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03/21/2006
Hudson Valley Community College Foundation Creates Endowment for Dental Hygiene Program
College to host gala event in October to kick off fund-raising campaign

CONTACT: Jason McCord (518) 629-8071 or (518) 629-7180
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation has created an endowment to benefit the Dental Hygiene program at Hudson Valley Community College to ensure the college has the resources it needs to sustain the high-cost program.

The Foundation has set a $250,000 short-term goal for the endowment, which will be used to fund equipment and curriculum development. If the endowment continues to grow, it may ultimately allow the college to fund the hiring of additional faculty, which would allow for expansion of the program. Each year, the college receives approximately 300 applications for the program, but it can serve only 90 students – 45 first-year and 45 second-year – at any given time.

To meet that short-term goal, the college will host "A Celebration of Excellence: An Event to Recognize the Hudson Valley Community College Dental Hygiene Program" on Friday, Oct. 20, 2006. Sponsorships for the event range from $1,000 to $25,000.

The only program of its kind within a 100-mile radius and one of only nine programs in New York State, the Dental Hygiene program is the college's most expensive program: the college spends $44,082 to educate one Dental Hygiene student during the course of the two-year program, while receiving only $15,890 in revenue.

A variety of factors drive the high cost to low revenue ratio, including accreditation standards that require one faculty member for every six students, and the equipment and facilities necessary for the program. Those financial realities make it difficult to expand the program despite the widely recognized need for more dental hygienists and assistants in the field, said Dr. Robert H. Hill II, chairman of Hudson Valley Community College's Board of Trustees and honorary chairman of the October event.

"If we can create an endowment within the dental hygiene program, we can cover some of these costs," Dr. Hill said. "We need to close the gap."

Hudson Valley's Dental Hygiene program has trained the vast majority of dental hygienists and assistants in the region since it began in 1960. In the past decade alone, the program has produced 349 graduates – but that's not enough to meet the demand. There are approximately 350 openings each year for hygienists in the state. The need in the Capital Region is even greater, with dental hygienist listed as the seventh fastest growing career, growing at nearly a 40 percent rate over the next decade, according to the state Labor Department.

In addition to meeting the need for hygienists, the college is pursuing the creation of a Dental Assisting certificate program to train new dental assistants and an Alternative Dental Assisting program, which would allow employed dental assistants to meet the state requirement for licensure. Both programs would be offered online.

"Hudson Valley Community College is proud of the role our School of Health Sciences' graduates play in fueling the region's health care workforce," Hudson Valley President Andrew J. Matonak, Ed.D. said. "Our Dental Hygiene graduates are highly qualified and well-regarded throughout the dental community for their skill and professionalism. This endowment will ensure that the college has the resources it needs to ensure the program remains strong."

The Oct. 20 gala will be held at the field house at the McDonough Sports Complex on the college's Troy campus. The event will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m., with dinner to follow at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 per person, and black tie is optional.

The sponsorship levels are as follows: Bronze: $1,000; Silver: $2,500; Gold: $5,000; Platinum: $10,000; and Named Operatories: $25,000. Some pledges can be made over a five-year period. For more information about sponsorships or the event, contact the Foundation at (518) 629-8012.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable corporation formed in 1983 to philanthropically support the college's mission. Gifts to the Foundation from alumni, corporations and friends are used to enhance programs, facilities and scholarship opportunities at the college.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and workforce and academic preparation programs offered through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.