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May 8, 2013

SUNY Cobleskill seeks new president

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — A change of leadership is in the works as SUNY Cobleskill prepares for a national search for a president.

Debra Hollar Thatcher will begin as acting president at the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill effective June 1. Her annual salary will be $170,000, according to a media release from the State University Board of Trustees in Albany on Tuesday.

Trustees also announced leadership changes at the SUNY Canton, Geneseo and Empire State campuses. Thatcher has served as chief operating officer, provost and vice president of academic affairs at SUNY Cobleskill since January 2011, the release said.

In August 2011, Candace Vancko, president of SUNY Delhi, was named officer in charge at SUNY Cobleskill. She will continue in that dual role until June 1 and be available for consultation after the transition, Joel Smith, spokesman for the State University College of Technology at Delhi, said Tuesday.

Smith said with the change, Vancko will continue her focus on developing programs at SUNY Delhi, including seeking approval for a master’s degree in nursing, and furthering the college’s centennial capital campaign to raise $3 million.

Vancko, 68, earned $249,000 in her dual leadership role, Smith said, and as of June 1, her annual salary will be $189,000.

Thatcher’s appointment is the first step in the process, announced last month by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, that will lead to a search for a president for SUNY Cobleskill in fall 2014, with the goal of having a president in place by the summer of 2015, Vancko said in a media release from SUNY Cobleskill.

SUNY has recognized “the tremendous strides we have made through shared services,” Vancko said in a prepared statement. “By working together, we’ve made impressive progress toward achieving our goals of positioning Cobleskill for enrollment growth, improving the campus appearance and infrastructure, and securing Middle States re-accreditation.”

Vancko said she was pleased to have served as officer in charge and appreciated support she received.

“Cobleskill is poised to be an academic leader entering its second century,” Vancko said. “We are fortunate Dr. Thatcher has agreed to serve as acting president. She has played a major role in helping us achieve our initial goals through her leadership of the strategic planning, academic prioritization and Middle States processes and her support of shared services. I look forward to watching Cobleskill grow under her guidance.”

In a prepared statement, Thatcher said she was honored by Zimpher and SUNY trustees to be tapped to be acting president.

“I look forward to continuing the momentum initiated by Dr. Vancko,” Thatcher said. “Our future is very bright.

“We are entering an exciting era marked by hiring new faculty and staff and building modern facilities to support academic and student life programs that will move SUNY Cobleskill to the forefront as the Northeast’s leading college of agriculture and technology,” Thatcher said.

Thatcher was was provost and dean of faculty at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C., from 2006-10, and from 2001-06, as director, School of Education, and associate dean of the School of Professional Studies at Northern Michigan University. Thatcher is a graduate of the University of Wyoming, and holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of South Carolina.