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Farmingdale State President Keen to Step Down in 2016

June 29, 2015

 

Dr. W. Hubert Keen, who has guided Farmingdale State College through a period of phenomenal enrollment growth, expansion of academic programs, a nearly $200 million campus construction and renovation project, and increased faculty hiring today announced that he will step down in June 2016 after more than nine years as President.

“Everyone has his or her time, and now it is my time,” Dr. Keen said. “I’m very proud of what Farmingdale has become, very proud of our excellent faculty and staff, and very proud of what our students achieve. I have a great deal of satisfaction in what we all have accomplished. Our institution is thriving in every imaginable way.  It’s been a wonderful journey. And I’ve had a ball.”

Dr. Keen, age 70, became the 8th head of SUNY’s largest college of applied science and technology in January 2007. He has enjoyed an almost 40 year career in academia, including positions as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Farmingdale, Interim President at SUNY Old Westbury, Special Assistant to the System Provost in the State University of New York, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at York College in the City University of New York.

He began his teaching career in 1976 as an Assistant Professor of Biological Science at SUNY Cortland and served during the next twelve years as Associate Professor, Professor, Coordinator of the Environmental Science Program, and as Chair of the Department of Biological Science. He also served for six years as Dean of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Cortland.  He holds a PhD in ecology and is a Fulbright Fellow.

During Dr. Keen’s tenure:

  • Total enrollment has increased 31% percent to 8,474 and full-time enrollment has increased from 4,020 to 6,287.
  • The incoming GPA for high school student increased from 86.6 to 88.2.
  • Farmingdale will begin offering its first Master’s degree program, in the School of Engineering Technology next year, and has added new programs in Applied Mathematics, Sport Management, Medical Technology, Horticulture Technology Management, Applied Economics and Software Technology.
  • New construction has included a Campus Center, School of Business, and Child Care Center while major renovations include a biology/visual communications building, a Dental Hygiene Care Center, an Applied Math Center, an expanded library, and refurbished athletic facilities. A major campus beautification project continues to be implemented.
  • The number of full-time faculty increased from 153 to 211, beginning with President Keen’s tenure as Provost in 2005.
  • In the ten year period beginning in 2003, Farmingdale’s external grant funding has more than tripled to $4,588,000.
  • Total philanthropic funding has increased steadily, roughly doubling in the past eight years, including a $1 million gift from alumnae Theresa Patnode Santmann in 2011—the largest donation in the College’s history.
  • Farmingdale students have won five Fulbright scholarships—among the most prestigious awards in academia—over the last five years, among the most in all of SUNY.

Among the hallmarks of Dr. Keen’s presidency are the “Students First” initiative, which streamlined administrative procedures to better serve students, and “Farmingdale Forward,” which created a vision for the continued progress of the campus. He also developed a Green Campus initiative which included the construction of the first solar carport/charging station in SUNY, the installation of wind turbines as part of a research demonstration project, the construction of the first Smart Energy House in SUNY and Farmingdale’s participation in a $12 million Smart Grid research project designed to create energy efficiency among businesses along the Route 110 corridor.

Dr. Keen succeeded Dr. Jonathan C. Gilbralter, who served from 2001-06. Previous administrators to lead Farmingdale either as presidents or directors were Albert A. Johnson (1913-23); Garland A. Bricker (1923); Halsey B. Knapp (1923-56); William A. Medesy (1957-60); Dr. Charles W. Laffin, Jr. (1961-76); and Dr. Frank A. Cipriani and (1978-1999).

Awards and recognition during Dr. Keen’s term as President have included:

  • NCAA Gender Equity Award for Athletics (2009).  Only one of 50 such awards given nationwide, based on the proportion of female student-athletes relative to the number of female students.
  • Graduate Earning Power from Payscale.com (2010). The potential earning power of Farmingdale State graduates was one of the highest in the nation among public colleges and universities. The College was ranked 88th in the survey was only one of four SUNY institutions to place in the top 100,
  • Named 2nd safest campus in U.S. Daily Beast in 2009 and ranked 5th in 2010; methodology based on federal crime statistics, student population, off-campus incidents, and other factors.
  • Cited for Diversity and Retention (2009) by US News & World Report. Farmingdale ranked 10th in racial diversity among BA colleges in the North and 23rd in freshman retention.
  • Farmingdale Named Top College for Greatest Lifetime Return on Investment for its graduates (2013) by AffordableCollegesOnline.org. Farmingdale ranked 30th out of 472 New York State Colleges (5th among all SUNY institutions).
  • Farmingdale was the only Long Island college—and the only college in the entire SUNY system—recognized by US News & World Report in 2013 for Least Student Debt upon graduation in an analysis of regional colleges in the North (debt load calculated at $17,825).

Under SUNY guidelines, the campus College Council will conduct a search for a new President and recommend a new candidate to the Chancellor for approval by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

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