Pointing Our Ship

A message from Amy Kremenek, SUNYCUAD Board President

For more than 50 years, SUNYCUAD has served the needs of its members – the advancement professionals of SUNY – in a multitude of ways. From its early days as the PR Council and then its evolution to incorporate the wide range of advancement professions, SUNYCUAD has provided professional development, networking opportunities, and recognition for excellence.  The organization has advanced and advocated for a strong sense of responsibility for our students, campuses, colleagues and system, and has provided a professional camaraderie among all who achieve successes and face similar challenges in the execution of our profession.

There is no doubt that the advancement profession in higher education and at SUNY has evolved, as has SUNYCUAD. For a glimpse of the history, I encourage you to read “50 Years of SUNYCUAD,” written by the late Harry Charleton (the benefactor and namesake of the Charleton Scholars program) upon the occasion of SUNYCUAD’s golden anniversary. As we continue to steward this proud history and mission in a rapidly changing environment, a strategic visioning initiative has been charged by the SUNYCUAD Board of Directors to examine SUNYCUAD from a high-level vantage point to affirm its mission, examine its current focus, and recommend strategies for implementation to guide the organization over the next five years.

The initiative is led by Dr. Bruce Ryan, Dean of External Relations at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Dr. Ryan is a longtime SUNYCUAD advocate, member of the SUNYCUAD Hall of Fame, winner of several Awards for Excellence, and former board member.  Joining him are other award-winning SUNYCUAD veterans:  Cynthia Cooper, Assistant to the President for College and Government Relations at Monroe Community College and former SUNYCUAD president; Cory Jacobs, Senior Major Gifts Officer at Binghamton University and distinguished SUNYCUAD board member;  Loretta Lawrence Keane, Vice President for Advancement and External Relations at the Fashion Institute of Technology and former SUNYCUAD president; and Gary Stewart, Director of Community Relations at Cornell University and recently inducted board member.

The charges of this initiative are to examine and clarify the purpose of SUNYCUAD; ensure educational programming that is robust and relevant in a changing environment; identify strategic partners to help advance the mission; define mutually beneficial relationships with SUNY and affinity groups closely connected to the professions represented by SUNYCUAD; and build upon the recent changes in board structure and conference organization. The group has been meeting since fall with final presentation on findings and recommendations occurring this spring.  Any changes requiring vote by the membership will occur at the annual educational conference in June.

The responsibility of a proud legacy like that of SUNYCUAD is profound. We follow in the footsteps of more than five decades of board presidents, board members, and members of the organization who represented our campuses. Collectively, we are grateful to the five distinguished members of SUNYCUAD who have stepped forward to ensure that our “ship” is pointed in the right direction, so that 50 years from now, when SUNY advancement professionals to come look back on our time, that they will also recognize the careful stewardship and seriousness of purpose that has been ever-present and a hallmark of the SUNY Council on University Advancement.