Board Unanimously Approves Resolution Honoring Retiring President for 12-Year Tenure

PHOTO: Dr. William RichardsMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- In recognition of Dr. William Richards’ “strategic vision, unwavering leadership and tireless commitment” as president of SUNY Orange over the past 12 years, the College’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Thursday morning (June 4) naming Richards as “President Emeritus.”

The honor, announced at the Board’s annual planning retreat and awarded on Richards’ final day on the job, was among several special actions taken by the Trustees over the past weeks to demonstrate their appreciation for Richards guidance of the College.

The Trustees also presented Richards with a wooden captains chair adorned with the College seal during Thursday’s retreat, and at its May meeting the Board passed a resolution renaming the Emeriti Room in Morrison Hall as the “Dr. William Richards Round Room.” The Emeriti Room, with its circular walls and unique architectural features, is located within the President’s suite in Morrison Hall and was a heavily used meeting space during Richards’ tenure.

The Board resolution on Thursday cited Richards for having guided the College to “great heights” while overseeing the following significant accomplishments in which SUNY Orange:

• Constructed a branch campus in Newburgh that now serves approximately 1,500 students
• Developed and renovated facilities on the Middletown campus to include: the Rowley Center for Science and Engineering, a new parking garage, the Morrison Lab School and the Gilman Center for International Education
• Successfully completed a $25.1 million Defining Moments Capital Campaign that has enhanced facilities, supported teaching innovation and pushed the College’s scholarship endowment to an all-time high
• Completed three College-wide strategic planning initiatives along with revisions to the institution’s mission, vision, values and goals statements
• Successfully navigated a pair of Middle States Commission on Higher Education self-study accreditation reviews
• Collaborated with three other local community colleges to establish the Hudson Valley Educational Consortium designed to expand access to first responder and innovative technology programs (credit and non-credit) for residents of Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties.
• Established the Colt Athletic Hall of Fame to honor the College’s athletic heritage
• Strengthened relations between the Board of Trustees and the SUNY Orange Foundation Board of Directors
• Addressed budgetary challenges by securing more than $17 million in grants over the past 12 years

On Thursday evening (June 4), the College hosted a retirement ceremony for Richards on the Newburgh campus. Richards’ successor, Dr. Kristine M. Young, will begin her tenure at the College on Monday, June 8.

SUNY Orange Accomplishments Under the Presidential Leadership of Dr. William Richards

Throughout his 12-year tenure as President at SUNY Orange, Dr. William Richards has led the College to great heights, encouraged staff and faculty to embrace innovation and collaboration, and supported SUNY Orange students by embracing his role as “chief student advocate.”

Following is a listing of the College’s most significant accomplishments over the past 12 years:

Creation of the Newburgh Branch Campus
SUNY Orange’s expanded campus in Newburgh includes Kaplan Hall, an 85,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory building that opened in January 2011, along with the renovated Tower Building that was reopened in January 2012. The College offers seven full degree programs in Newburgh and services more than 1,500 full- and part-time students. The campus has elevated educational access for students from throughout the eastern portion of Orange County, and beyond, and has become a key component in the revitalization of the City of Newburgh. Additionally, in December 2013, the Orange County Legislature approved the purchase of three buildings--American Legion Hall, Masonic Lodge and former YMCA--adjacent to Kaplan Hall along Grand Street for future College expansion. The County-owned Maple Building stands next to the Tower Building and could serve the College’s needs in the future.

Middletown Campus Capital Improvements
Within the past three years, the College has enhanced its Middletown campus via construction of the Morrison Lab School, a magnificent new childcare facility that also serves as an on-campus learning laboratory for the College’s education and early childhood development students; a parking garage along Wawayanda Avenue; and the Rowley Center, a 107,000-square-foot facility that will house the science, biology, engineering and architecture programs. Once those programs are established in the Rowley Center, the College will renovate those departments’ vacated academic and office spaces for use by other departments.

Defining Moments Capital Campaign: $25.1 Million
In addition to construction in Newburgh and Middletown (noted below), the Defining Moments campaign that concluded this past Fall helped increase the College’s scholarship endowment by 207 percent, to more than $2.4 million, allowing SUNY Orange to issue a new high of $270,000 in assistance this past academic year. Campaign donations supported a host of additional projects or improvements, including: scholarships for daycare, faculty and staff professional development, creation of new academic programming, technological upgrades to classrooms, the Global Initiative: Africa program, expanded wireless internet access on the Middletown campus, attendance by Honors Program students at regional conferences, a SUNY Orange student research competition, the archival process for materials in the Ben Gilman Collection, and creation of a one-stop services hub in the Shepard Student Center.

Additional SUNY Orange Accomplishments since 2003

• Founding member of the Hudson Valley Educational Consortium
• Joined Franklin University’s Community College Alliance
• Acquired Benjamin A. Gilman Collection and established Gilman Center for International Education at the Middletown campus Library
• Introduced new academic programs in human services, emergency management, new media and public health
• Established Interdisciplinary Studies Department
• Greatly expanded College’s Honors Program for motivated, high-achieving students
• Saw tenfold growth in membership in Phi Theta Kappa (national honor society for two-year students)
• Expanded transfer articulations with four-year colleges and universities and introduced joint academic programs (i.e.: criminal justice articulation with St. John’s University and new RN to BSN program with SUNY Binghamton)
• Developed the Global Initiative program, a series of yearlong, college-wide investigations into regions of the world (Latin America, Asia, Africa) or issues of global importance (sustainability, global health)
• Successfully completed two Middle States Commission on Higher Education Self-Study accreditation visits

Community Collaborations
• Completed industry forums in the areas of healthcare, banking and advanced manufacturing
• Developed Frontier TechLab
• Created the Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology (CART)

College Operations
• Implemented three College-wide Strategic Plans (2005, 2009 and 2014)
• Instituted and expanded Center for Teaching and Learning (professional development for faculty and staff)
• Created Institutional Effectiveness Plan to improve College operations and track College performance
• Implemented plans for Emergency Management and Sustainability to guide and improve College operations
• Original signatory of Climate Commitment and infused sustainability into College operations and policies

Student Services
• Expanded student services to include One-Stop Centers on both campuses
• Established the College’s Wellness Center
• Refined College orientation process to include NEW Start workshops attended by all incoming students so that they may become better acclimated to SUNY Orange

Institutional Advancement
• Strengthened collaboration/relations between the SUNY Orange Foundation Board and Board of Trustees
• Moved Alumni Association from College Association to Institutional Advancement
• Initiated President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement
• Promoted pursuit and acceptance of grants from government organizations as well as public and private foundations, resulting in the acceptance of approximately $16.9 million in grant awards in the past 11 years

• Oversaw growth in availability of online classes
• Introduced and expanded use of simulation manikins in nursing laboratories
• Implemented SMART Classrooms
• Expanded wireless internet access throughout both campuses
• Revamped MySUNYOrange online services (to be launched in June 2014) to promote increased student retention and completion

• Established Colt Athletic Hall of Fame (first induction class was in 2012)
• Helped return Orange County Home Show to the College in 2012
• Broadened naming of College spaces in honor of those friends and former employees who contributed greatly to the advancement of the College (Shepard Student Center, Gilman Center for International Education, Edward A. Diana Physical Education Center, M. William Lahey Library, Rowley Center for Science and Engineering, Mary A. Diana Softball Field, Mindy Ross Gallery)

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940