SUNY president meets with leaders in region

From left are Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, State University of New York at Fredonia President Dr. Stephen H. Kolison Jr., Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas and Fredonia Mayor Douglas Essek.

Stephen H. Kolison Jr., Ph.D., newly appointed president at the State University of New York at Fredonia, welcomed local elected officials to campus this week to introduce himself and look for opportunities for the campus to collaborate with the community.

Kolison hosted Fredonia Mayor Douglas Essek, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas, and Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel in his Fenton Hall office. The elected leaders also met with SUNY Fredonia’s vice presidents. They discussed current issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the village of Fredonia’s State of Emergency concerning its water supply. The group also discussed opportunities to work together in the interests of the region.

“Our university is part of the community, and I wanted to make sure I met with the leaders and offered myself as a partner in our efforts,” Kolison said. “We can work on projects that are mutually beneficial, especially with the COVID-19 challenge we have.”

Kolison was named SUNY Fredonia’s 14th president in June and has been in the community for approximately a month. “These kinds of collaborations are absolutely necessary for the success of our community,” Essek said. “We’ve had a very good relationship between SUNY Fredonia and the village for many years and I look forward to continuing that. Anything we can do to assist, we will do it.”

“I think it’s important that all of the partners come together, especially concerning the pandemic,” Rosas said. “I know the county executive, mayor, and myself have been working together during this pandemic, but also we’ve been working together on other issues. It’s vitally important SUNY Fredonia students know they are welcome, because we are one community as an entire region.”

“As a graduate of the SUNY system, I understand the importance of what the university brings to the community,” Wendel said. “The university is a large part of the community here, providing a lot of opportunities for students and our residents as well. As you’ve seen with the COVID response, any resources you need from the county will be made available.”


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