SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Dr. Donald P. Christian President of SUNY New Paltz

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Contact: Suzanne Grady;; 845-257-3245

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today unanimously appointed Dr. Donald P. Christian president of SUNY New Paltz. Christian has served as interim president since July 2010 and provost and vice president for academic affairs at the college from August 2009 until June 2010.

“When the Board first met Dr. Christian a year ago, we knew right away he would bring a passion for education to one of SUNY’s most treasured campuses,” said Carl T. Hayden, chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees. “We are so pleased to provide the opportunity for him to continue sharing that passion with the New Paltz community. Chancellor Zimpher has made an excellent decision in recommending that the Board make his presidency permanent, and we look forward to the great contributions Dr. Christian will bring to New Paltz and the State University.”

“Dr. Christian has maintained and exceeded the level of excellence we have come to expect from SUNY New Paltz,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “This is exactly the kind of leadership that one of the most up-and-coming colleges in the nation needs and deserves. I am truly thrilled to continue working and partnering with Dr. Christian, and I thank the Board for confirming his nomination as president.”

“I am very pleased with the appointment of Donald Christian as the next president of SUNY New Paltz,” said Kenneth J. Abt, chair of the New Paltz Presidential Search Committee and of the New Paltz College Council. “This is a great outcome for the College. Don is familiar with the campus, has demonstrated strong leadership under difficult circumstances, and has a clear vision for the future of New Paltz that builds on its strengths. He will provide the continued momentum to serve the institution and its students well in the coming years.”

“As interim president this past year, my respect for and pride in the commitment and collective accomplishments of the faculty, staff, and students at New Paltz have continued to grow,” said Christian. “I am excited about what we have achieved and what we will continue to build in the future. I am honored by the opportunity to lead such a special college and to be part of SUNY’s many contributions to public higher education and the quality of life in New York.”

About Dr. Donald P. Christian

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Prior to his arrival at New Paltz in 2009, Christian was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of biology 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 arts 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 (1997-2004), he served as associate dean for the Biological Sciences at the University of Montana where he was also a professor. Prior to that, Christian held many positions at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (1978-1997), including chair and professor in the Biology Department and director of graduate studies in the Biology Graduate Program. After completing his Ph. D. at Michigan State University in 1977, he worked there for one year as an instructor in the Department of Zoology and curator of mammals at the College’s museum.

In 2008, Christian was invited to participate in the Wingspread Conference on Liberal Education by Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly. Christian was awarded the Outstanding Academic Administrator Award from the University of Montana in 2000 and the Service to Chapter Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Wildlife Society in 1995.

Recipient of numerous research grants and contracts, Christian has published widely in journals such as Thought & Action; Journal of Wildlife Management; Wildlife Biology; Wetlands; Biomass & Bioenergy; Conservation Biology; and the Journal of Mammalogy, and has presented his work at numerous conferences and other institutions. Christian earned a B. S. in Wildlife Biology, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology from Michigan State University.

Christian and his wife, Sandy, a psychotherapist, reside in New Paltz and have two children.

As president of SUNY New Paltz, Dr. Christian will receive a State salary of $225,000.

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 467,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

Dr. Donald Christian