SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy (center) shares conversation with students surrounding her on a 12-foot-high Adirondack chair in front of the college’s new dormitory, minutes after the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new landmark. The chair was presented to Duffy inconjunction with her inauguration this week as the college’s seventh president.
New SUNY Adirondack president Kristine Duffy climbed into a 12-foot-high Adirondack chair April 10 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new campus landmark.
Moments later, about a dozen college students surrounded Duffy in her high perch overlooking the campus, engaging her in conversation.
The ceremony was one of a several events last week at SUNY Adirondack, held in conjunction with Duffy’s inauguration as the community college’s seventh president.
The college’s Student Senate presented Duffy with the giant chair, installed in a roundabout in front of the new SUNY Adirondack dormitory.
Student Senator Dan Roberts watched students climb up the ladder and join Duffy, chatting with her about the new installation.
“If there’s a definition of leadership, it’s her,” he said. “She always has in mind what’s best for the students.”
Since starting in her position July 1, Duffy has launched several initiatives, whether it’s increasing the college’s technology programs, seeking grant funding to expand academic facilities, or establishing an agricultural curriculum which would feature sustainable farming.
Earlier this year, Duffy announced that the college would be focusing on preparing many more of its students toward careers in health care, technology and science — with curriculum targeted to fulfill specific career opportunities locally.
She and college officials are working towards offering an array of new programs in health care management, information technology, advanced manufacturing, quality assurance, natural resources conservation, environmental research, food processing and distribution, cyber-security, entrepreneurship, as well as training for medical assistants.
To achieve this initiative, Duffy and other college administrators applied for a $20 million state grant to pay for about two-thirds of the cost of constructing a new 70,000-square-foot building to accommodate new and existing programs.
During the ribbon-cutting for the huge chair April 10, SUNY Adirondack senior and Student Senator Victoria Rexrode offered her thoughts to the gathered crowd. She said the chair was an appropriate symbol for the college.
“It’s solid, rustic and unpretentious, and it gives us a view of what’s on the horizon,” she said.
The chair was built by a woodworker from Jay commissioned through the Wood Carte of Queensbury.
Rexrode agreed with Roberts that Duffy was student-oriented, citing that the new president was attending student activities, asking them for their ideas about the college’s future.
“She is so involved on campus, getting to know students and hear their thoughts and concerns,” she said of Duffy. “She’s like a breath of fresh air.”
Rexrode added that Duffy offered encouragement to students in their academic pursuits.
“She wants us to evolve, forge an identity, and move forward, each in our own way.”
Rexrode continued that Duffy was introducing new initiatives that help students achieve their goals.
“She’s so driven to better the college,” she added.
Duffy said that she’s enjoyed her first nine months as SUNY Adirondack’s chief executive.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by the warm reception from the students and the campus community,” she said moments after the ribbon-cutting. “People here really want us to be successful, and that’s a great environment to walk into.”