New Fredonia president named

Stephen Kolison, Jr., Ph.D.

Stephen Kolison, Jr., Ph.D., has been named the president of the State University at Fredonia.

The Board of Trustees held a meeting via Zoom on Monday announcing the end of Fredonia’s presidential search.

“SUNY Fredonia led a stellar, rigorous search with system administration, and it is my pleasure to join the campus in celebrating Dr. Kolison as the 14th president,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “Dr. Kolison’s background and credentials make him an outstanding candidate for the position of president of SUNY Fredonia. I am pleased to bring him to the board for your consideration.”

The board explained that a number of them got the chance to interview Dr. Kolison, and they all thought he would be a “perfect fit.”

“Dr. Kolison is intelligent, attentive, has a big soul, and is a great communicator,” Eunice Lewin, trustee, said. “He is just the perfect match for Fredonia at this time.”

Kolison has served in his role as executive vice president and provost for the University of Indianapolis since April 1, 2017. In this capacity, his responsibilities included providing leadership for achieving the academic mission of the university. He helped plan 10 new degree programs. He also secured faculty support to establish three new types of faculty tracks in response to the needs of faculty across the university. Kolison also planned, launched, and completed the development of an intellectual life vision and an academic master plan for the university. Throughout his career in higher education, Kolison has been the principal investigator on grants totaling in the millions of dollars.

Prior to the University of Indianapolis, Kolison served on the University of Wisconsin administration from 2008 to 2017. He rose up through the ranks with various administrative positions, including associate vice president for academic programs, education innovation, and governance. Throughout his career in administration education, he has seen success in administrative leadership and research.

Kolison received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Liberia, and his Master of Science degree and Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Economics from Iowa State University at Ames. He also holds four post-doctoral certificates from Harvard University, including negotiations in leadership, crisis leadership in higher education, educational management, and risk communication challenges.

The board unanimously passed the resolution to officially make Kolison the next SUNY Fredonia president before Kolison joined the meeting, thanking the board for their decision in appointing him.

“Thank you for this tremendous opportunity and confidence,” Dr. Kolison said. “You see, for a man who was always thought in the second grade that he would not amount to anything because he suffered from dyslexia, this appointment is remarkable. I hope it will inspire all students everywhere to never give up.”

“I am pleased that Dr. Kolison will soon be leading this exceptional university,” said Dennis Hefner, interim SUNY Fredonia president. “His experience with public and private universities, his extensive grant record, his intimate knowledge of higher education systems, and his strong academic background give him the knowledge and experience necessary to assume this important leadership position during these very challenging times.”

Kolison said he is appreciative of his appointment and will serve the students to the best of his ability. He says he is excited to work with his colleagues in this new venture to better the university. Kolison will soon be moving to Fredonia and will begin to serve as president on August 17.

“To the students: I will work hard each and every day to ensure you are successful,” Kolison said. “I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to serve you. Regardless of your background, the State University of New York at Fredonia is your university. You belong. So embrace it, love it, and take full advantage of all it has to offer.”


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