State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher has nominated Donald P. Christian to be interim president of SUNY New Paltz. Christian has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the college since August 2009, and will assume his new duties on July 1.
“I am delighted to know that Donald Christian will continue the great advances made by President Steve Poskanzer,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “New Paltz has been consistently recognized as one of the best small colleges in the country, and Dr. Christian will apply his strong administrative experience and leadership abilities to maintain this excellence while the presidential search process is underway."
“I could not be more pleased with the choice of Donald Christian to be interim president,” said Carl T. Hayden, chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees. “This is exactly the kind of well-balanced transition a campus needs between presidents. I commend Chancellor Zimpher on her decision to ensure the continuation of the excellent work being done at New Paltz.”
As provost and vice president, Christian serves as the college’s chief academic officer, is a member of the President’s executive management team, and assumes the responsibilities of chief executive in the President’s absence.
“I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to help lead the college during this transition," said Christian. “We are well positioned for the future, and I am committed to sustaining the best of the trajectory we have been on – emphasizing high academic quality and standards, continuing to improve our physical facilities, and giving our students the best education we can to prepare them for bright futures. And, I look forward to returning to the Provost position when the next President joins us.” Hear message from Dr. Christian.
“Don Christian will be a superb steward of the college,” said outgoing president Steven Poskanzer. “He combines wise judgment, a remarkable sense of how to build academic quality, practical smarts and a gracious human touch in a rare leadership package.”
Prior to his arrival at New Paltz, Christian was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for five years. As dean, Christian led efforts at campus, state, and national levels to advance understanding of the value of a liberal education in a knowledge-driven 21st century society; strengthened student-faculty research programs; and supported projects to enhance equity and diversity on the campus.
Previously, he served as associate dean for the biological sciences and professor at the University of Montana (1997-2004) as well as chair, director of graduate studies and professor of biology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (1978-1997).
Christian earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, and master’s and doctoral degrees in zoology, all from Michigan State University. He and his wife Sandy, a psychotherapist, reside in New Paltz. They have two children.
Compensation for Dr. Christian will be $200,000. Confirmation of the appointment will take place at the SUNY Board of Trustees meeting in June.