March 5, 2014

SUNY Empire State College to Inaugurate Merodie A. Hancock as Fourth President

SUNY Chairman McCall, College Council Chairman Lytle to Present Hancock to SUNY Chancellor Zimpher at the Investiture – CEO and President of United Way Worldwide Brian Gallagher Delivers the Boyer Lecture

Dr. Merodie A. Hancock

Merodie A. Hancock will be inaugurated as the fourth president. Photo/Empire State College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 5, 2013) SUNY Empire State College will celebrate the inauguration of its fourth president, Merodie A. Hancock, Ph.D., with special events during March. The formal investiture and installation of the president takes place from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, at The Saratoga Hilton ballroom, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The theme of the inaugural celebration is “re-emergence,” which highlights Hancock’s career of advocacy for the re-emergence of nontraditional students. Further, the inauguration events are part of the re-emergence of the college as the exemplar of open, public and innovative education.

SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, Empire State College Council Chairman James Lytle, campus presidents and other distinguished guests, all in full regalia, will accompany Hancock in the academic procession from Saratoga Springs City Hall to The Saratoga Hilton for the investiture ceremony.

Preceding the ceremony, Brian Gallagher, CEO and president of United Way Worldwide, will deliver the annual Boyer lecture, an academic highlight of the college calendar. Gallagher’s lecture, “Transformational Leadership: Succeeding in a Complex World,” addresses many of the challenges currently facing the college, SUNY and higher education nationally.

The inauguration events begin with three open, online discussions, “Three Voices That Shape Our Vision: An Inauguration Celebration Webinar Series.”

Members of the college community, colleagues outside of the college and the general public are welcome and encouraged to join in these conversations. Participation in the webinars is free, they are offered in Blackboard Collaborate and registration is not required.

Each webinar will focus on a quote chosen by Hancock because of its relevance to the theme of re-emergence and will be presented by a distinguished scholar or practitioner in the field of higher education:

  • Saleem Badat, vice chancellor Rhodes University, South Africa, will discuss the quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela, from 10-11 a.m., on Thursday, March 6
  • James W. Hall, founding president, Empire State College, will discuss the quote, “Education is a seamless web: one level of learning relates to every other,” Ernest Boyer Sr., from 2-3 p.m., on Thursday, March 13
  • Elizabeth Minnich, senior scholar, Association of American Colleges and Universities, will discuss the quote, “All men by nature desire to know,” Aristotle, from 10-11 a.m., on Thursday, March 20.

“Empire State College today stands at a historic crossroad,” said Hancock. “Rapidly increasing numbers of nontraditional students and their employers are demanding more innovative and efficient ways to learn and complete a degree. Empire State College, with our tremendous faculty, staff and alumni is uniquely prepared to address this challenge.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us expand our tradition of innovation; relevant, high-quality programs, while leveraging Chancellor Zimpher's vision for Open SUNY. By engaging and collaborating with like-minded organizations, we can challenge assumptions, create innovative learning opportunities and find new ways to engage students and assess learning. At the same time, we need to advocate for appropriate funding, regulation and opportunities to support the hundreds of thousands of under-educated New Yorkers who want to further their education. By building on the foundations of what makes an Empire State College education so valuable, we can meet the challenges of today and tomorrow so that our students and the economy continue to thrive.”

The investiture, installation and Boyer lecture take place in conjunction with the college’s annual All College Conference. In addition to the The Ernest L. Boyer Sr. Family Lecture Series, academic highlights of the conference include the annual Susan H. Turben Excellence in Scholarship Faculty Lecture.

Central New York Center Faculty Mentor Julie Gedro, associate professor of Business, Management and Economics, will deliver the Turben lecture this year, "Adult Learning and Responsiveness to Life Contexts, Challenges and Crossroads: Gender and Sexual Orientation Intersectionality as Opportunity."

The conference combines the College Assembly, a meeting of the college Senate and its committees, academic areas of study discussion, professional development opportunities, and the presentation of the annual service and Empire State College Foundation awards.

About Academic Inaugurations

According to “Etiquette and Protocol: A Guide for Campus Events,” Case Books, 1999, by April L. Harris, “inauguration” refers to a set or series of events to mark the celebration of the installation of a new president. “Installation,” is the moment where the new president formally receives the presidential medallion, the official article of office. “Investiture,” is the ceremony where the installation takes place.

Worn by the president on official and ceremonial occasions, the medallion is a replica of the official seal of the college.

About SUNY Empire State College

Established in 1971 as the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system by the Board of Trustees at the urging of then-chancellor and future U.S. Commissioner of Education Ernest L. Boyer Sr., Empire State College educates nontraditional students at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work individually or in groups, onsite; online; or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at nine international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York and online. Its 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available at: