - VP Curtis introductions.
Lisa Giacumo-Jicha
Natasha Anthony
Leigh Yannuzzi
Rachel Josil
James O’Donnell

Advancement division. - VP Boggess introductions.
Nancy Goody

Finance Division - VP Fatato introductions.
Deana M. Bizzarro
James Larson
Ewe Lehmann
Joshua Macri
Michael Radzyminski

Administration Division - VP LaGatta introductions.
Maxine C. Ortiz

Student Services - VP Coplin introductions.
Tom Reinish

Congratulations to all of you and thank you all for deciding to join us at Hudson Valley. You will find that this is a great place to work and that you have tremendous support among your Hudson Valley colleagues.

Formal All College Remarks:

During the Fall semester, I responded to every invitation to attend some of your classes. Among other things, I failed a quiz given by Ron Dow’s Criminal Justice class and I also spent some time under a car with one of our students in the Automotive program. I would like to attend more classes this spring. Faculty, I would be happy to either sit quietly in the back of the room or be more active with a class assignment. I also spent much time meeting with faculty and staff, and eating with students in the campus center.

I hope that you all know that I am your biggest cheerleader. I know that many of you don’t come to the college every day to work. You come to the college every day because THIS is your life’s work. You contribute to the college and to its students more than just “doing your job”. I want to thank each of you for all of your extra effort. Some of you might think that you are doing jobs that are considered ordinary and don’t make as much of an impact, but when you do your work with extraordinary effort and commitment, you are making a difference. Others of you demonstrate your commitment to the students that we serve by excelling in the classroom, creating new programs, and providing direct service to students. Whatever your role, you are making an impact.

The students recognize it and appreciate it, and so do I.

Today I am going to start with the bad news. During Fall semester, I referred to the book “Good to Great” a number of times. One of the concepts that were inherent in Great organizations was the ability to “Face the Bitter Truth”. What the author meant was that Great organizations tended to acknowledge and face its greatest challenges head on.

Our bitter truth is the challenge of ----- Financial and Enrollment Stability

At the Fall All College address, I indicated that our greatest challenge facing Hudson Valley is assuring our short term and long term Fiscal Stability. On the short term, I am referring to this fiscal year and next fiscal year. This fiscal year we are projecting about $2 mil deficit, primarily as a result of two things. One, our Utilities Costs is projected as about $1.6 mil over our budget. Second, our decrease in enrollment this fall semester resulted in $288.000 (spring and summer are still unknown). This is on top of budgeting to take $674,000 from our fund balance.

In order to counter this, we reduced the budget by $871,000 in the fall semester without significantly impact operations. Senior staff met last week to reduce the budget by an additional $325,000. This is about 60% of our projected budget deficit. We conscientiously chose not to restrict replacement of vacant positions this spring, however, we will build our budget next year conservatively.

Hopefully, we will get a significant bump from the legislature. There is some good news. Our new Chancellor, John Ryan, has proposed a realistic budget to the state legislature. Chancellor Ryan proposed a $250 increase in base aid per FTE and additional $200 in supplemental aid for high cost, high need programs. Second, the Governor included community colleges in his budget last week, however, his proposed increase of $100 per FTE isn’t close to the SUNY proposal. But it is a good starting point.

Our long term fiscal health is my greatest concern. A fund balance of 8% to 16% of the college operating budget is considered normal for community colleges. We entered this year with only a $4.4 mil fund balance which is approximately 6% of our operating budget. As a result of the unanticipated expenses this year, we might be ending this fiscal year with a fund balance of between 3% and 4% of our operating budget. That is not a lot of money and can go very quickly. While we need to keep our costs controlled, the solution to our fiscal issues is to increase revenue. This is going to be MY major challenge this spring.

Our reality is that a significant portion of our revenue comes from credit FTE’s. Something that we all need to do is to work to maximize our credit enrollment on campus, distance learning; college in the high school, and other off-campus programs. We also need to increase workforce development and non-credit programs, as well as, other alternative revenue sources. OK, that’s enough on the fiscal reality check. On to more positive items.

This afternoon, I want to celebrate with you some anniversaries, new programs and initiatives, recognize some of your accomplishments during the past few months.


EOC: Begun in 1966, the Capital District Educational Opportunity Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. EOC\'s mission is to help the unemployed, the underemployed or the under-skilled find jobs and the skills needed to keep those jobs. Career counseling, internships, apprenticeships, job placement services - EOC faculty and staff are there to help at all stages of the education and employment process. They\'re there to ensure success in life and employment. Over the years, many EOC graduates have continued their educational careers here at Hudson Valley Community College. Congratulations to the EOC staff.

Verizon: The college celebrated the 10th anniversary of its first formalized business/education partnerships: the Verizon Next Step program. The program provides qualified Verizon associates the opportunity to obtain an associate’s degree in telecommunications technology by attending classes one day a week for eight semesters. Verizon pays for tuition, college fees and class materials. Hudson Valley is the lead college for managing the Next Step Program throughout New York State; there are 24 colleges across New York and New England that participate in the education program. Through the spring 2005 semester, the program has graduated more than 2,500 Verizon associates.

Workforce/Business/Industry Partnerships

CVS: The college embarked upon a unique training partnership with CVS, creating a mock pharmacy inside the college’s Albany Extension Center to host non-credit training for pharmacy technicians. The program provides a foundation for those interested in becoming pharmacy technicians, and is designed to prepare students for the National Pharmacy Technician Examination.

Price Chopper: We also received state approval to offer a 32-credit certificate program in Supermarket Management and Operations, exclusively for Price Chopper associates. The program will begin this fall.

Student Achievement

Fine Arts: Six students from our Fine Arts program had works included in the SUNY Fall 2005 Student Art Exhibition. Students honored were: Patrick Colaes, Desiree Gouger, Tanner Holford, Valerie Rafferty, Kristy Sharpe, and Sarah Winner.

Athletics: The college’s football team won its fifth Region III championship in the last six years, and two student-athletes – football player Tim Bush and cross country runner Katie Wolfe – were named All-Americans.

Student Activities: On Halloween, the Student Senate sponsored a Haunted House for the campus community, and community at large, and raised $1,108.53, which was donated to the American Red Cross to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.

New Academic Programs/Courses

PV Lab: The College officially opened its new photovoltaic laboratory to train students to install and maintain photovoltaic systems, including mounting solar panels on roofs and posts. This program is thanks to a $148,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The courses in this program are included in the college’s Electrical Construction and Maintenance program curriculum. The college plans to create a certificate program in photovoltaic installation that could be offered as soon as next fall.

Arabic: Discontinued in 1992, Hudson Valley will again be offering Arabic Language and Culture I, an introductory course in the Arabic language. Language course offerings are growing at the college, with Chinese and Russian language studies being added last year to Japanese, Italian, German, French and Spanish. The college also offers American Sign Language.

MFT/Haas Equipment: Students in Hudson Valley Community College\'s Manufacturing Technical Systems program now have the opportunity to be trained on new, state-of-the-art machine tools, thanks to a gift of $129,600 in equipment from a California-based manufacturing company.
Haas Automation Inc., the largest machine tool builder in the United States, donated two machines – a Super VF-2 Vertical Machine Center and an SL-20 Lathe – that use computerized controls to cut and polish metal to the program. The machines will provide students with experience using industry-standard equipment in the field of precision machining.

HVCC READS is a new program that kicks off this month, encouraging the entire campus community to read and discuss the same book. The book is “Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. The author, Bill McKibben will be here at HVCC in April. Copies of the book are in the bookstore and there will be a meeting tomorrow at noon in Marvin Library. Please consider participating in this program?

Foundation: Philanthropic support to Hudson Valley Community College and its charitable foundation totaled $771,323 during the 2004-05 academic year thanks to donations from faculty, staff, alumni, foundations, corporations and friends, and gifts of goods from corporations.

$366,297 scholarships to 466 Hudson Valley students
$40,000 for the Disability Resource Center.
$21,000 endowment for summer camps

Significant gift: The Foundation recently became the owner of a life insurance policy valued at $480,000 from Robert Pratt, a member of college’s first graduating class. Mr. Pratt has agreed that at his passing, the proceeds will be split as follows: $360,000 for a general endowment, $100,000 to establish an endowment to benefit the college\'s Electrical Construction and Maintenance program, and $20,000 to establish an endowed fund that will spin off a President\'s Circle-level gift every year in perpetuity.

Accolades and Recognition

Several of our faculty and staff have been recognized for their accomplishments recently. I know that I probably am missing someone, so I am apologizing in advance for my omissions. I think that it is important to celebrate your accomplishments.

Teacher Preparation Department Chair Nancy Cupolo was interviewed on Capital News 9 in November about a conference here on campus that explored the importance of developmental screening in early childhood.

Also in Early Childhood, faculty member Kathleen Bernhard and several of her students this fall began a mentoring relationship with students at Troy’s Doyle Middle School. Dr. Bernhard and Doyle teachers collaborated to begin a Future Teachers of America chapter at the middle school. The middle school students are getting a hands-on look at their future goal of being a teacher.

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Labor Studies Department Chair Ann Geisendorfer was quoted in the national publication American Careers. Geisendorfer was quoted on the growing number of forensic science programs at the undergraduate level.

Paramedic-EMT faculty member Bob Elling was quoted in several publications during November. Elling was on the team of professional who reviewed and revised the national guidelines on CPR for the American Heart Association. Elling and his wife Kirsten also co-authored another textbook which was published during the fall semester - Paramedic: Pathophysiology.

Economics Professor George Nagy was profiled in the Times Union for his upcoming publication of a Thesaurus of English Idioms. English faculty member Ann Dearing helped him edit the new thesaurus, which has 21,500 entries, 100,000 synonyms and 1,300 pages.

Department Chairperson Maria Palmara was quoted in an article in the Daily Gazette a few weeks back that talked about the college’s growing diversity of foreign language offerings.

Peter Sawyer, department chair of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences, won a 2005 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award for his book, "Socialization to Civil Society: A Life History Study of Community Leaders." Sawyer’s book about civic responsibility examines how American institutions socialize citizens to participate in the voluntary associations that comprise civil society.

Civil Engineering faculty member Bill Darling again quoted in the Times Union’s Getting There transportation column. Darling was quoted in a recent piece about the prevalence of cloverleaf designs in highway interchanges.

An article by Physical Education faculty member Jacob Silvestri was recently included in the online newsletter published by the Office of Community College Research and Leadership. Silvestri spoke with Chancellor’s Award winners from Hudson Valley to conduct research into the importance of effective teaching with the creation of a learning college environment.

Faculty member Phil Lord was featured in an episode of "Battlefield Detectives" this past semester. The episode explores the Revolutionary War Battle of Oriskany. Phil was invited to participate as an archeological consultant and on-camera “detective.”

Human Services Professor Rick Platt started up his popular fear of flying courses at the Albany International Airport again this fall. Dr. Platt, who also has a private counseling practice, specializes in anxiety disorders. The program, which Platt has not offered since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, involves up to four sessions at the airport and may involve a "graduation" flight.

Associate Dean Kathy Quirk’s article, “A Comprehensive Approach to Developmental Education,” was published in the Spring 2005 journal, New Directions for Community Colleges.

Two of our Biology faculty will be presenting their research at the national Experimental Biology conference this April. The titles and presenters are:

Assistant Professor Laurie Bradley
Abstract Title: \'Knockdown of IGF-IR by siRNA Mechanisms: Effect on Post-confluent Growth and Cellular Endpoints in MCF-7 Cells\'

Instructor Van Fronhofer
Abstract Title: \'Regulation of LPS-stimulated IL-10 secretion by PKC in macrophages.\'

An article co-written by faculty member Natasha Anthony, from English, Modern Languages, and English as a Second Language, will be featured in the Heritage Language Journal. Anthony wrote an article with Carla Meskill from the University at Albany titled "Computer Mediated Communication: Tools for Instructing Russian Heritage Language Learners".

WOW! You all should be proud of your individual and collective accomplishments. We have a lot of great things going on here at the college. There is no doubt that each of you is making a difference. We have a lot of strengths, we have many accomplishments to be proud of, and this college has strong momentum. In spite of the challenges we face, if we work together, there is no question that we can make Hudson Valley Community College a college that is truly GREAT.

Thank you and I know that we will have another successful semester.