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College Council Report: Tuition, Fulbright and More

A summary of the recent meeting at Farmingdale State.

A new five-year tuition plan, the acquisition of three new airplanes and a building dedicated to an alumni were at the center of the discussions at the April 27 meeting of the Farmingdale State College Council, a group of local community leaders and professionals who serve in an advisory capacity to the college.

Money, both needed and donated, was a main topic of the meeting. The Council’s Chair Pearl Kamer spoke of a new rational five-year tuition plan that would be “fair, responsible, and predictable.”

“We have a lot of backing and support from the Board of Trustees, the chancellor, legislators, and student assembly, as well as Long Island newspapers,” she said. “Governor Cuomo understands the concept and says there is a lot of merit to it but details need to be worked out.” The increase is severely needed, added Dr. W. Hubert Keen, Farmingdale State College president, since the college is facing a severe reduction in state money and he predicts it will be a difficult year ahead.

At the same time, a generous donation was made by Farmingdale College alum Theresa Patnode Santmann, who earned her nursing degree in 1969. To honor this donation, the School of Health Sciences will be renamed and dedicated in her name. This is the first major donation on the Farmingdale College campus resulting in a building renamed.

Keen proudly reported on two recent accomplishments. For the second year in a row, the college has a Fulbright Scholar winner. The student is Dylan Sullivan, a visual communication major who will travel to Estonia. Only 15 SUNY colleges have had Fulbright winners.

In his President’s Report, Keen reported that the college was re-accredited after evaluation by the Commission on Higher Education for the next ten years. “We’re very proud that we came through without any follow-up and we received praise in lots of areas.”

Dedications and memorials were also discussed. Three new airplanes - two Piper Warriors and one Piper Arrow - at Republic Airport expanding the college’s fleet to 22 airplanes. The new planes possess state-of-the-art glass cockpit technology which features computerized displays in place of dials or gauges, and modern automation platforms. The acquisition represents a continued modernization of the Aviation program technology.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher helped to christen the new planes with Keen. “These airplanes can be afforded not from student tuition but from fees paid by students for flight training, a self supporting operation” said Keen. “Each student pays $20,000 for flight training. The flight program is doing very well and we’re quite proud of it.”

Two employees of the college family recently passed away and will be remembered with plaques at their respective departments. Dr. Paula Maurino was a professor in the computer sciences department who passed away November 12, 2010. She was an active member of the college and a tenured faculty member and an associate professor. Joan Ferrell Franks, a counselor in the admissions office, passed away in February 2011 after working for the college for 23 years. Her plaque will be placed in the admissions department. “She was fully committed to the success of our students,” said the resolution passed by the council.

Two public events were discussed at the meeting. Dr. Veronica Henry, executive assistant to the president, organized the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Diversity Summit held on March 17 at the college campus in which 413 individuals and 262 students participated.

The summit featured presentations on sustainable energy technologies and biotechnologies by leading national, regional and local businesses. National and local leaders from education, business and non-profits attended as well as elected officials. A group of educators and parents had been holding monthly meetings since February 2010 to create this Summit to discuss the shortage of minorities in science, technology, engineering and math professions and to set the stage for future developments.  “We had a number of high-profile speakers and the SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher attended,” said Henry. “It was a ground-breaking event and very successful. We hope to continue it.”

The college also hosted a town hall forum called New York in the World on May 2 at Roosevelt Hall in partnership with the SUNY Levin Institute in Manhattan. The discussion was moderated by Keen and Garrick Utley, president of the SUNY Levin Institute.

The presentation was given by Jonathan Bowles, executive director at the Center for an Urban Future and the expert panel included Dr. Charles Ryan, senior vice president of Forest Laboratories, Inc.; Dr. Beverly Kahn, professor at Farmingdale State College, and Mr. Aristoteli Dorizas, president of the Quality Club of Farmingdale State College.

New York in the World was designed to inform the public and political debate over New York’s future in the global economy. The project will lead to findings and recommendations that can help shape and support appropriate actions and policies.

The College Council meets throughout the year. The next meeting will be posted on farmingdale.edu.

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