STONE RIDGE – SUNY Ulster marks an inspiring new chapter in its history with the formal Installation on Thursday, September 28th of its seventh President, Alison Buckley, Ed.D. A significant moment in the proud history of the College, this event allowed our community to unite for a common purpose and to envision the possibilities for the future of accessible higher education for Ulster County residents.
The ceremony drew educational, government, and community leaders together as members of the platform party and featured remarks from SUNY Chancellor, Dr. John B. King, Jr.; Ulster County Executive, Jen Metzger, Ulster County Legislative Chair, Tracey Bartels, and President Emeritus of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, Dr. David Levinson, among others. Colleges and universities throughout the Hudson Valley and the U.S. sent delegates to represent their institutions, and the audience was filled with the SUNY Ulster Board of Trustees, members of the Ulster Community College Foundation Board of Directors, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, family, and well-wishers.
SUNY Ulster Associate Professor Stephen Balantzian, Chair of the Arts Department, presided over the ceremony, and congratulatory greetings were shared by Deborah Briggs, Chair of the SUNY Ulster Board of Trustees, Kamlesh Baral, Student Government Organization President, Matthew Goodell, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Academic Senate Chair, Kari Mack, Director of Library Services, and Laurel Sweeney, Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors.
In her remarks, President Buckley cited SUNY Ulster as an economic engine. “Community college graduates are more likely to be fully employed in jobs with a family-sustaining wage. They are more likely to fill the mid-level jobs that drive labor market growth. They are more likely to own their own home, volunteer in our community, and vote.” One of her goals is to target those who live in poverty in Ulster County as well as the 59,000 who have graduated high school but have no post-secondary degree.
The College’s 60th anniversary of classes was September 23, 2023, and celebrations and events will be held throughout the academic year to commemorate this milestone. President Buckley shared during her address, “As we celebrate 60 years, I think of the dreams realized, the careers launched, the families changed.”
SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, “Dr. Alison Buckley is a champion of community colleges and truly understands how integral they are to the communities they serve. In the sixty years since it first opened, SUNY Ulster has served more than 400,000 students. In the year that Dr. Buckley has served as president, she has earned a reputation for thoughtful leadership, collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving. Her accomplished career serving successfully in key leadership roles in community colleges has prepared her well to ensure SUNY Ulster will continue to be a bastion of upward mobility, economic development, and student success.”
President Buckley assumed office in July 2022. Before being appointed president, she served as the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs for Connecticut State Community Colleges, where she established and directed the strategic enrollment management division for the state’s community colleges. During her time there, she served thirteen campuses with approximately 50,000 students. Some of her accomplishments include leading the state-wide Guided Pathways reforms, including the implementation of a holistic advising model; the establishment of the first community college strategic enrollment management plan; completing the organizational design of a single enrollment management and student affairs division in advance of the community college merger; successfully completing the New England Commission for Higher Education substantive change process to merge the colleges into a single institution, and working closely with the United States Department of Education on the technical components of the merger.
The installation ceremony was the capstone of a week-long series of events marking the celebration, including an Alumni Hall of Fame induction, the Ulster Community College Foundation Gala, Academic Showcases, and a campus-wide barbecue.