SUNY New Paltz welcomed distinguished community leaders, campus administrators and friends of the College for a New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday, June 19, which included a presentation by President Donald P. Christian, offering a comprehensive overview of the state of SUNY New Paltz in 2018.
The presentation highlighted for Chamber members key aspects of how the College is working to fulfill its core educational mission, support regional economies and serve as a cultural and intellectual resource.
“We have worked to create a model public university, both to enhance the learning experience of our students and to improve the quality of life in the Hudson Valley,” President Christian said. “Strengthening our connections with the regional community and building stronger public-private partnerships will help us adapt to a new future while staying true to our core mission.”
Selected passages of President Christian’s presentation to the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce are excerpted below:
On core educational values: “Our educational programs are unapologetically rooted in the values of a broad liberal education, coupled with essential skills to meet the needs and challenges of a 21st century real world. As we prepare our students for a knowledge-driven society and economy, we want them to understand that we are trying to educate them not just for that first job, but for the sixth or seventh job – which may not yet exist.”
On successful outcomes for students: “A big issue in U.S. higher education is the extent to which colleges and universities improve economic mobility and provide affordable education to disadvantaged families – that is, what is our impact on reversing economic disparity. Our graduation rate is far above state and national averages, and a recent analysis that produced an index of social mobility ranked New Paltz in the top 3% of nearly 1,400 colleges.”
On new academic programs: “This fall, the Business School is launching an undergraduate Business Analytics major, the first in SUNY and only the second in New York. We’ve refined our programs in digital media, created a post-baccalaureate advanced certification in trauma and disaster mental health, a new minor in digital design and fabrication that is cross-disciplinary, and added 4+1 programs that lead to the completion of both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. These are just a few examples of new innovations in curriculum that we are developing to meet changing societal needs and student interests.”
On the value of creating internship opportunities for students: “Internship participation is one of the most powerful ways we can prepare our students for the workforce, and we want to keep growing these opportunities. I hear regularly from parents, students and professors about graduates who are hired by companies after serving as interns. We also hear from internship providers how much our student interns bring to their organization, so this is very much a two-way street.”
On updates to campus facilities and infrastructure: “In the past seven years, our landscape has been transformed physically through an investment of more than $170 million in state funds or bonds, plus another approximately $70 million in residence hall construction and renovation […] Such projects create jobs and economic benefits, and they improve the learning environment for our students.”
On economic impact: “SUNY New Paltz is a major economic engine in the region, generating about $359 million in economic activity in the Hudson Valley and about $415 million in New York State, according to our most recent analysis, published last winter.”
On student recruitment and enrollment: “We go toe-to-toe with other colleges and universities to recruit the number and caliber of students we need to sustain our economy and our programs […] The improved campus environment that I’ve described – along with our established reputation for quality – are great assets in our competition for students.”
On philanthropic support: “Philanthropy helps us offer programs that we otherwise could not, and, importantly, provides scholarship and other support for students […] Our previous annual fund raising averaged about $1.5 million. We doubled that in a recent three-year major gift initiative, and we’ve done even better this year, heading towards our most successful fund-raising year ever — even though we have more room to grow.”
On College community members giving back: “Our employees volunteer their time and talent to the tune of about 158,000 hours annually – the equivalent of about 76 full-time people working throughout the year, with a monetary value of about $4.4 million – and many faculty and administrators serve on boards of area non-profit organizations.”
SUNY New Paltz has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce for many years, which helps create opportunities for students and enhances engagement between the campus, local businesses and individuals throughout the community.
More information about the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce is available online.