Presidential Search

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The State University of New York at New Paltz seeks a visionary leader and an able and experienced administrator of impeccable integrity committed to promoting a student-focused environment of learning, teaching, research, and other activities that promote dismantling institutional and structural inequity to create a welcoming and nurturing environment for all students, staff, and faculty.  

The Position:

Reporting to the SUNY System Chancellor and working collaboratively with the SUNY New Paltz College Council, peer SUNY campuses, and the local community, the President serves as the chief executive officer of this comprehensive master’s level institution. The President will work with a team of dedicated faculty and staff and oversee a team of vice presidents who lead the divisions of Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, and Administration & Finance, and the Offices of Development & Alumni Relations, Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion, and Communication & Marketing. The President engages all stakeholders with a focus on increasing awareness of the institution’s profile, while providing broad and transformational educational opportunities to students.

The President will value consultation and transparency in decision-making, be skilled in interpersonal relationships, and will sustain and strengthen the academic excellence achieved by the College. This individual will develop and direct strategic plans related to institutional vision, mission, values and goals, the student experience, academic programs, teaching, learning, public service, financing, enrollment management, and physical plant development. Successful experience in fundraising will be a very important consideration as the College has a very robust fundraising mission; the campus recently completed a $24.7 million campaign and has an endowment of $34 million.

The Institution: 

Founded in 1828, the College is a vital part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system of higher education. The campus enrolls about 7,800 students (6,800 undergraduate and 950 graduate), 344 full-and 323 part-time faculty and is the largest employer in Ulster County with more than 1,600 full and part-time employees and 64,000 alumni worldwide. SUNY New Paltz is described as one of the jewels of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. It is a highly selective admissions institution with a richly deserved reputation for its academic excellence and remarkable success in serving students from underrepresented groups, winning acclaim in several national publications.

The Princeton Review ranked SUNY New Paltz as one of the nation’s “Best Value” colleges and universities and included it among the Top 75 public, four-year institutions of higher education in the US. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked the College in the Top 100 best values in the nation and U.S. News & World Report ranked New Paltz sixth among best public regional universities in the North with both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. New Paltz faculty is widely recognized for excellence in teaching, including through the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching and SUNY Distinguished Faculty rank and numerous research honors such as Fulbright, Guggenheim, National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. For more information about SUNY New Paltz, please visit


The New Paltz Presidential Search Committee seeks to attract a President who will engage the students, faculty, administration, staff, College Council, and the external SUNY New Paltz community in a shared vision for the future of the institution. They will have the knowledge of and passion for public higher education and a commitment to shared governance and transparency and demonstrate a history of ethical and accountable leadership.  The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to the College’s overall mission to provide a high-quality, affordable education to students from all social, cultural, and economic backgrounds. The successful candidate will possess a record in building institutional diversity and equally support SUNY’s PRODiG initiative to diversify the faculty.

The successful candidate will have experience in strategic planning and implementation and show an ability to engage with and be visible to students, faculty, and staff as well as a commitment to the success of SUNY New Paltz graduates.  They will have an ability to further an effective enrollment strategy; and the leadership to enhance a feeling of collegiality, transparency, and shared inquiry.  The successful candidate will provide effective leadership by exhibiting innovative and creative approaches to advance the College’s mission, engage alumni, donors, and friends of the College in fundraising through the Alumni Association and College Foundation, and be committed to developing and maintaining a strong, collaborative, respectful, and transparent relationship with community leaders, organizations, and residents.

Additional key criteria will include a demonstrated ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with senior campus administration, all campus constituents, SUNY System administration, labor unions, and other SUNY institutions.  The successful candidate will possess crisis management skills and be fully engaged in dialogue and planning at a national level, during a critical time that requires SUNY’s unparalleled commitment to student success, academic excellence, leadership, research, and economic and community engagement.  They will possess experience with crafting, balancing and managing budgets and be adept at establishing priorities and policies to promote sound financial management. 

A demonstrated record of professional experience is required to lead this public institution of higher education and the successful candidate will possess an earned doctorate, terminal degree, or commensurate executive-level leadership experience.

The Location:

New Paltz is a vibrant, historic village (pop. 14,003) in New York State’s Hudson Valley region, midway between Albany and New York City. The campus offers beautiful views of the Shawangunk Mountains and easy access to outdoor recreation such as hiking, kayaking, climbing, and biking as well as a wide variety of restaurants, specialty shops, historic sites, and local entertainment venues.

About the SUNY System:  

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States comprising four university centers, four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, 13 comprehensive colleges, seven technology colleges, 30 community colleges, statutory colleges, like at the Colleges of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Human Ecology, Industrial & Labor Relations, and Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University and SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and manages one U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory.

More than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. In total, the SUNY System serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide were more than $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. For more information about SUNY, visit: 


Interested candidates should submit only a cover letter and resume to RPA Inc. at For a confidential discussion about this opportunity or to make a nomination, please email Amanda O’Donnell, Vice President and Senior Consultant; or Dana John Cohick, President, at the email address listed above. The first review of candidates will begin on November 30, 2021 and first-round interviews will commence thereafter.

SUNY New Paltz EEO Statement

SUNY New Paltz recognizes the unique skills, perspective, talents and passion that each employee contributes to its learning community. To work here is to accept an invitation to participate in the growth and development of all campus members—students, faculty and staff. The College's commitment to inclusive excellence is an important part of our mission of public education and our culture. New Paltz continues to work on building a community that supports freedom, mutual respect, and civility. We seek others who support these values of diversity and inclusiveness, and candidates of all diverse backgrounds who wish to participate in our cultural aspirations are welcome and encouraged to apply. 

The State University of New York at New Paltz is an AA/EOE/ADA employer. 

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Search Details

The State University of New York at New Paltz invites nominations and applications for the position of President. The College seeks a successor to Donald P. Christian who will retire at the end of June 2022, following a 45-year career in higher education and 12 years as president of the college.

Download the Search Prospectus

Contact the Search Committee

For more information, contact the search committee at

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