by Helen Edelman
“We are re-emerging to take on new and exciting challenges, new jobs, careers, new businesses…the possibilities are endless and Empire State College has shown us that we can tackle new things without fear, without reservation.”
Sandra Barkevich ’13, current graduate student in the Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies; editor of the student-run newsletter, The Student Connection; student representative to the Integrated Technologies Committee; student speaker at President Hancock’s inauguration; speaker at the Center for Distance Learning graduation, 2014
May 9, 2013: Appointment of Dr. Merodie Hancock.
Dr. Merodie Hancock appointed president of SUNY Empire State College. She was the unanimous choice of the SUNY Board of Trustees. She succeeded former presidents James Hall, Joseph Moore and Alan Davis to become the college’s fourth president in its 40-year history.
Planning began immediately for the inauguration to be held in March 27, 2014 at the annual All College Conference in Saratoga Springs. The planning committee comprised Pat DeCoster ’03, chair; Maureen Winney, director of alumni and student relations, who had charge of robing; Janet Aiello-Cerio as support for Winney; Karen LaBarge, who conceived the webinars; Susan McFadden, coordinator of special events for the college; Vice President for Communications and Government Relations Mary Caroline Powers; Erin Steinbach ’05, assistant to Hancock; and Tiffany Williams, secretary for the Office of Administration.
“I feel that I have found a great place. I love that I work with a population of students, faculty and staff that are all kind of grappling with all the same non-traditional education issues I am.”
Dr. Merodie Hancock
July 1, 2013: President Hancock takes up the reins of the college.
By mid July, inauguration committee members already were in action planning music, flowers, food and beverages, invitation and program design , speakers, photographer, videographer, travel and lodging, security, clergy for invocation, volunteers, banners, robes and regalia, ribbons for reserved section of audience and ushers, seating charts, podium speakers, stanchions in hotel lobby, waste disposal, signage, mint dishes, Band Aids, name tags, chairs, programs, lineup for processional, a system to caption the ceremony for the hearing-impaired, UPS deliveries, microphones and more.
Plans for Ernest L. Boyer Sr. Family Lecture
During fall ’13 and Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide, was chosen to deliver the annual Ernest L. Boyer Sr. Family Lecture, “Transformational Leadership: Succeeding in a Complex World,” preceding the inauguration ceremony. The choice of Gallagher was especially meaningful to Hancock, who has served on the board of directors of the United Way in other locations.
During winter ’14, plans were made for who would sit on the podium and participate in the ceremony. Also, the regalia and medallion were prepared and an inauguration website was designed to ensure that inaugural highlights would be widely available.
March 26: Pre-Inauguration Events
Events for the All College Conference took place at the Saratoga Hilton Hotel including Mentor Julie Gedro’s presentation of the Susan H. Turben Excellence in Scholarship Faculty Lecture on “Adult Learning and Responsiveness to Life Contexts, Challenges and Crossroads: Gender and Sexual Orientation Intersectionality as Opportunity” and highlights such as poetry readings of original work by members of the college community at “Poets Among Us.”
March 27, 2014: Inauguration
Robing took place at Saratoga Springs City Hall, which was followed by the academic processional of nearly 300 participants and accompanied by a bagpipe band. The processional entered the ballroom at the Saratoga Hilton Hotel, which had been prepared both as a space for celebration and as a “studio” so the inauguration could be recorded for posterity.
The mace bearer selected was Tom McElroy ’96, president of the faculty Senate; the National Anthem was sung by Kyle Viverito, a student at the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies; greetings were extended by College Council memer G. Angela Henry; the invocation was delivered by Rabbi Anna Sugarman, of Saratoga Springs; Ann Turner ’86 delivered greetings from the alumni and Foundation board; Sandra Barkevich ’13, currently a student in the School for Graduate Studies extended greetings from the student body; Mentor Cynthia Bates brought greetings from the college community; interlude music was provided by the Crystal Lake Chamber Players; greetings from the State University of New York were delivered by H. Carl McCall, chairman of the SUNY board of trustees; the president was presented by McCall and College Council chairman James Lytle; SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher presided over the investiture of the president; Hancock delivered the inaugural address; Henry closed the ceremony and the Crystal Lake Chamber Players provided music for the recessional.
The evening of the inauguration, a reception and dinner closed the event.
Inauguration Photos and Quotes
“With its world-class degree offerings and flexible class schedule, Empire State College has become a top choice for nontraditional and adult students. As the college continues to build upon its excellent reputation and service, we are fortunate to have Merodie at the helm. Congratulations to Merodie and the entire campus community.”
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
“On behalf of my colleagues on the SUNY Board of Trustees, I offer Merodie and the entire campus community our appreciation and full support as Empire State College continues its impeccable service to students, faculty and staff in every region of the state.”
Chairman H. Carl McCall, SUNY Board of Trustees
“We are re-emerging to take on new and exciting challenges, new jobs, careers, new businesses … the possibilities are endless and Empire State College has shown us that we can tackle new things without fear, without reservation.”
Sandra Barkevich ’13, current graduate student in the Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies; editor of the student-run newsletter; and student speaker at President Hancock’s inauguration
Candace Vancko, president of SUNY Delhi, Cliff Wood, president of Rockland Community College, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Andrew Matonak, president of Hudson Valley Community College, preparing for the inauguration ceremony of ESC President Merodie A. Hancock.
Assistant Professor and Unit Coordinator Cynthia Bates, Schenectady Unit, Northeast Center; Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring ’14; recipient of the Empire State College Foundation Excellence in Mentoring Award ’13; SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching ’13; faculty speaker at President Hancock’s inauguration
ESC faculty and staff during robing at the Saratoga Springs City Hall prior to inauguration procession.
“SUNY Empire State College’s dedicated faculty and staff use innovative, alternative and flexible approaches to higher education that transform people and communities by providing rigorous programs that connect individuals’ unique and diverse lives to their personal learning goals.”
President Merodie A. Hancock
“It is clear that she has invested time and energy in meeting the college’s various constituencies, that she values her students highly, and that she will energize the institution to advance its mission in 21st-century education. I look forward to getting to know her as
a new member of the Saratoga Springs community.”
President Philip Glotzbach, Skidmore College
“President Hancock’s inaugural address – and discussion of ‘re-emergence’ – is a handy antidote for any attacks of nostalgia, something that, as ‘new’ as the college is, has a way of creeping into any conversation about the future of this place. ‘Gosh, once we were
… ’ Well no, we were never that, because we are still coming out of
the box and growing into the fullness of the college’s original vision. That work, however handsomely begun, has a large horizon toward which it must continue to move.”
Mentor of Historical Studies and Unit Coordinator Robert B. Carey, Brooklyn Unit, Metropolitan Center, since 1973
“I watched her grow as a professional, as a person and as a leader. There are times in our lives that we are meant to take that next step, Merodie has taken that next step as she assumes the presidency of Empire State College. She is the right leader to take Empire State College to a bright and successful future.”
President George Ross, Central Michigan University, where Hancock served as vice president of the global campus before coming to Empire State College
“She has a tremendous understanding of Empire State’s mission, higher education and the needs of adult students in the culturally diverse world in which we live. She’s also open to new ideas and not afraid to challenge the status quo. Those skills will serve her well in guiding the re-emergence of Empire State College.”
President Candace S. Vancko, SUNY Delhi
“As a nontraditional student with a 27-year gap period, I can tell you firsthand that my own personal “re-emergence” back into academia was quite daunting. I found that my research into universities and colleges always seemed to draw me back to SUNY Empire State College. Our faculty, staff and administrators have made this process of re-emerging into this part of my life seamless. SUNY Empire State College has been blazing the trail for the nontraditional student for over 42 years.”
Lori Mould ’14, president of the SUNY Student Assembly and voting member of the SUNY Board of Trustees; graduation speaker at 2014 ceremony for the Genesee Valley Center; college representative in 2014 at the annual public hearing on higher education convened by the New York State Legislature
“I love the president’s choice of ‘re-emergence’ as our guiding theme. It is a simple affirmation: What does each student want to accomplish and how can mentors and ESC help bring that goal into reality? This signature affirmation powers our work and sustains our existence.”
Mentor of Cultural Studies Robert Congemi, Northeast Center, since 1973