Search committee wants to have finalists for SUNY Potsdam president by year’s end
Sept. 10 – POTSDAM – SUNY Potsdam’s Presidential Search Committee aims for candidates to visit campus before the winter break and send finalists to the SUNY Chancellor by December or January.
June F. O’Neill, president of SUNY Potsdam College Council, briefed the board at its first meeting of the 2022-23 school year on Friday.
“Our plan is to have the finalists on campus, in person, before the holidays. Once that happens, the search committee will meet to fine-tune this as we cannot send more than three names to the Chancellor,” said Ms O. ‘Neill told the board. “It’s her choice. She brings it to the board and the board is the decision maker. It’s up to them.”
She said that for now, the names of the candidates will remain confidential.
“When we get to bringing the finalists to campus, that’s when the veil is lifted and everyone learns who the finalists are and attends an open forum,” Ms. O’Neill said. “We hope it will be possible by December or January to have the names forwarded to SUNY Central to be placed on the agenda for the next major board meeting.”
She said the committee met virtually with SUNY Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley and walked them through the process.
“We feel comfortable with that,” Ms O’Neill told the College board.
She said more than 100 people applied for the position of president of SUNY Potsdam.
“We are happy with the size of the pool,” she said. “We’re happy with the makeup of the pool…men, women, LGBTQ, underrepresented.”
Ms O’Neill said the search committee had been candid about SUNY Potsdam’s dire financial situation. College enrollment has been steadily declining for more than a decade, and they are considering cutting degree programs to save money.
“We were honest… potential candidates knew there were challenges that weren’t unique to us,” she said. “We’ve found it refreshing to tell people where we are, what some of the challenges are, and we’re ready to take on those challenges.”
SUNY Potsdam has been searching for a new president since the death of John L. Graham, who was named officer in charge as a search was conducted to replace former president Kristin G. Esterberg. She resigned on August 31, 2021 after accepting a chancellorship at the University of Washington Bothell.
After Mr. Graham’s death, longtime SUNY Potsdam professor Philip T. Neisser was named the officer in charge.