About Us
Presidential Speeches

Fall 2007 All College Meeting

2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, 2007
Maureen Stapleton Theatre

2 p.m. President Matonak begins to speak

Good afternoon and welcome to another academic year where we collectively change the lives of literally thousands of students. Can you believe that we are starting our third week already? As we begin a new academic year, I want to take a moment to provide a snapshot of our incoming class of traditional age students.

Although our students attend Hudson Valley Community College during all stages of life, the majority of our full-time new students graduated from high school during the past two years. Each year, Beloit College in Wisconsin produces a "mindset list" for its incoming freshman – it's a way to provide faculty and the college community with a better understanding of just how unique each new class of freshmen is. Or maybe it's just a way to make all of us feel old.

Here are a few items from Beloit's list for the incoming class of students, most of whom were born during the presidential term of the first President Bush.

  1. To our new students, "chatting" means using computers not their mouths.
  2. Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.
  3. Russia has always had a multi-party political system.
  4. Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
  5. Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.
  6. The Internet has been an online tool since they were born.
  7. Many have never literally "rolled down" a car window.

Match that cultural experience against your own and you'll find that today's incoming student is, in many ways, different from his or her predecessor 10 or 20 years ago. But, in more significant ways, they are still the same.

As those of you who work daily with students know, each year brings old and new challenges, but each new class needs your expertise and your guidance just as much as the class before. They'll take away from their experience here at Hudson Valley not only an outstanding education but the understanding that Hudson Valley is a place where people – all of you – care about their well-being and their future.

That's the heritage this college was built upon and it is the reputation we still enjoy, thanks to all of you.

This afternoon, I'd like to briefly outline some of our strategic priorities we have set for the coming years. I'll talk about some of the challenges we face as a college, recognize some of you who are doing unique things, and then we'll have the opportunity to meet many new members of our Hudson Valley community.


I'd like to start my remarks this afternoon by giving you an update on our enrollment for Fall. As of September 5, we are at 10,542 total students and 8,099 full-time equivalents. That's 2 percent higher than the total number of students at this point in 2006. In FTEs, we are up 3 percent. With the College in the High School students added to those enrollment numbers, we may very well be hitting a record number of new students at Hudson Valley Community College this fall.


Managing enrollment, seeking out new ways to "deliver what the future demands" obviously is one of the top strategic priorities for our college. We must plan the kind of balanced growth that will sustain our college's position as a leader in higher education and provide individuals in the Capital Region with the tools they need to grow professionally and economically.

These priorities, which are listed in today's program, came out of the strategic planning process that all of you participated in throughout the past two academic years, either directly through the Academic Senate, and the Strategic Planning Committee, or in the focus groups at which the committee received much of its information. During Spring Semester the Planning Committee deciphered all of your input and presented 12 critical planning issues to the Senior Staff. During the summer, the Senior Staff distilled even further these planning issues into the following Strategic Priorities for the College.

First and foremost, maintaining and enhancing our high standards for academic quality and student support is the hallmark of this institution. New curriculum development, promoting new modes of instruction, or refining our current programs to be more responsive to our community needs will always be our highest priority. In fact, our first institutional goal is to enhance and promote excellence in teaching and learning.

The following strategic priorities further define the strategic direction of our college. Keep in mind, these priorities do not supplant our institutional goals. They focus our attention to the issues that have the greatest impact on the future of Hudson Valley. These priorities are not listed in priority order.

  1. The first Strategic Priority is Distance Learning, where we've already seen strong growth. Online learning now stands as the largest potential growth area for the college. Earlier this year, an "intimate" group of 40 of us met to talk about the process and potential for distance learning and those discussions must continue if we are to strategically grow this area.

  2. The second strategic priority is the College in the high school population. Last year, we served more than 25 hundred students in 26 high schools and two vocational centers around the region. With outreach from the College in the High School office to more schools, we can continue to enhance the opportunities for students to earn college credit before they graduate from high school.

  3. Workforce development and training provide a third strategic priority. This year, Hudson Valley's Workforce Development Institute began to offer a series of courses statewide in conjunction with the NYSERDA. The college is now the lead agency for statewide implementation of these courses, which provide energy efficiency training for the building trades. Additionally, in the 2007-08 state budget, approved in April 2007, the college will receive $700,000 through the NYSTAR. for services and expenses related to emerging technology workforce. These kinds of initiatives -- the ability to see a training need and quickly and efficiently meet it -- are what can drive this college to even greater prominence in the region.

  4. Our fourth strategic priority is to focus programming to the Baby Boomer population, the large cohort of people born between 1946 and 1964. Whether we are training people to pursue their avocational passions or enhancing academic opportunities for those who just want to remain intellectually active, Hudson Valley can and should serve as the center for lifelong learning. Studies show that this cohort is increasingly looking for opportunities to re-enter the classroom and we need to position ourselves as the place for them to pursue their lifelong learning goals.

  5. It goes without saying that we also need to increase our share of traditional age students, our fifth priority. We need to continue efforts to turn inquiring students into enrolled students. Here's an example of how we're doing that. This past year, the college piloted an engagement program for those students admitted at High School Instant Admit Days. The program was led by what was initially called the "Communications Gap" Committee, a group that included staff from 11 offices who worked to improve the processes by which we communicate with newly accepted students. Out of that group's efforts, the committee created an Accepted Students Communication Plan that included two new publications, seven new direct mail pieces, a dedicated "Accepted Student Web Page" and an e-mail communications system to continually engage the newly accepted student and his or her parent, which, no doubt, helped us yield a greater number of students this fall.

  6. Promoting and enhancing Student Success also is listed as a strategic priority. There are dozens of unique things we are currently doing in this area and there are many more that we can do to enhance student success. Let me cite one example. If you were down in the LAC the week before classes, you may have noticed members of the football team, one of our "high risk" populations, gathered for what we called a PASTA dinner – PASTA stands for Prepare to Achieve STrength through Academics – and it's a new way the LAC staff has devised to introduce their services to the more than 85 student-athletes. A 35-minute presentation on time management and study skills was followed by a group dinner and a chance for student athletes to learn about the LAC. The thinking is -- if they're comfortable, they're more likely to come back. Each of you is encouraged to take advantage of Enrollment Initiative Funds, the recipients of which were announced in the Campus Chronicle during the first week of classes. The PASTA night is an example of an initiative that was funded through this first cycle.

  7. While our student body continues to pull strongly from the four-county region, to remain competitive we need to find ways to better serve the largest growth area of the region, Southern Saratoga County, thus our nextstrategic priority. Toward that end, many of our faculty and staff have been working on a proposal to build a training facility, in partnership with NYSERDA, to educate students and the general community in the areas of semiconductor manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies. This facility would be located in the NYSERDA Step Park in Malta, not far from where Advanced Micro Devices is planning to establish a manufacturing facility. Keep your fingers crossed for the funding of this exciting initiative. We might know soon.

  8. Our next priority is Fiscal Stability and Resource Development. As many of you know, funding for higher education at all levels of government is precarious and we need to position ourselves for our future with fiscal strength. State funding has not kept pace with the Higher Education Price Index and our county funding has not been increased for the past 8 years.

    We are proud that we offer our students the lowest tuition in the state of New York. However, without increased state and local funding, however, we will be forced to increase the students' share. That is why it is important to obtain alternative funding sources. I already mentioned a few state grants that will assist with some new ventures, but we need to continue to increase our grants activity at the college.

    Additionally, we kicked off the Comprehensive Campaign this past spring. Since our last meeting, I\'m pleased to report that the Campaign Management Committee has met monthly, and has moved forward with board and employee divisions of the campaign. For my part, I have taken our case to over 100 corporate and community leaders, and many of our closest friends and ardent supporters. Let me give you a brief update on our progress. Last month we stood at $1.6 million dollars, and we have just gotten started. We have 100% participation from the Foundation Board and almost 100% from the Board of Trustees. Additionally, what has been most gratifying for me has been the wonderful response we've seen from faculty and staff across our campus community. After just starting in Spring Semester, we currently stand at 35% participation from the faculty and staff. I want to thank every one of you for your participation, even if it was just a little. Like I have said before, it is not as important to me how much you give, but that you participate.

    The employee division of the campaign has realized numerous gifts given to creative and meaningful commitments. A number of departments have chosen to target their individual giving toward a collective gift in support of a named fund to support their academic programs. In fact, our employee division co-chair, Michael Such, has decided to create his own named fund in support of the college.

    Many others have chosen to make gift commitments to existing named funds, including our new favorite the Frank J. Morgan Jr. Clock Tower. What a fantastic addition to our campus, a fitting tribute to one of our most treasured leaders, and an appropriate symbol of our untiring support for all that is Hudson Valley.

    If you have yet to jump onboard the campaign, you can still add your name to our growing numbers in the employee division. You can access campaign materials, including a commitment form, on the Foundation's Website. Be sure to watch for updates in the Chronicle as we move toward the completion of the internal phase at the end of December, and the kick off of the public phase in the early part of January.

  9. The next Strategic Priority is Facility Improvement and Accessibility. Simply stated, we need to find a way to secure full funding for the Facilities Master Plan and the Strategic Technology Plan.In that regard we are continuing to work with Rensselaer County to seek a satisfactory solution to the funding of the college's master plan. The building of a 500-car parking deck and the revitalization of Brahan Hall are the priority items for this master plan. We have a county resolution for the $15.6 million parking deck because the Faculty Student Association has stepped up and agreed to fulfill the county's portion of the project, so our next challenge is to get into the queue for state funding of this project.

    We also need to convince our county representatives to financially support a new Brahan Science Center which will not only transform the teaching of science on campus, but will expand classroom and faculty space as a result of the new construction.

    You should have received an insert today that outlines the critical importance of the new Brahan Science Center and how its creation would achieve several positive objectives on our campus.

    • It would modernize and combine all hard science labs and classrooms in one central location on campus.

    • It would free up current space allocated to labs in Amstuz and Fitz, and allow those spaces to be converted into more than 100 new faculty office spaces.

    • It would keep the college on the cutting edge of educational technology by providing state-of-the-art facilities for our students

    With your support and our continuing advocacy, we can work together to make this project a reality. The Brahan Science Center and the related renovations that accompany it would revive the academic center of the campus and pave the way for a truly 21 st century campus.

The final two strategic priorities go hand-in-hand, I believe.

  1. The first is to create a more collegial, civil and secure campus environment, an environment where respect and acceptance is the guiding principle of our interactions. Our new Director of Public Safety, Fred Aliberti will be up here in a few minutes to introduce himself and talk briefly about ongoing and upcoming efforts in this area.

  2. Our final strategic priority is maintaining a highly qualified workforce. All of you will agree that our people, all of you, are our most valuable resource. This priority is accentuated by the number of dedicated staff and faculty members we've said goodbye to recently. In just the past 18 months, we have lost more than 900 service years from retirements in the faculty and staff ranks. Losing people like Vivian Tortorici, George Limbrunner, Brenda Twiggs and Mark and Lori Schmeideshoff, to name just a few, is hard. That is a lot of institutional memory, and it will be difficult to replace. It is our challenge and, really, a mission critical commitment to find qualified, diverse and knowledgeable people to continue the tradition of excellence that makes Hudson Valley such a special place. And once we hire those people, we need to have in place ways to continually develop their knowledge base and abilities through professional development.

These 11 strategic priorities will shape the direction of the college over the next five years and it is my hope that we can meet and exceed the expectations we've set for ourselves. As I've said nearly every time I've addressed you at the All College Meeting, it is the combined efforts of all of us working in concert that drives our institution to excellence. We have the best faculty and staff in the state of New York, so I am confident those efforts will continue.

Speaking of excellence…this is a nice segue to….


I'd like to briefly note that several new programs will be starting up this fall. Students may begin programs for associate's degrees in Architectural Technology, Biological Sciences, Criminal Investigation and Gallery Management, as well as a certificate program in Photovoltaic Installation. In addition, new options for those interested in Retailing and the Insurance field also are being offered by our School of Business. Thanks to all of you who were involved in these programs for your innovation and responsiveness to the community.

Also new for fall 2008 will be our Honors Advisement Track, which will serve as a springboard for attracting high achieving students. Our Admissions office will be urging students to take advantage of this opportunity throughout this recruitment cycle.

One way to seed this new Honors group will come from the Foundation, which has funded up to 20 Presidential Honors Scholarships specifically for this new Honors Advisement Track. These competitive scholarships will go to students who have a high school average of 90 or better and completed the SAT with at least a 600 on the math and reading sections.

So many of our faculty continue to show both initiative and a willingness to explore new ideas. Let me highlight just a few. Our department chairperson for Building Systems Technology, Joe Sarubbi, has been asked to join a contingent of only 12 American education leaders this November for a study tour of Germany's renewable energy industry. The tour will give Joe an opportunity to see how German educational institutions have ramped up their workforce training to keep pace with the growing alternative energy market. Joe also testified in June before a United States Congressional subcommittee on the need for workforce training in the alternative energy industry here in the United States.

Paramedic Faculty member Bob Elling also was honored this summer when he was chosen to receive the EMS Educator of Excellence Award by the New York State EMS Council.

And adding more kudos to the Paramedic program, Bob and fellow faculty member Deborah Kufs were both appointed as members of the American Heart Association's National Faculty this year. National Faculty members provide general oversight for education in Emergency Critical Care and are considered the senior technical experts within their discipline.

The President's Innovation Grant will go to history professor Leslie Johnson, whose project, titled "Teaching History in Today's Digital Enlightenment," was funded for this year. Leslie plans to arrange a series of two-way conversations between her Western Civilization and the World class and a class from Effat College, Saudi Arabia's first private college for women.


Just a quick update on the college's ongoing marketing efforts. During the past six months, the college has worked with Cognitive Marketing to re-work the overall design of its publications, all with the goal of positioning Hudson Valley Community College as the Capital Region's most valuable educational, cultural and economic resource. There are several copies of these near the exits and down here on the stage if you'd like to take a look. Thank you to all who contributed to the Market Voicing process, because it was your insight that helped mould the new direction for our marketing efforts.


Please mark your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 20, the college will have an open house and dedication for the new Administration Building, as well as, the Frank Morgan Clock Tower. There also will be an open house for the new Teaching Gallery, which is located in the Administration Building. The dedications will begin at 6 and 6:30 respectively. Afterward, our very own spin master, Steve Cowen, will take your requests and will play your favorite tunes on the clocktower, such as Puff the Magic Dragon.

For those of you who had the pleasure of working with Frank Morgan here at the college, I hope you remember him well every time you hear the chimes of the new clock tower. The slogan for the fundraising campaign that paid for the tower was "Remembering a Man with a Big Heart at the Heart of Campus." The clock tower really does provide a new focal point for the campus and it's a tribute to one of the people who built the reputation Hudson Valley Community College enjoys today. Keep in mind that each of us have the opportunity to change students' lives every day, just as Frank did.

I now would like to introduce Carolyn Curtis, our vice president for academic affairs, and ask her to welcome you back.

Carolyn Curtis speaks

President Matonak returns to podium


Thank you, Carolyn.

Before we get to the introduction of all of our new employees, one of those new faces, who holds a particularly crucial role on the campus, is going to say a few words. Our new Director of Public Safety, Fred Aliberti, comes to us after a 20-year career with the Albany Police Department. While there, he was intimately involved in town-gown issues with the University at Albany, The College of Saint Rose, and neighborhood groups within the city.

Fred Aliberti speaks

President Matonak returns to podium

I'd now like to introduce the other new members of the college community, as well as some current faculty and staff members who have assumed new roles. I would ask each of you to stand as your name is spoken; additional biographical information about each new faculty and staff member is included in your handout.

Please hold your applause until the last name is read.

New Department Chairs

  • Carol Bosco, Nursing
  • Anthony NuvallieAccounting/Marketing

New Full-Time Faculty

  • Jamie Barrett - English Instructor, English, Modern Languages & English as a Second Language
  • Mariadelourdes "Malu" Benton - Spanish/ESL Instructor, English, Modern Languages & English as a Second Language Dept.
  • Loretta Blitstein - Instructor, Human Services and Chemical Dependency Counseling
  • Dorothy " Dee" Brower - English Instructor, English, Modern Languages and English as a Second Language
  • Paul E. Calarco, Jr. - Sociology Instructor, History, Philosophy and Social Sciences
  • Andrea DeCosmo - Instructor, Mathematics/Engineering Science
  • Tara Fracalossi - Instructor, Fine Arts, Theater Arts and Broadcast Communications
  • Margaret Grant - Instructor, Biology, Chemistry and Physics
  • John Mulcare - Instructor, Business Administration
  • Ryan Parr - Instructor, Fine Arts, Theater Arts and Broadcast Communications
  • Christine Raneri - Instructor, Automotive, Manufacturing and Electrical Technologies
  • Marie Redick- Instructor, Mathematics and Engineering Science
  • Fred Strnisa - Instructor, Automotive, Manufacturing and Electrical Technologies
  • Deborah Tremblay - Instructor, Criminal Justice/Forensic Science and Public Administration
  • Rick Wood - Instructor, Civil Engineering, Construction, Computer Integrated and Mechanical Engineering Technologies
  • Michael Such - Faculty Liaison, Center for Effective Teaching .

New Full-time NTPs

  • Susan Agan - Technical Assistant, School Programs and Educational Outreach
  • Fred Aliberti - Director of Public Safety
  • Cheryl Beauchamp - Director of Grants, Institutional Advancement
  • Mandy Brown - Technical Assistant, The Foundation
  • Lisa Connelly - Assistant Director, Center for Energy Efficiency and Building Science
  • David C. Clickner - Director, College Learning Centers
  • Asher-Felix Pauli - Assistant Director, Center for Energy Efficiency and Building Science
  • Bonnie Farrell - Instructional Designer, Distance Learning.
  • Sonya Fisher - Assistant Director, Financial Aid
  • Scott Freedman - Supervisor of Multimedia and Video Production Services
  • William Gill - Systems and Web Specialist
  • Paula Hayes - Program Director, Center for Energy Efficiency and Building Science
  • Brenda L. Hazard - Library Director, Learning Resource Center
  • Samantha Henrikson - Technical Assistant, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Health Sciences
  • Matthew Howe - Coordinator, Office of Testing, Advisement and Academic Placement
  • Mark Petersen - Instructional Designer, Distance Learning.
  • Michael Pietro - Technical Assistant, Financial Aid
  • Kasya Purtell - Technical Assistant, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler Program
  • Michelle Sorenson - Associate Coordinator for Instructional Services, Educational Opportunity Center
  • Diane Teutschman - Advising Specialist, Teacher Preparation

New Full-time Classified Staff

  • Karen Ayotte - Senior Clerk, Learning Resource Center
  • Thomas Davis - Custodial Worker
  • Greta Edmonds - Principal Account Clerk, Finance
  • Carrie Farley - Secretary I, Dean's Office, Schools of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Health Sciences
  • Jacqueline Follain - Laboratory Assistant, Technical Support Services
  • Mary Harvazinski - Program Assistant, Dental Hygiene
  • Karen Kane - Account Clerk/Typist, College Health Service
  • William Kappes - Custodial Supervisor II
  • Christine M. Keary - Senior Typist, Teacher Preparation
  • Gregory Keville - Motor Equipment Operator Light
  • Donna Lasher - Secretary I, Center for Energy Efficiency and Building Science
  • Richard Lucas - Custodial Worker
  • Elizabeth Moran - Inventory Control Specialist, Business Services
  • Alicia Phelan - Senior Typist, Mathematics and Engineering Science
  • Karen Shupe - Senior Clerk, Continuing Education, Summer Sessions and Workforce Development
  • Gail Van Wie - Secretary I, Business Administration and Computing and Information Sciences
  • Sherri Wait - Secretary I, Dean's Office, Schools of Business and Engineering and Industrial Technologies


It is now my pleasure to invite Terri Pennisi, president of the Faculty Association, to address you.

Terri Pennisi speaks

President Matonak returns to the podium

I now invite Joan Shack, chair of the Academic Senate, to say a few words.

Joan Shack speaks


President Matonak closes

Thank you, Joan.

As each of you return to your respective posts here at the college, whether it be in the classroom, in student services, or on the college grounds, I\'d like you to keep in mind one thing.

Each of you is a college ambassador in the Capital Region community and what you say about Hudson Valley shapes perceptions. No amount of advertising could equal the positive word-of- mouth this college already enjoys for its academic quality and dedicated faculty. So keep it up.

No matter what job you hold on this campus, you are the face of Hudson Valley Community College -- here on campus interacting with students, in your hometown, no matter where you are, how you talk about the college and what it does for its students, means a lot.

That concludes the Fall 2007 All College Meeting. Have a great semester. Thank you all for everything you do to make Hudson Valley the best community college in the SUNY system.