Upon the recommendation of the State University of New York Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley, the SUNY Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Darrell P. Wheeler as President of SUNY New Paltz. The statement was announced by the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Stanley and is effective July 18, 2022.
Incoming President Dr. Wheeler said, “It is an honor and a privilege to be named New Paltz’s ninth president and to join a campus community I have already come to respect and admire. I look forward to working together with students and colleagues at New Paltz to advocate for the value of a liberal education tailored to 21st century needs and build upon the institution’s core values of access, integrity, inclusion, social justice, leadership and excellence.
Given its success in advancing the social mobility of its graduates, its geographic distinctiveness, and its stature within the SUNY system, New Paltz is poised to leverage profound opportunities even in this moment of rapid change. The College’s collective accomplishments speak to the dedication, hard work and creativity of many in the campus community. We have an opportunity to build on that momentum as we prepare for the next chapter in SUNY New Paltz’s history. This includes positioning the College for continuing success in a dramatically changing higher education landscape, ongoing planning for a post-pandemic future, additional progress on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and anti-racist initiatives, and setting the stage for continued student success.
As New Paltz’s next President, I will promote the academic opportunities at the University; the prominence and impact of its institutional members (students, faculty and staff); its community and regional relevance; and success in advancing the social mobility of its graduates. My husband Donovan and I are looking forward to getting to know the New Paltz community when my tenure starts this summer. My thanks to the SUNY Board of Trustees, Chancellor Stanley, the SUNY New Paltz College Council and the SUNY New Paltz presidential search committee for this opportunity, and to the community of Iona College for their commitment to my success as an academic leader.”
“Dr. Wheeler is not just an exceptional leader, but has dedicated over three decades of his career to tackling inequities within healthcare and education, ultimately providing a much-needed voice to the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. “SUNY New Paltz has built a reputation of academic excellence, and being welcoming and inclusive, and Dr. Wheeler is poised to continue that legacy. With his passion for creating more equitable systems within higher education and beyond as well as his professional record of admirable institutional governance, we are pleased to have Dr. Wheeler join the SUNY community. We greatly thank SUNY New Paltz Presidential Search Committee Chair Ron Law for leading the search process and President Donald P. Christian for serving the New Paltz community for over a decade.”
“We are impressed with Dr. Wheeler’s abilities and spirit, and all of us believe he will be a great leader for SUNY New Paltz,” said SUNY Board Trustee James F. Haddon. “His extensive time dedicated to addressing healthcare disparities for minority groups, serving on the US Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and creating foster care mentoring programs clearly demonstrates his passion for equity and inclusion. His commitment to improving higher education, along with his history of advocacy, has us anticipating seeing his unique lens unfold at SUNY New Paltz. Our congratulations to Dr. Wheeler and the SUNY New Paltz community.”
Eli Basch, interim chair of the SUNY New Paltz College Council, and Ronald Law ’74, longtime member of the SUNY New Paltz College Council and SUNY New Paltz Presidential Search Committee chair, said, “Dr. Wheeler impressed us with his genuine interest in New Paltz and our success as a high-quality public university that advances the social mobility of our diverse student population who then become engaged citizens making their communities and our society a better place. We observed Dr. Wheeler’s keen listening skills and thoughtful and informed responses to our questions, his positive energy and ability to achieve results through leveraging data and building consensus, and the high caliber and success of his academic and administrative accomplishments throughout his impressive career. We were moved by his personal story and his more than 30 years of research and community partnership in healthcare disparities for Black men that has earned him a national reputation and a seat on the US President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He is the right choice to take an already strong SUNY New Paltz to the next level of excellence.”
Current President Dr. Donald P. Christian said, “Dr. Wheeler brings an impressive array of experiences and achievements to this new role. I am pleased and excited to be passing the leadership baton to him. During my interview with him, I was impressed that he thinks ‘presidentially’ even as he will be new to the role. I will do everything I can to support his success – including as he pursues new initiatives and directions needed for the success of the College in a dramatically changing higher education world.”
Dr. Darrell P. Wheeler currently serves as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Iona College. Prior to that, he served as Dean of the School of Social Welfare and Vice President for Public Engagement at the University at Albany, Dean for the School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, and has held academic positions at Hunter College, CUNY, Columbia University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Dr. Wheeler has more than 30 years of research and community partnership experience in health disparities research with extensive scholarly work with local and national Black men who have sex with men (MSM) communities. While at the University at Albany, he was Co-PI on the NIMHD S21 Health Disparities Research Capacity and Resources grant entitled Endowment for Community-Based Health Disparities Research and Training, which was administered at UAlbany’s Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities (CEMHD), a previous NIMHD-funded P20 and R24 Center.
Dr. Wheeler currently serves on the US Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA); is on the Executive Management Committee of the HIV Prevention Trials Network; co-chairs the HIV Prevention Trial Networks HPTN Scholars Program, which has become a model for other mentoring programs to foster career development among underrepresented minority scholars; and is on the Board of Directors for the NASW Assurance Services Incorporated.
In 2021, Dr. Wheeler was selected as one of 16 Westchester County (New York) Health Care Heroes for his work to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19 in the county. He has worked to promote the engagement and success of underrepresented minorities in HIV-prevention sciences. His research, teaching, and community engagement work has demonstrated a deep understanding of the use of data and evidence in developing innovative programs and policy initiatives, especially related to health with marginalized and oppressed groups.
Dr. Wheeler received his Ph.D. in social work and MPH in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh, his MSW in health/mental health from Howard University, and his BA in sociology from Cornell College. He served in the United States Air Force and as an intern officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.