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09/08/2003
Remarks by President John L. Buono
All College Meeting, 2 p.m. September 8, 2003

Good afternoon and welcome to Hudson Valley Community College's fall All College Meeting.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this noble institution, we look forward to a particularly ambitious and challenging 2003-2004 school year.

Looking forward is a vital component of what we all must constantly do … as educators and as individuals, in our professional lives and our personal lives.

As president of Hudson Valley Community College, it is important for me to be looking forward, but today it is also important for me to look back …

  • To reflect on the advancements of yesterday, while recognizing the promise of tomorrow.
  • To consider my aspirations and objectives for the college on becoming president five years ago and in the context of where we are today.
  • To recognize achievement and satisfaction … and also to recognize that in the life of an institution, as well as in the life of an individual, there is a time for change.

That time is now. For Hudson Valley Community College and for John Buono.

To paraphrase a song of the ‘60s, based on the text of Ecclesiastes, "to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose"

  • … a time for public service and a time for personal endeavors;
  • … a time to step up to leadership and a time to step back and let others lead;
  • … a time for enjoying a sense of accomplishment and a time for sensing an enjoyment from new challenges.

In this milestone year for Hudson Valley Community College – as we move boldly into a bright future – the time is right for me to move on.

I will be stepping down as president at the end of this semester, effective December 31. I will, of course, maintain my relationship with the college, a relationship of more than 35 years and a relationship I dearly cherish.

I will help during the transition to a new president. And I will continue to work for, and with, the college in whatever capacity is appropriate to help it achieve all it can be.

Let me extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you who I have been privileged and honored to work alongside in pursuit of a better Hudson Valley Community College.

Together, we made a difference.

And together, we can look across the landscape of this impressive institution and share in the results of 50 years of progress … of visions realized … of goals attained … of academic and athletic achievement … of personal and professional fulfillment.

Indeed, for a half-century, citizens and the community have looked to Hudson Valley Community College for learning and leadership. More than a quarter-million people have benefited from the "Hudson Valley experience," and we have touched the lives of countless others.

It is difficult for me to adequately express how proud I am of this college … and of the faculty and staff who are its heart and soul … and of the students and alumni … and of the Board of Trustees who provided me an opportunity to give back to an institution that I owe so much to.

When I first came to Hudson Valley Community College as an incoming freshman in 1966, I had no idea of the impact it would have on my life.

Nor how the college would grow in size and stature, with such a significant impact on thousands of others, and on the Capital Region and the world of community colleges.

Within my 35-year relationship with Hudson Valley, there is much I am proud of. I am particularly gratified by what has happened over these last five years.

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.

Consider what we have achieved together:

  • We've introduced new degree and certification programs, and improved and expanded others. For example, I know all of us are proud of our new degrees in Biotechnology, Forensic Science Studies and Broadcast Communications.
  • We've experienced record enrollment levels, serving more than 11,000 students this year.
  • We've formed new partnerships with colleges across New York State, including several local collaborations: A unique Applied Technology Education degree program with the College of Saint Rose; a Physical Education partnership with the Sage Colleges, and a Broadcast Communications degree with the New School of Radio and Television.
  • We've made major advancements in online and distance learning opportunities. Among the milestones reached this summer – we offered our 500th online section, we have added our 100th online faculty member, and we have our 10,000th online enrollment.
  • We've launched the Workforce Development Institute and other initiatives to serve the community, including a new extension center at 175 Central Avenue in downtown Albany.
  • We've secured millions of dollars in state, federal and corporate funding to improve our academic and athletic programs and facilities.
  • We've addressed professional and student needs through moves such as the creation of a Teacher Preparation Department and programs such as "Formula for Success."
  • We've enhanced our outstanding technology offerings and student services through advancements such as the Computer Café and the Guenther Enrollment Services Center.
  • We've built the new Joseph L. Bruno baseball stadium for the benefit of the college and the community.
  • We've received considerable statewide and national recognition for our programs and people – faculty and students – and for the regional and national successes of our sports teams.
  • We've made enormous progress with our effort toward reaccreditation by the Commission on Higher Education for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) as we prepare for a review in March 2004.

It is obvious why this is a bittersweet announcement for me.

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.

As Hudson Valley Community College moves forward, I will continue to maintain my valued relationship, helping however I can to assure a smooth transition to new leadership. The administration and Board of Trustees will keep the college community posted on the progress of the search for a successor. I am confident that the Board will ensure leadership stability at the college throughout 2004, our reaccreditation year, and beyond. I expect that the Board will appoint an interim president to lead the institution while the search proceeds.

As colleagues and as friends you have helped me grow and learn and prepare for my next challenges.

It has been an honor to work with you … to benefit from your counsel and contributions to the college … to share with you the achievements and sense of fulfillment in helping build a better Hudson Valley Community College of tomorrow.

Thank you.