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Presidential Speeches

Spring 2007 All College Meeting

2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, 2007
Maureen Stapleton Theatre

2 p.m. President Matonak begins the meeting.

  • Good afternoon and welcome to the Spring 2007 All College Meeting. It's great to see everyone here today. We've had a very smooth first week and I'm sure that we will have another successful spring semester. This meeting is going to be structured a bit differently from the one we had this past fall.

  • I'd like to begin by taking a moment to recognize those employees who retired in 2006, as well as new members of the college community and current employees who have taken on new positions. Please refer to your handout for the positions and departments. First, our retirees:

    • Otilia Acevedo

    • Judith Andersen

    • George Armstrong

    • Melanie Bleich

    • Susan Carvin Blassman

    • Donald Budesheim

    • Nancy Davis

    • Pellegrino De Cianni

    • Wadad Frangi

    • Kathryn Fredericks

    • Patricia Jablonski

    • Diane Jasinski

    • Elizabeth Kelley

    • Catherine Kilmer

    • Margaret Ann Leonard

    • Laura Malkonian

    • Woodrow Maxwell

    • Carol McCarthy

    • Holly Pennock

    • Christian Peppin

    • Samuel Prock

    • Joan Santilli

    • Deanne Sodergren

    • Paul Spannbauer

  • Each of these individuals' respective length of service is outlined in your All College handout – but I've done the math for you: Combined, these men and women have served the college for 539 years, with the average length of service of 24 years.

  • Wow. There is a reason for such a high length of service. The dedication and commitment of our retirees is a testament to the fact that we truly have a family here, and that Hudson Valley is a great place for our life's work.

  • It is my hope that each of them will participate in the Keepers of the Flame, a social, educational and advisory group that provides retirees the opportunity to stay connected to the college. Please join me in recognizing these individuals for their service, and wishing them well in their retirement and future endeavors.

2:06 p.m. President Matonak leads the audience in applause.

  • Next, I'll recognize those faculty members, non-teaching professionals and classified staff members who have joined the college community since our last All College meeting in September, and those current employees who are working in new positions. Please stand when I call your name.

    • Michael Connell

    • Elizabeth Fahrenkopf

    • Gabriele Hamm

    • Sim Covington

    • Eric Kiel

    • Jessica Litwin

    • Elissa Baker

    • Heather Bianco

    • Norina Dowd

    • Carl Geloso

    • Edward Harppinger

    • Mark Mattice

    • Mary Nelson

    • Carolyn Sawicki

    • Kesa Shea

    • Anthony Williams

2:08 p.m. President Matonak again leads the audience in applause.

  • Good luck to each of you in your new positions. Remember, you have a strong network of support among your new colleagues.

2:09 p.m. After introductions of new employees, President introduces Terri Pennisi to speak.

  • I'd like to now turn the podium over to Terri Pennisi, president of the Faculty Association.

2:10 p.m. Terri Pennisi speaks.

2:15 p.m. President Matonak returns to the podium, thanks Terri Pennisi and introduces Joan Shack.

  • Thank you, Terri. Now I would like to ask Senate President, Joan Shack, to come up and share an update on the Academic Senate's activities.

2:15 p.m. Joan Shack speaks.

2:20 p.m. President Matonak returns to the podium, thanks Joan Shack and begins his formal remarks.

  • Thank you, Joan, and thank you all again for being here today.

  • I hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday and break. We are indeed fortunate to have had fairly mild weather this winter. This is my second winter in New York, and I can tell you that this sure beats those Iowa winters.

  • I am pleased to update you on what, institutionally, we've been up to since last we met, and then share with you an exciting new initiative that will allow us to attain new levels of excellence at the college. But first, the updates:

  • Number 1: Strategic Planning, which is now in the capable hands of the Academic Senate Planning Committee. I'd like to recognize those committee members for their leadership and their hard work.

    • Chairman, Jim Macklin.

    • William Eckert,

    • Jill Palmer-Wood,

    • Mary Beth Hampshire,

    • James Hamilton,

    • Jeanne Kelleher,

    • Craig D'Allaird,

    • Gerard McEneaney,

    • Frank Padula

    • Jenifer Diedrick;

    • Bryan Eaton,

    • Margaret Geehan,

    • Nancy Goody,

    • Pablo Negron,

    • Holly Pennock,

    • Kelly Sweener and

    • Janet Twardzik.

2:25 p.m. Begin applause.

  • Thank you. These individuals will be hard at work this semester, integrating information from the 27 focus group sessions held last year with external research about the region's economic forecast, employment outlook and census data. Taken together, all of this data will form the foundation for the development of the institutional directions and priorities that they will be recommending to senior staff this spring.

  • I look forward to sharing the committee's report with you – and working collaboratively to ensure that the results are integrated into all of our efforts.

  • Number 2: the Market Voicing process, developed by Cognitive Marketing, our marketing partner, dovetails nicely with strategic planning because it also is designed to get at the heart of who we are and what we can do to improve the way we serve our students and the community.

  • Central to Market Voicing are face-to-face interviews. Last semester, more than 100 of us participated in those interviews, sharing aspects of your personal connection to the college, unique perspectives and aspirations, and stories about the college's capacity, character and value.

  • Now, the next step: Beginning tomorrow and running through Tuesday, Feb. 13, a survey will be posted in the Hudson Valley Campus Chronicle to solicit additional feedback from as many faculty and staff members as possible. We will then use all of that information to develop key messages that can be used across the board to promote the college.

  • More information about accessing the survey and Market Voicing process can be found in your All College Meeting handout.

  • I encourage all of you to complete this anonymous survey, and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Remember, you know this institution better than anyone else and your participation and insights will make the Market Voicing process a success.

  • Each and every day, we work together to deliver programs and services designed to meet the needs of every student who comes to us seeking knowledge … skills … a better life.

  • We are successful because we are all committed to the same mission – to provide dynamic, student-centered, comprehensive and accessible educational opportunities that address the diverse needs of the community. Hudson Valley has never had a vision statement that speaks directly to the future of this institution. Last fall semester, the senior staff developed such a vision statement that, we believe, complements the college's mission statement and articulates our aspirations for the future of the college.

That statement is:

Deliver what the future demands. The vision of Hudson Valley Community College is to position itself to meet the demands of a rapidly transforming world. In delivering a dynamic learning environment, the college prepares those it serves to meet the obligations inherent in being responsible citizens and stewards of a global community.

  • This vision statement is action oriented, depicts the college as a change agent, focuses on learning, and is responsive to our local and global community.

  • The future of Hudson Valley, our future, demands self-sustaining programs and fiscal stability.

    • This vision is reflected by the efforts of our new Enrollment Committee, led by Vice President Popovics, which has been working to ensure that we are serving our students, and our community, to the best of our ability.

  • This is the beginning of a new era in the state of New York. It is my hope that we will see greater state support for higher education and that Governor Spitzer will support SUNY's proposal to increase our level of base state aid, from $2,525 to $2,717 per FTE.

  • Our future demands innovative pedagogy and pioneering academic programming.

    • This vision reflects the work done by our faculty and department chairs, who constantly evaluate our programs to enhance transferability and to ensure that our students are receiving cutting-edge instruction and our graduates have the skill that the region's employers demand.

  • Four new academic programs will be offered this fall: new associate's degrees in Biological Sciences, and Criminal Investigation; a certificate program in Photovoltaic (solar cell) Installation; and a new Retailing option, which is part of our Marketing program. Several other programs are in the works, including an associate's degrees in Gallery Management and a degree Insurance, as well as, a certificate program in Alternative Fuels.

  • At the same time, we continue to explore the creation of a center for renewable energy training that would position Hudson Valley Community College as a leader in the state's efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign fuels and development of innovative energy solutions to guarantee a more sustainable future.

  • Our future demands state-of-the-art facilities and new technology.

    • This vision is supported by the development of a new facilities master plan for the college, an ambitious, $199-million blueprint for the college's future that was approved by the Board of Trustees in October. This plan is critical to our ability to serve our students and the community.

  • This new master plan builds upon our current one – the final piece of which, our new administration building, will be completed this spring – and addresses the demand for additional parking, the deterioration and inadequacy of four key classroom buildings – Amstuz, Brahan, Lang and Higbee, all of which date back to 1961 – and the need for additional faculty office space.

  • It is my hope that the county legislature will come to the plate to fund these needed capital improvements to the college. Obtaining Rensselaer County's approval of this plan won't be easy, because our county sponsor continues to face increased demands on its budget. As we prepare for the presentation of this plan to the Legislature, we must all continue to make the case that Hudson Valley Community College is vital to the economic well being of the county, and that the college's impact on Rensselaer County is $360 mil. Not a bad return on the county's $3.1 million investment.

  • Each of the efforts and initiatives that I have just outlined – strategic planning, Market Voicing, enrollment management, academic expansion, and facilities improvements – delivers what the future demands in the Capital Region, and reinforces our vision to position Hudson Valley Community College to meet the demands of a rapidly transforming world.

  • So how are we going to achieve this vision? Well, clearly we need to depart from our old model of funding and look to alternative sources of revenue.

  • Today, it gives me great pleasure to kick-off an initiative that will greatly assist us in achieving our vision for the future. With the full support of the college's Board of Trustees and Foundation's Board of Directors, the college is now actively engaged in a major gifts campaign to support programs and services that cut across the entire spectrum of our college.

  • This major gifts campaign is ambitious, it's ground-breaking, and it is something that we have never before tackled. As members of the Hudson Valley family, we all must understand the incredible scope of what Hudson Valley is doing for our community, and the college's essential role on the region's economic development and our quality of life. During this campaign we must all work, together, to make sure others are aware of that impact.

  • The results of a major gifts campaign feasibility study, conducted this summer for the college by The Clements Group, the nation's leading fund-raising counsel to community colleges, were overwhelmingly positive. Our position in the community is already strong. The study surveyed men and women whose means, opinions and influence will be critical to our success, and 98 percent of them had a very favorable assessment of the work we do.

  • These corporate and community partners expressed strong opinions about our commitment to educational excellence, and quickly acknowledged our significant community-based value and impact. Without question, they recognize the college as a genuine community asset. They encouraged us to enter into a major gifts campaign.

  • It is important that we all embrace this ambitious endeavor because we must be proactive in order to maintain our advanced standards of excellence. If we rely solely upon our traditional funding sources, we will limit our ability to meet the future demands of our students and community.

  • Beneficiaries of this campaign will be all facets of our college community. But above all, this campaign will enhance the quality of our learning environment and enhance student success. So, the ultimate beneficiary will be our students.

  • I'd like to share with you excerpts from an essay written by Bonnie Cook, who has been an adjunct faculty member in our English Department for the past five years:

"For countless students, young and returning, white and minority, affluent and dirt poor, farm kids and street kids, Hudson Valley has served as a gateway to a better life. By the thousands they come through our doors, take a little something, or a lot, depending upon their capacity or readiness or circumstance, and off they go to try and make it in this life."

"Whatever their history or challenges, I have been moved and inspired and honored to teach and minister to this varied collection of beautiful students … They are in my heart and mind, and I carry with me their hopes and dreams and struggles and successes. Like all teachers I have tried to make a difference in their lives; I know they have made one in mine."

  • I cannot articulate more eloquently what this college is all about. I know that all of you feel the same about the special mission that we share. Let's, all of us, embrace this campaign, participate to whatever extent you can, and truly make a difference for our students and community for years to come.

  • This spring semester, we are entering the quiet phase of the campaign. I have been and will be meeting with CEOs and our business and industry partners and community leaders to increase awareness of Hudson Valley's impact on the community and the financial issues we face. The response so far has been excellent. The other part of the quiet phase is to engage our internal college family.

  • In the next few months, we will reach out to the entire campus community – the college's trustees, Foundation's directors, faculty, administrators and staff – to more fully refine and prioritize our list of projects to be funded.

  • Think about the possibilities for your program and share your thoughts in the campus forums that will be hosted during the next several months. Once a schedule for those forums has been developed, it will be posted in the Campus Chronicle. Using the information collected at these forums, we will finalize our case statement to share with external philanthropists.

  • I am convinced that this campaign will be successful and will be the "margin of excellence" for this college to maintain our high standards for years to come. I also am convinced that in order for us to be successful externally, we must have a strong foundation internally.

  • It all starts with me. To that end, I am proud to announce that I personally have pledged $20,000 to help jump-start the campaign, and I have also asked the Board of Trustees, the Foundation Board, and the Senior Staff to come forward with a 100 percent commitment to the campaign. I would also love to see 100 percent participation from the college community. Notice that I did not specify an amount. I don't care as much about the amount that you contribute as I do THAT you contribute. If you only contribute the cost of a "cup of coffee," a paycheck, it will make a difference. Just think, a "cappuccino" here and a "latte" there, multiply that by all of our employees and all of a sudden it is real money…. and that will make a difference for our students. Plus, as we approach our external community, it would really make a statement about the Hudson Valley family if all of us participated in the campaign.

Read the Major Gifts Campaign Statement of Case

2:45 p.m. President Matonak introduces Jim Walsh.

  • We are fortunate to have the support of someone whose life has been touched by Hudson Valley Community College in so many ways. Jim Walsh is an alumnus from the Class of 1961, a proud Hudson Valley parent, community leader and incoming chairman of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Please join me in welcoming Jim Walsh to say a few words. Jim?

2:45 p.m. Jim Walsh speaks.

2:50 p.m. President Matonak resumes speaking and Jim stays on stage.

  • Thank you, Jim, for your eloquent and heartfelt sentiments. I look forward to working with you; you are a true friend and a tremendous advocate for all that we do at the college.

  • Before I outline the specific steps and milestones in the campaign ahead, I'd like to invite Dental Hygiene Department Chairperson Judy Romano to say a few words? Now for those of you who were at the Dental Hygiene Gala, you know that Judy is a great speaker, particularly with a glass of wine in her hand. So, Judy, this is for you.

2:51 p.m. Judy Romano speaks, She remains on stage with the President.

  • Thank you, Judy. Now, I am please to announce that we have $135,000 in matching gifts for the employee division of the campaign. So, now your collective contribution of $135,000 will net $270,000. Please help me thank U.W. Marx and Callanan Industries for their commitment to the campaign and I would like to ask Peter Marx and Don Fane to also join us on stage.

  • Thank you, Peter and Don. Finally, I'd like recognize other individuals who have agreed to take leadership roles in this campaign. Please join me on stage when I call your name, and please hold your applause until the last individual is recognized:

  • Don Fane, a member of the college's Board of Trustees

  • Doug Baldrey and Class of 1962 alumnus Gordon Zuckerman, both members of the Foundation's Board of Directors;

  • Michael Such, a faculty member in our Criminal Justice Department.

  • And Clem Campana, operations assistant in the Physical Plant.

  • Don, Doug and Gordon will lead our governing board campaign efforts, and Clem, Judy and Michael Such to lead our employee campaign efforts.

    • I also would like to recognize several other campus leaders who have offered their support at this early stage of the campaign. Please stand when I say your name, and as before, please hold your applause until the last person is recognized:

  • Terri Pennisi, president of the Faculty Association;

  • Ann Geisendorfer, president of the Department Chairs' Association;

  • Lori Schmiedeshoff, president of the Non-Teaching Professional Association;

  • Kathy Fomuk, president of the Non-Instructional Employees Union.

  • And Ann Carrozza, president of the Faculty Student Association;

3:05 p.m. President Matonak leads the audience in applause and then continues speaking.

  • Thank you, everyone, for your support and your leadership. As I mentioned before our Family Campaign, along with my external work in Executive Awareness and in Leadership Awareness efforts, are known as the "quiet phase" of the campaign.

  • Upon completion of this phase, the campaign will then move into its "public phase," which is a year-long endeavor during which the campaign's formal goal will be announced and the community at large will be solicited for support.

  • This campaign will be successful because of great leadership, and we are indeed fortunate to have this distinguished group leading this next chapter of our commitment to excellence. Please help me thank them again.

  • Remember, we also need more people doing "just a little bit" to make this campaign successful. When Judy, Clem, and Michael reach out to you this spring semester, please offer a little of your time.

  • Get involved: learn more about what the campaign offers the college, offer suggestions of what you think the college should invest in, and last but not least, contribute to this campaign at whatever levels you find comfortable and fulfilling.

  • Through this campaign, we will build upon our past, enhance our current reputation and deliver what the future demands.

  • Best wishes for a successful and productive semester.