In the world of academia and career achievements, some individuals follow a direct and clear path, and Chris Croken, a proud alumnus of Farmingdale State College, embodies this idea. His journey is marked by determination, creativity, and a strong commitment to his craft. In this exclusive interview, we explore the life of Chris Croken, who recently became the President of the Alumni Association at Farmingdale State College. 
As the newly appointed President of the Alumni Association, Chris Croken plays a vital role in strengthening the connection between Farmingdale State College and its alumni community. With a background in strategic alliances and healthcare, and as the Assistant Vice President for Business Development Healthcare at Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Chris is well-prepared to foster a robust network of alumni engagement. His role involves creating opportunities for alumni to stay connected with their alma mater and facilitating connections between alumni and current students. Chris's dedication to this role comes from his deep affection for Farmingdale State College and the cherished memories he has from his time there. He aims to enhance the alumni experience and strengthen the bonds within the Farmingdale community. 
Let's go back to Chris Croken's academic journey, which is an example of a straightforward and focused route to success. He started by earning a Bachelor of Technology in Visual Communications from Farmingdale State College in 2005, just the beginning of his remarkable journey. In 2020, he achieved a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Trine University in Indiana, which paved the way for his current role as the Assistant Vice President of Business Development Healthcare at Bethpage Federal Credit Union. 
In his role as the Assistant Vice President, Chris manages various responsibilities. These include overseeing Bethpage Healthcare Partnerships, organizing educational events, managing ATMs, offering incentives, implementing community education initiatives, and building support networks. His team maintains relationships with over 26 major hospitals and more than 700 locations. Bethpage Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union on Long Island and the Northeast region, and it ranks as the third-largest credit union in the country. Its ability to conduct business nationwide and its official partnership with Northwell Health underline the significant role that Chris plays in the healthcare sector. 
Chris's journey from college graduation to his current position has been a straightforward and purposeful one. When asked about the keys to his success, Chris emphasizes his strong work ethic, unwavering motivation, and ability to adapt to change. His determination to succeed led him to dedicate 45-60 hours a week to his work. He managed a demanding schedule of attending classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm, with no days off. His dedication to creativity and collaboration has been instrumental in his journey to success. After completing 15 credits at Farmingdale State College, he worked in retail sales as a training manager at Best Buy before transitioning into the finance field, where he found his way to Bethpage Federal Credit Union. Since then, his career has been marked by determined progress.  
Chris looks back fondly on his time at Farmingdale State College, emphasizing how it equipped him with valuable skills that continue to guide him in his professional journey. One significant lesson was corporate identity, which provided him with the tools to effectively communicate a company's identity, think innovatively, and collaborate with diverse teams. Chris values active thinking and creativity, qualities that have enabled him to contribute to ideas and propel them forward. 
One academic lesson from his time at Farmingdale State College still resonates with Chris today. It was a final project in one of his classes that challenged students to create an experience in a gallery setting, pushing creative boundaries. Chris chose to use a lawnmower as a paintbrush and filled balloons with paint to create a unique piece of art. This piece had a significant impact, and his professor's support for his creative vision left a lasting impression. This lesson continues to guide Chris in embracing creativity and thinking outside the box. 
Throughout his academic and professional journey, Chris encountered challenges that ultimately led to opportunities for growth. One transformative experience took place during his first year in a two-dimensional design course with Professor Puff. Chris received a C+ grade, a surprising result for a straight-A student; however, this grade changed his perspective. By evaluating the critiques of designs from other students and his professor, he learned to see things differently and think beyond the ordinary, leading to a broader and more creative vision that he continues to apply in his career. 
In hindsight, Chris remains resolute in his decision to pursue the same career path. While the field of visual communications has evolved into graphic design and gained popularity, Chris attributes his success to adaptability and hard work. His ability to build relationships and explore opportunities that he hadn't initially considered was pivotal to his journey. With three degrees and only $5,000 in student debt, thanks to Farmingdale State College's cost-effective education, Chris stands as a testament to the value of dedication and adaptability. 
Chris is passionate about connecting alumni with current students to help them navigate the complex journey to success. He advises current college students to think creatively, step out of their comfort zones, and focus on building connections. He encourages students to reach out to professionals on platforms like LinkedIn, not only when job opportunities are available but also to establish meaningful connections. Chris believes that there are numerous ways to create opportunities, and the key is to take the initiative and reach out. 
Chris also speaks about the vibrant atmosphere at Farmingdale State College, attributing it to the rigorous portfolio review process. Prospective students were required to submit 25 pieces of art for evaluation before being admitted to the Visual Communications major, ensuring that those who entered had a high standard of artistic skill. The college's reputation has grown, and it is now seen as more than the community college of the past. 
Chris Croken's remarkable journey exemplifies the power of creativity, resilience, and unwavering dedication. His direct path to success and his ability to adapt to challenges serve as inspiration for current and future college students. Chris's commitment to fostering connections, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking is a testament to the impact one individual can have on the world. As the President of the Alumni Association, he continues to be a guiding light for the Farmingdale State College community, and his hard work is deeply appreciated.