March 5, 2018

SUNY Empire Alumna Christine McNeely ’10 Leads Successful Fundraising Effort for Humane Association of Central NY

Her Advice to Prospective Students: “Stick with it.”

Christine McNeely, animal shelter in CNY
Christine McNeely

Over the next couple weeks, Christine McNeely ’10 and the hundreds of homeless cats and dogs under her care will move to a temporary home while theirs – the Humane Association of Central New York – undergoes a major and much-needed renovation, thanks to a successful fundraising campaign led by the SUNY Empire alumna. 

The $2 million upgrade, she says, will double the shelter’s capacity from about 700 animals per year to nearly 1,500.

The successful campaign is the most recent career milestone McNeely has reached since earning her a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management from SUNY Empire in 2010 and later being promoted to executive director of Humane CNY. In addition to the recent fundraising effort, she says she is most proud of a program she introduced where house pets of families in crisis staying in local homeless shelters, or those belonging to hospitalized individuals, stay at HumaneCNY until their owners can care for them again.

She says her time at SUNY Empire opened up new opportunities to advance her career in a field she has always been passionate about.

“My SUNY Empire degree has allowed me to work with countless individuals within my community from various demographics,” said McNeely. “I've been privileged to work in programs focusing on mental health, developmental disabilities, and now with animals, and spend much of my time assisting low-income individuals so that they may keep their pets with them.”

 Her advice to adults considering a return to college: “Stick with it.”

 As a single parent supporting herself and a young daughter, McNeely says the SUNY Empire delivery model was a perfect fit. “It allowed me to make my own schedule, so I could work and make sure my daughter’s needs were met,” she said.  

 McNeely has earned an associate degree in Applied Sciences, with a certificate in Respiratory Care, from Onondaga Community College, and a master’s degree from American Intercontinental University in addition to her bachelor’s from SUNY Empire.

She says graduation day at SUNY Empire is a rewarding experience, where graduates share pride in their individual accomplishments and those of their peers, as “part of a class of lifelong learners who after years of working, raising families and going to school finally completed their educational goals.”

McNeely’s mentor, Nikki Shrimpton, dean of academic services, said, “Christine built on her strong educational and professional experiences to create an individualized program that positioned her for a variety of different career opportunities. I am very happy to have been part of Christine’s educational journey and excited to see her in such an important and meaningful leadership role in our community.” About Humane CNY

As the largest no-kill, not-for-profit animal shelter in Central New York, the mission of McNeely’s organization is “to find loving homes for the animals who need them.” The shelter has been an advocate and caretaker of homeless cats and dogs since 1966. To learn more about Humane CNY, visit


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