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Presidential Speeches

Spring 2009 All College Meeting

All College Meeting
January 26, 2009
2 p.m., Maureen Stapleton Theatre


2 p.m. President Matonak speaks

Good afternoon and welcome to the Spring 2009 All College Meeting.

The fall semester went by so quickly it hardly seems possible we are gathered here again for the spring semester. We have had a smooth, but cold start to the semester and I'm sure that it will be another successful one.

Last fall for the first time we made the All College Meeting available through Webcasting to the entire campus community. It was very successful and gave everyone an opportunity to be a part of All College. So once again, we are webcasting the meeting.

2:03 p.m. President Matonak introduces Terri Pennisi

Hudson Valley 's solid academic reputation is due in large part to the hard work of our talented and dedicated faculty. As is our practice, I'd like to invite Terri Pennisi, president of the Faculty Association, to address you.

2:04 p.m. Terri Pennisi speaks

2:09 p.m. President Matonak introduces Joan Shack

Thank you, Terri. The Academic Senate plays an important role in the development of a collaborative and collegial environment at Hudson Valley.

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

2:10 p.m. Joan Shack speaks

Thank you, Joan. And thank you both for being here today.

2:19 p.m. President Matonak returns to podium

This afternoon, I want to recognize all who have recently retired and recognize their contribution to the excellence of Hudson Valley. Second, I will introduce you to our new employees. I will then go on to inform you and update you on matters that have impacted us since last time we met.

Retirees and New Employees

So let's get started with those folks who have retired since our last All College Meeting.

  • Eleanor Bode
  • Patricia Haydock
  • Judith Hitchcock
  • Richard Roberts

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.

I want to thank them for all that they have done throughout their careers at Hudson Valley. Each of these individual's respective length of service is outlined in today's program. Please join me in recognizing these individuals for their service, and wishing them well in their retirement and future endeavors.

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.

Everett Amsler
Alfredo Balarin
Donna Barron
Michael Bender
Tabatha Biggane
James Brandow
Matthew Breen
Brian Bullock
Lisa Buell
Jacqueline Bujanow
Krista Burdick
Megan Carpentier
Noreen Cavanagh
Bridget Ciampolillo
Laurel Colasurdo
Amber DeFelippo
Damon Dzembo
Keith Gunner
George Hastings
Scott Hurteau
Yvonne Johnson
Jason Kelly
Cynthia Koman
Carol Litrell
Eileen Maloney
Rebecca Maroncelli
Kevin Martin
Jennifer McClure
Colleen Mcloughlin
Jennifer Moriarty
Jennifer Moss
Christine Raneri
Edward Sorensen
Fred Strnisa
Cheri Vandenberg
Michelle Wiltsie

Good luck to each of you in your new positions. And remember, you are now a member of the Hudson Valley family and we are here to support you.

Economic Condition

Last month, Governor Paterson presented his Executive Budget which he says will eliminate the largest budget deficit in State history. In his budget address, the Governor told New Yorkers that we are at a defining moment in our history and that we are faced with the greatest economic and fiscal challenge of our lifetimes. He warned that our broader economy is grappling with a deep recession that promises to be one of the worst in decades, and it is expected to cost tens of thousands of New Yorkers their livelihoods.

The Governor outlined an Executive Budget that he says will begin the difficult process of fundamentally reevaluating both how we manage our government and what the state can afford to spend in a time of plummeting revenues. He called for shared sacrifice from all New Yorkers and proposed budget reductions across virtually every area of government.

Governor Paterson\'s Executive Budget is structured with two main components. The first component is a 2008-09 Deficit Reduction Plan. This stand-alone legislation includes a series of actions that he believes are necessary to close the State\'s current-year $1.7 billion shortfall. If passed by the Legislature, the Governor calls for enactment of these actions by February 1.

The second component is Governor Paterson\'s complete 2009-10 Executive Budget proposal, which he says will close the $13.7 billion deficit expected during the 2009-10 fiscal year.

So how does this affect Hudson Valley Community College?

If the 08-09 Deficit Reduction Plan is enacted our base state aid rate would be reduced by 10 percent – which means we would not receive nearly $1.4 million this fiscal year. We are hoping that we can convince the legislature that a cut in funding during the end of our fiscal year is an extreme hardship, because by April, we will have already expended 90% of our budget.

And if the Governor's 2009-10 budget is passed without any funding being restored – the college's base state aid would be reduced by $300 per full time equivalent student – which means we would not receive nearly $2.7 million.

A couple of things to keep in mind as you digest this. Base state aid for the 2008-09 academic year was not increased from the prior year as it has in the past. And the college's investments are not generating the income that had been projected. The interest rates in the market are at an all time low and directly impact the college's investments.

All of these factors combined necessitate us to continue to diligently monitor our budget and spending.

These are the realities of the financial crisis this state and country are facing. And it is important we are aware of it, it is top-of-mind and we continue to evaluate the impact to the college.

As dismal as this situation seems – I am here to tell you that we will weather this storm. Remember three years ago when our enrollments declined and increased energy costs caused us to reduce our budget? Well, we tightened our belts and were able to respond without significantly compromising our core mission. We will do it again.

Together over the last several years, we have all worked together to position this institution to be fiscally sound and strong. We have been prudent with our spending and mindful of our budgets.

We will continue to do business as we have yesterday and the day before with a cautious eye on the economy.

We will forge ahead without undermining the essential programs and services we provide our students.

We will maintain our distinguished reputation for academic excellence and outstanding service to the community.

Particularly during difficult economic times, this community and our students need Hudson Valley Community College now more than ever. Whether they transfer on to a four-year institution or need to be retrained because they just lost their job – we will be here to serve them.

We will continue to be – the community's college.


Despite this current economic crisis – Hudson Valley continues to flourish. Our stellar academic reputation is due to the hard work of all of you, our faculty and staff. Given how busy we all find ourselves and how easy it is to get wrapped up in what's going on in your particular department or office, I'd like to take a few minutes to tell you about some of the great things going on at Hudson Valley.

  • As I mentioned at the All College Meeting back in September, we have had a banner year with regard to enrollments. We enrolled a record 12,787 students in Fall 2008 and generated 8,862 FTEs, an increase of 3.6% and 3.0%, respectively, over the previous year. We're also on track to have a graduating class even larger than last year's total of 1,842, which was a record for the college. And our spring semester is on its way to setting yet another record.
  • The construction projects I discussed are also proceeding as planned. The planning and architectural designs for our new $13.5 million TEC-SMART facility in Malta are moving along well with construction to begin later this year. Further, over the next year additional improvements to the campus infrastructure will be developed and implemented including the renovation to the football locker rooms in Hudson Hall, renovation of all the student bathrooms in the Marvin Library, and the replacement of the McDonough Sports Complex and Hudson Hall roofs.
  • Work on the new $15.6 million parking deck is slated to start on May 18, 2009, which is the Monday after graduation. Completion is planned for the Fall 2010 semester. Currently we are envisioning a garage with approximately 800 spots that will be for faculty and students. The location we have selected will be south of Brahan and Fitzgibbons.

As for temporary parking, the plan is as follows: the parking lot along the front of Brahan (F Lot) where students currently park will be expanded by 130 spaces. This will then hold 300 plus cars and will become the new faculty/staff lot during the construction of the garage. Additionally a new temporary lot will be built in front of the Bulmer building containing approximately 300 cars. This lot will be used as the student overflow lot – however we anticipate that this temporary lot will be needed for the entire school year.

  • The college continues to advance and excel in the academic arena. Last year the college implemented seven new programs, including the first ever SUNY-approved Overhead Electric Line Worker Certificate and received both SUNY and New York State Education Department approvals for a new Theatre Arts A.S. and Alternative Fuels Certificate.

I'm also pleased to report the national accreditation of our highly regarded Respiratory Care program was renewed for another 10 years. This past year the students in our health sciences programs continued to perform extremely well with our nursing students achieving a first time pass rate on the National Comprehensive Licensing Examination of 87.5 percent – which is well above the state and national pass rates – and all the graduates of our Radiological Technology, Medical Sonography, and Echocardiography programs passed their national certification and licensing exams.

  • This past year also saw a number of technology-related changes on campus. Back in August, Computer Services implemented new usernames, passwords and e-mail addresses for the entire campus community and over the Thanksgiving holiday, oversaw the installation of a new telephone and voice mail system. Both projects went very well.
  • The college also continued its commitment to supporting the professional development of its faculty and staff. Funds allocated to the Personnel Resources Committee to support professional development were increased to $26,400 in 2007-08 and 96 individuals received support for their professional development activities. In addition, $36,000 in tuition support was provided to Hudson Valley employees pursuing college degrees.
  • Moving to our accomplishments in the area of philanthropic support, our "Promise of Our Region" capital campaign entered its public phase last spring and has raised nearly $7 million in cash and pledges towards its first $10 million. The college also continued its commitment to providing financial support to its students and last year the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation provided over $278,000 in student scholarships. Further, I am pleased to report that the MetLife Foundation has awarded the college $100,000 to help students enroll prepared for college coursework and to succeed academically. Only 10 such awards were made by MetLife and Hudson Valley was the only SUNY campus to receive an award.
  • In addition, last week the federal Department of Labor announced that Hudson Valley Community College would be part of a $123 million allocation of training funds through the Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative. The college will receive nearly $2 million to help prepare workers for careers in the energy industry.
  • As you may recall, at our last All College Meeting I announced the formation of a Diversity Task Force.  This Task Force, chaired by Dr. Michael Green and composed of Hudson Valley faculty, staff and students, was given two charges:

(1) to conduct a diversity audit to analyze the gaps between where we are, and where we should be in terms of access and equity – both as an employer and as an educational institution serving diverse students;

and (2) recommend an action plan to the senior staff and the Board of Trustees that will include a vision statement, objectives, strategies for accountability and assessment, and also detail the resources necessary to implement the plan.

The Task Force began its work last semester and has been steadily addressing these two charges.  This semester the Task Force's subcommittees will elicit input from faculty, staff and students in a variety of formats concerning their opinions, concerns, and possible actions in the areas of academic diversity, student diversity, and workforce diversity. 

I strongly encourage each and every one of you to be a part of these discussions. This is the only way to ensure the development of a viable and effective diversity action plan for the campus that fully represents the concerns and aspirations of the entire campus community.

  • Let me bring to your attention some new initiatives to highlight our institution you may not know about. Last month we launched our first ever student blogs. Six students have agreed to provide their take on the " Hudson Valley experience" and I encourage you to read what they have to say over the coming semester. We have also produced and uploaded to YouTube a series of BTW (By the Way) videos highlighting the campus and have established pages on both MySpace and FaceBook, so don't forget to check them out as well.
  • Now, let me take a moment to tell you about some of the contributions made by our students, faculty, and staff to the college and the local community. Students from the Civil Engineering Technology program fabricated and tested the buoyancy of the floating platforms that supported a 15-foot metal tulip for the 60 th Annual Albany Tulip Fest. Students in the CAD Certificate program designed two Habitat for Humanity homes to be built in Albany and Saratoga this year and the faculty and students of the Construction Department helped to build a Habitat for Humanity home in Schenectady. In fact, the contributions of our students, faculty, and staff to the local community have been recognized at both the state and federal levels.
  • Our Capital District Educational Opportunity Center was recognized with the Governor's Certificate of Appreciation for Community Service and Hudson Valley Community College was one of only 68 community colleges nationwide named to the President's Higher Education Community Service honor roll in recognition of its innovative, effective, and exemplary community service programs.
  • All of these items are just a few examples of the many exciting and noteworthy things that have take place at Hudson Valley. It is no wonder that Hudson Valley Community College was rated by Community College Week as one of the largest and most productive two year colleges in the nation.
  • You know, all of us are feeling the effects of the current economic situation. I know that you all make the tough decisions at home and we need to do the same here at the college. While we need to be cognizant of all that is happening around us, I want all of you to take great pride in what we do here and focus our energies on continuing our excellent work.
  • We have a lot to be optimistic about. To continue with President Obama's campaign theme, "yes, we can," and yes we will weather this storm, and we will be stronger as a result.
  • Thanks again to all of you for all that you do for our students and our community. Have a great semester!