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09/08/2003
President John L. Buono Announces Retirement to Hudson Valley Community College Faculty, Staff

CONTACT: Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071 or William F. O'Connor III (518) 474-0335

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, September 8, 2003

Image of John BuonoHudson Valley Community College President John L. Buono, an alumnus of the college who has served as president since 1998, announced that he will be stepping down from the presidency of the college effective December 31, 2003.

The announcement came at the college's biannual All College Meeting, which brings together faculty and staff at the beginning of each semester.

"For the past five years, I have been dedicated to helping you make a great institution even better. I have truly been honored to work with faculty and staff for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration. Together, we have accomplished many great things, but now I feel it is time for me to find new challenges and new opportunities," Buono told the assembled faculty and staff.

"For the past 35 years, I've known that Hudson Valley was a very special place. Like it has for thousands of others, this college helped me find a positive direction for my life. When I was a student here, academic mentors like Dean Frank Morgan nurtured the potential that was inside me. Today, you who are gathered here are a new generation of mentors, and you too will help the next generation find the goodness and the greatness within themselves."

President Buono, 60, of Schodack was appointed interim president of Hudson Valley Community College in 1998, and was inaugurated as the college's fifth president a year later. It was a homecoming of sorts for the city of Rensselaer native, who graduated in 1968 from the college before earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University at Albany.

"Since arriving on campus in 1998, President Buono has worked tirelessly to move the college forward," said William F. O'Connor III, chairman of the college's board of trustees. "During his tenure, the college has experienced a surge in enrollment, an exceptional relationship with its local sponsor and growth in the services it provides students. John also can be credited with providing a real sense of community at the college."

"With a true ‘open door policy,' he was ready to find ways to make the institution better by collaborating with those who work and learn here," O'Connor said. "For five years, President Buono brought his talent, energy and tenacity to the presidency of the college. His legacy will be one of true and lasting accomplishments."

Buono's accomplishments at the helm of the college have been wide ranging. Under his initiative, the college has seen a growth in facilities and an upgrade of the campus infrastructure. That growth includes the Viking Child Care Center, completed in 2001, which has the capacity to care for more than 100 children from infants through age 5; as well as the construction of the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, completed in 2002, which houses the college's baseball team as well as the Class A Tri-City ValleyCats.

In addition, a major renovation of Guenther Hall was completed in 2001. The new Guenther Enrollment Services Center houses all of the major student service offices, including registrar, financial aid, cashier, admissions and continuing education, making it a "one-stop" location for student service needs. The Computer Café was created in the Siek Campus Center, increasing the number of student access computers by more than 50 percent.

The creation of an Albany Extension Center at 175 Central Avenue was yet another highlight of Buono's tenure at the college. The center, which opened in January 2002, houses a permanent outreach center to the citizens and businesses of downtown Albany.

Image of John BuonoDuring Buono's tenure, the college created the Workforce Development Institute, which brings work skills and computer training to businesses and organizations around the Capital Region. Buono combined the efforts of several different offices on campus to create the Workforce Development Institute, which annually serves thousands of Capital Region residents through contract and open enrollment training.

Buono also oversaw a structural reorganization of the college throughout his tenure, which brought two new deans to the college and saw the creation of two associate dean positions to oversee retention and testing and instructional technology, respectively.

Several other academic initiatives were spearheaded by Buono, including the creation of groundbreaking transfer agreements between the Hudson Valley Community College and local private institutions, including The Sage Colleges, The College of Saint Rose and The New School of Radio and Television.

Buono also is responsible for the creation of a greatly expanded cultural affairs programs at the college. The program has brought a variety of acts to the campus and enhanced the college's reputation as a community resource.

President Buono has made a career of public service. Following a two-year period in which he served as an administrator and teacher at St. Agnes School in Loudonville, he served as Commissioner of Employment and Training for Rensselaer County, overseeing vocational and job skills training programs. From there, he was appointed Deputy County Executive for Rensselaer County.

He was elected Rensselaer County Clerk in 1978, and he held that position until deciding in 1985 to run for Rensselaer County Executive. Buono served as Rensselaer County Executive from 1986 to 1995. That year, Governor George Pataki appointed Buono to direct the New York State Dormitory Authority, where he served until taking over the presidency of his alma mater.

In June 2002, he was nominated by Governor Pataki to serve as chairman of the board of the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation. The chairmanship is an unpaid position.

Chairman O'Connor said the college's board of trustees would convene a presidential search committee to select Buono's successor. He said he expects the board to appoint an interim president before the end of 2003, and that the interim president will serve until the committee recommends a successor and the board negotiates a contract.

"John Buono is passionate about Hudson Valley Community College and its place in the community, and he will continue to be a resource for us throughout 2004," O'Connor said. "With an able interim president, the board and its appointed presidential search committee can take the suitable time to review potential candidates and make sure we select the most appropriate individual. This is a very serious and challenging task, and I expect it will take time to do it right."

O'Connor said Buono's permanent successor may not be named until 2005. It is important that 2004 be a year of stability for the college, O'Connor said, as a review team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education will be visiting in 2004 as part of the college's reaccredidation process, which takes place every 10 years.

Image of Buono shakes faculty members handBuono said he plans to spend more time with his family following his retirement from the college.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the SUNY system, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has graduated more than 55,000 students.