By John Custodio
Deborah F. Stanley has ended her 26 years as president of the State University of New York at Oswego and assumed the role of interim chancellor of the SUNY system after Jim Malatras’ resignation.
As a SUNY Oswego student, I’m extremely proud of Stanley and her accomplishments during her presidency and even before, allowing the college to thrive in difficult times and improving many aspects of the school.
Stanley, during her time as president, always seemed approachable, often sending emails about times students could stop by for a drop-in lunch and discuss whatever topics of concern they had.
Showing a connection to students and being accessible is an important characteristic of a college president, as there is often a divide between administration and students. Presidents especially may seem inaccessible and aloof to the problems of everyday students. Stanley’s dedication to connection cements her as an excellent leader.
Stanley also established numerous excellent programs for students and alumni. As a student who has constantly been on financial aid and loans, Stanley’s addition of the “Oswego guarantee,” which guarantees stable room, board and tuition, accessible courses and a $300 “return on investment” if a student graduates with a four-year degree in four years shows the college is dedicated to helping students.
While $300 isn’t a lot in the total cost of college, it does show that Stanley didn’t just want students for the money, unlike other public or private colleges. By giving students that little incentive, it shows that SUNY Oswego and Stanley don’t want to force students into extra semesters for their tuition money.
Under Stanley’s presidency, many academic and residence buildings like Rich Hall. Lakeside dining and residence halls were renovated, keeping SUNY Oswego updated and on the forefront of college technologies. As a prospective student, the quality of the residence areas and academic buildings was an important factor and SUNY Oswego, under Stanley, certainly impressed.
She was also greatly involved in campus life, from smaller club events to grand events like the annual ALANA peace walk. As previously discussed, engagement and a connection from administration to students, especially student organizations, is incredibly important. For a diverse campus like SUNY Oswego, Stanley’s dedication to inclusion through events like the ALANA peace walk and the painting of the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” across the roadway in front of Sheldon Hall in the summer of 2020 showed how important a diverse campus is to Stanley.
For an old town like Oswego, connections to the college are extremely important. Stanley recognized this and worked closely with the town to keep relations good. Stanley worked so hard the city of Oswego and Mayor Billy Barlow declared Oct. 1 “Deborah F. Stanley Day” in Oswego.
As a student living off campus, I understand how difficult it can be to have college students living next door to families and people who have lived in Oswego their entire lives. Stanley navigated the relationship between city and college excellently.
She was a fantastic president, communicating clearly and constantly with students and always being approachable. She recognized the importance of her position and her duty to help students succeed, establishing programs and starting renovations to help those in need.
Students, alumni, faculty and residents of Oswego all expressed gratitude and praised Stanley for an excellent presidency.
I cannot agree more. I am excited to see what she will accomplish in her role as interim president of the SUNY system.
Featured image: SUNY Oswego celebrated its continuing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion with a Dec. 9 ribbon-cutting to mark the official location of the recently established Institute for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformative Practice. Pictured at the ribbon-cutting are SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley (second from left) with staff from the Institute and members of the campus community.