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The Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees voted today to name Margaret M. “Meg” O’Connell as the interim president of the College, effective July 1, 2012. As the next step, the board for the College, an institution of the State University of New York (SUNY), must submit the interim appointment of O’Connell to the SUNY Board of Trustees for ratification.
It was announced last week that the College’s current president, Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D., who has served for nearly 12 years, has been appointed the new president of Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Virginia, effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Sydow will remain as Onondaga’s president through June 30, 2012.
A national search will be conducted for the College’s next permanent president. O’Connell, who currently serves as the chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, is not a candidate. She will take a leave of absence from the board by June 30, 2012.
“The role of an interim president is to ensure continuity in campus operations while a search is conducted for a permanent president. Meg O’Connell is a woman of tremendous integrity, intelligence, and strength of character, and through her service as a board member since 2005 and as chair for nearly two years, Meg O’Connell has been instrumental in the leadership and development of the College’s shared governance initiative, the Reach Beyond capital campaign and the College’s strategic plan, which establishes a roadmap and measurable strategic goals for the institution through 2016. Meg is a steady, thoughtful leader who will keep the institution focused on its core mission and priorities during this period of transition,” said Dr. Sydow. O’Connell has more than 15 years of executive-level administrative experience as the Executive Director of the Allyn Foundation, a highly respected nonprofit with assets of $28 million. As a member of the Allyn family, O’Connell’s office resides within the family-owned company, Welch-Allyn, one of Central New York’s top employers and an internationally recognized manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, New York.
“Throughout her professional career and through her public service, Meg O’Connell has demonstrated exceptional leadership. She is smart, passionate, and deeply committed to equal opportunity for all, for which Onondaga Community College as an open-access institution stands. I have no doubt that Meg will bring her strong values to her role as interim president and that she will serve the campus and community well during this transition period,” said Melanie Littlejohn, member of the Board.
“Meg O’Connell’s demonstrated record of achievement and commitment to building solid working relationships – whether through community partnerships or linkages with local employers, elected officials, and community leaders – has served the College well, and will continue to do so in this new capacity. It is critically important that while the national search underway, the tremendous forward momentum of the College be continued. As an alumnus, I am confident that Meg is the right person for this interim role, and the College will benefit greatly in the transition through her leadership,” said Steve Aiello, vice chair of the Board.
“Onondaga Community College is one of the premiere community colleges in the nation, and it is well-known throughout our community and beyond as a provider of top-quality academic programs and services. I am honored to accept this appointment by the Board of Trustees and look forward to working in collaboration with the campus community, community leaders, and the Board during this interim period,” said Margaret M. “Meg” O’Connell.