MIDDLETOWN – Having recently celebrated the successful conclusion of a $25.1 million capital campaign and presently nearing completion of an expansive capital construction and renovation program that has dramatically altered both College campuses within the past six years, SUNY Orange president Dr. William Richards today announced to the College community that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year.
The timing of the announcement, according to Richards, is intended to facilitate the smoothest transition possible for the College by allowing the Board of Trustees the time necessary to conduct a national search for his successor while he continues to guide the College’s operations through the upcoming academic year. Richards notified the SUNY Orange Board of Trustees of his intentions on Tuesday evening.
"When I first arrived at the College, several colleagues asked me how long I intended to stay. My response was always that I didn’t have any particular timeline in mind but that I’d know when it was time to move on. That time has now come," Richards says. "I still enjoy everything about being the president of the College and working with dedicated faculty and staff who have the best interests of students at heart. But I also have a very strong sense that it’s time for me to step down and I’ve learned to pay attention to such stirrings.
"I look forward to my last year and I am committed to leaving the College in the best possible condition to face future challenges."
Upon his retirement, Richards, who arrived as SUNY Orange’s eighth president on Aug. 1, 2003, will have completed the second-longest presidential tenure in the College’s 65-year history, trailing only the 17-year stint of Dr. Robert Novak (1965-82).
In total, Richards’ 36-year academic career will have featured 18 years in executive leadership roles on college campuses, including three years as chief executive officer of the Westminster campus of Front Range Community College in Denver, Colo. (2000-2003), and three years as president of Otero Junior College in La Junta Colo. (1996-99). He was also president of the Higher Education and Advanced Technologies (HEAT) Center, a long-range strategic planning group headquartered in Denver, during the 1999-2000 academic year.
Before he departs next summer, Richards expects to assist the Board of Trustees through the College’s third strategic planning process--all of which have occurred during his tenure--which will include creation of a Strategic Plan 2020; revisions to the College’s mission, vision and goals; and updates to academic, facilities, technology, enrollment management and institutional effectiveness plans. He will also sharpen SUNY Orange’s focus on student recruitment and retention, with a special eye toward bolstering the STEM-related academic programs that will be housed within the new Rowley Center for Science and Engineering that will open this August.