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Presidential Speeches

10/28/2005
Hudson Valley Community College Presidential Installation

Hudson Valley Community College Presidential Installation
Remarks by President Andrew J. Matonak, Ed.D.
Friday, Oct. 28, 2005

Thank you so much to each of you for those kind remarks. And my sincerest thanks to all of you here for the wonderful reception that you have given to me and my wife, Karen, and my daughter, Taylor. I am truly humbled to accept this presidential medallion which symbolizes the responsibilities for service and leadership inherent in my position.

I, first of all, would like to thank my sister, Eleanor, who is an accomplished photographer, and my friend and colleague, Dr. Gary Eith, Academic Dean at Lakeland Community College, for being here this afternoon.

To our trustees –I feel blessed to have such engaged, supportive and insightful Board of Trustees. I appreciate the confidence that you have demonstrated in my vision and leadership. And my thanks to the Foundation Board members for all of your efforts to advance the college. These board members get paid handsomely for the work that they do on behalf of the college. Exactly nothing. We're going to double their salary next year. Could I ask both boards to stand? Please help me thank each of them for their service to the college.

To all of our "external" family and friends, which includes all the local, county, state legislators and officials, and college presidents who are here today, thank you for your support for Hudson Valley and for the role you have played in making Hudson Valley one of the best community colleges in New York. Rather than recognize each of you individually I would ask all of you to please stand and allow all of us to thank you.

I also would like to specifically acknowledge and say thank you to Hudson Valley's greatest champion - a true visionary and a tremendous advocate for education and the entire Capital Region – Senator Joseph Bruno. Senator, thank you for everything that you have done to transform Hudson Valley Community College into an absolute gem in the SUNY system.

I am honored to follow outstanding Hudson Valley presidents who have provided the vision, focus, and stewardship while ensuring that Hudson Valley is responsive to the changing needs of the capital region. I know that Dr. Hill introduced them, but please help me recognize and thank President Joe Bulmer, and President John Buono, for their leadership and commitment to Hudson Valley.

I've said this before, but I don't think I can ever say it enough: Hudson Valley is an innovative and vibrant institution because of all of our faculty and staff. It is all of you who are honored this afternoon because you are the individuals who truly make a difference. I marvel at the "magic" that you perform every day. You are the college's most valuable resource. When I first visited Hudson Valley, I was struck by your pride in this institution, your passion for the good work that you do, and your dedication to Hudson Valley. Because of all of you, Hudson Valley is a very special place. Please stand and be recognized.

This day is not about me. It is about the collaborative work that we all do to advance Hudson Valley. It is about celebrating this marvelous institution that truly transforms the lives of the students we serve …

  • It's about… Students like Monica Kilcer, who previously enrolled at three other colleges, found her footing at Hudson Valley and is on her path of personal success – which led her to Johns Hopkins University this fall.

  • It's about… Students like Ted Adams, who enrolled at the Educational Opportunity Center, which led him to Hudson Valley. With a Second Chance and several other scholarships, he graduated with a degree in chemical dependency counseling, which he used as a foundation for a bachelor's degree – and a successful career – in social work.

Our graduates – your graduates – those you have motivated, guided, inspired and challenged – are making a difference in our community:

  • Our Criminal Justice graduates – your Criminal Justice graduates – serve and protect our community; keeping a watchful eye on your home, your neighborhood, and your town as they patrol the streets, and working undercover in the fight against the illegal drug trade.

  • Our Technology graduates – your Technology graduates – reshape and reinvent our community. They work for the area's top firms – including Clough, Harbour and Associates, who's leadership as well as 15 percent of the firm's Albany workforce calls Hudson Valley their alma mater, and C.T. Male, the president of which is Bob Allen, Class of '61 – who is here today.

  • Our Business graduates – your Business graduates – develop and invest in our community, leading the financial institutions that help us to realize the dream of owning a home, a business, or a place to retire; as well as, maintaining the networks and infrastructure for Tech Valley.

Our graduates – your graduates – leave Hudson Valley and transform our community in ways both large and small; in ways that fuel the region's, and indeed, the state's, economy … in ways that touch thousands of lives … and sometimes one little life.

A few weeks back, I was at Albany Med, meeting with officials there to discuss how we could continue to work together to meet the ongoing demand for their highly-skilled health care professionals.

As I was touring the neo-natal intensive care unit, I saw a tiny preemie that could fit in the palm of my hand. The baby had been in distress and had a tracheotomy. One of our Respiratory Therapy students was assisting the doctor who gave that baby breath … life … hope.

The impact of your work is great – which is why we must continue to be committed to the highest standards of excellence in everything we do. We must never waiver from our commitment to provide a dynamic, student-centered learning environment.

There are so many more opportunities for us to partner with our community, businesses, K-12 institutions and higher education in order to better serve the region – I challenge each of you to be creative, take risks, seize upon those possibilities, and work together to bring them to fruition.

These are exciting times. Each and every one of us takes great pride in being part of the Hudson Valley "family." We have accomplished much and with our current momentum, along with our collective vision of making this college one that is truly great, will propel Hudson Valley to even greater heights of excellence and prominence.

I am proud to work with you and for you to make Hudson Valley Community College the most dynamic, comprehensive, innovative and effective community college.

Thank you very much for the honor to serve as your president!