More than 150 regional entrepreneurs, visionaries, educators, business leaders and artists joined SUNY New Paltz faculty and staff at the Hudson Valley Future Summit, a day-long celebration of new ideas and inventive projects, on Nov. 18.
The Future Summit provided an invitation-only cadre of campus visitors from around the Hudson Valley with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to look back at the region’s rapid emergence as a magnet for innovation and enterprise, and look ahead to the discovery of collaborative opportunities that the College, through events like this, aims to catalyze.
“We are dedicating this day to the increasingly enriching, productive and strategic interplay between the College and the various civic, educational, business and creative interests within the Hudson Valley,” said President Donald P. Christian. “Connecting with the region is not a new thought at SUNY New Paltz, but hearing from you through discussions like today’s about how we can play a more expansive and influential role as the intellectual and cultural hub in the Hudson Valley is one of my goals.”
[pullquote]“The Hudson Valley isn’t the middle of nowhere anymore. It’s the center of everything.” – Seth Godin[/pullquote]
Keynote speaker Seth Godin, best-selling author, internationally-renowned expert on marketing and leadership, and a Hudson Valley resident, set the tone for the day’s conversations.
Godin’s remarks described a shift in the global economy from a basis in industry to a basis in connectivity, and how this advantages communities, like the Hudson Valley, that build durable partnerships across education, industry, technology, agriculture and service organizations.
“In a connection economy, value is created because you’re trusted, because you’re known,” Godin said. “The question is, who’s going to get good at that? Is it going to be people who are interested, curious, smart, tolerant, open and eager? I think so. That’s what happens at universities like SUNY New Paltz, and that’s what happens in places like the Hudson Valley.”
The Future Summit’s many plenary sessions returned frequently to this idea of building integrity through human connection. Discussions tackled subjects like relationships between the arts and businesses, the many ambitious start-ups choosing to call the Hudson Valley home, the importance of including diverse perspectives in the creation and sustenance of a modern regional economy, and the educational pipeline that empowers the local economy with talented and resourceful young professionals.
“This summit presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to do this work, and I applaud SUNY New Paltz for taking on this mission critical work,” said keynote speaker and Poughkeepsie School District Superintendent, Nicolé Williams.
The Hudson Valley Future Summit was made possible through the efforts of the organizing committee, which included Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Erica Marks, Dean of Business Kristin Backhaus, Dean of Science & Engineering Daniel Freedman, Dean of Fine & Performing Arts Jeni Mokren, Program Director Lisa Sandick and Director of Community and Government Relations Richard Winters.
The Summit was supported by the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, with lead sponsorship from Bread Alone Bakery, Kirchhoff Medical Properties, wood 1a and Woodstock Chimes. Wines from Millbrook, Whitecliff, Robibero and Clinton Vineyards were donated for an evening reception and tasting following the Summit.