Council ‘happy’ with most SUNY updates

SUNY Fredonia President Stephen Kolison spoke about student award winners, additional funding from Albany, upcoming capital improvements and a new enrollment official last week during his College Council report time.

Kolison did not mention the approximately $15 million structural deficit facing the campus. In fact, it was not really mentioned at all during the College Council meeting. SUNY Fredonia’s previous vice president for finance and administration, Michael Kelly, has moved on and the position is currently unfilled.

A search is planned to fill it. Until that bears fruit, Kolison said he will oversee campus administration while Provost David Starrett will handle its finances.

“This is a very important position. I don’t think it’s a great arrangement but it’s the best we can do right now,” Kolison said.

He did introduce one new vice president: Kathryn Kendall, whose title is “Vice President for Enrollment Management and Services.”

Kendall discussed fall 2024 student applications, acceptance offers and tuition deposits during her own report later in the meeting. “We are still on a strong rising track at this time,” she said. “I’m actually incredibly happy with where we stand today.”

According to a slide she showed, freshman applications are up 6% from the same time last year, to 6,247. Acceptance offers are up 4.5% to 4,841 but deposits are down 10% to 585. Transfer numbers are down, but graduate student statistics are rising, in the three areas.

“I’m expecting our deposits to increase through June and beyond,” Kendall said.

Discussing activities to increase “yield” — the amount of accepted students who actually pay for and attend classes — she stated, “Take a deep breath, trust the process. We have a strategy behind what we do.”

Kendall noted that in a media-driven age, the campus must work hard on finding multiple ways to get noticed by prospective students. “We’re still looking for ways to increase our connections and touch points,” she said.

Here’s some more notes from President Kolison’s report:

– He said SUNY Fredonia will get an additional $1,354,000 from the state in 2024-25. That will all go toward compensation — $1,254,000 to offset rising salaries and the balance to pay student interns.

“A lot of people fought for this… It’s a big deal,” Kolison said. The extra funding will pay for 62% of salary hikes on campus next school year, he said.

He noted that getting the money was conditional on producing a five-year plan for eliminating its structural deficit.

— The campus has $226,829,221 allocated for capital projects through 2028, he said. A $45-$50 million Jewett Hall renovation project that was suspended is now back on, he added.

— Kolison pointed out that three of the four student prize winners are from New York State and two are from Western New York. The Lanford Prize winner, Patience Glatt, is from Jamestown.

Kolison commented that he would tell the Jamestown High School principal, “Thank you for the students you are producing,” and that it is good to have outreach like that with local high schools.


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