Speeches & Statements

Campus and National Speeches

President's Fall Convocation August 2013

Smithsonian African American Museum Groundbreaking

Teachers College 2014 Medal for Distinguished Service

Interviews that Matter April 2014


2014-15 Statements to the Campus

Ensuring a Supportive Community

October 24, 2014

To the Old Westbury Community:

Across our state and nation, more and more reports are surfacing concerning real and unsubstantiated threats being made against institutions of higher education or the people who study and work there.

In this context, it seems prudent to remind all on campus of the risks and penalties of making threats, along with other disparaging and offensive remarks, through any form of interpersonal communication or social media application.

State and Federal Law, along with our own Code for Student Conduct, are applied as appropriate when the College learns of such communication. Please know that the College will use all available resources, including external law enforcement agencies, to identify those involved if necessary.

There is no one incident on our campus or elsewhere that has led me to share this email with you today. Instead, it’s the accumulation of events reported recently in the news that makes me want to affirm our College’s position.

In an age of global interaction, both in person and online, more and more opportunities exist for us to relate with people from all walks of life, those who we know well and those who we know not at all. As a community dedicated to learning and development, we must act, individually and collectively, and together we can continue to create a safe, social, supportive environment for all who study and work here. I look forward to continuing to do that with all of your help. Thank you.

It's On Us

September 29, 2014

To the Old Westbury Community,

U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden recently announced "It's On Us," a national public awareness and education campaign to engage college students and all members of campus communities in preventing sexual assault.

Sexual assault and violence cannot be tolerated, whether on our campus or in any other avenue in our lives. As a community dedicated to learning and development, we must act, individually and collectively, to do all that we can to educate people young and old and to prevent these kinds of acts from occurring.

According to the White House, the “It’s On Us” campaign aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it. The campaign reflects the belief that sexual assault isn’t only an issue involving a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but one in which the rest of us also have a role to play.

I urge all members of our campus community to participate. Your first step can be to announce, publicly, that "It's On Us." There are several ways members of our community can participate:

  • Change your Facebook profile photo to the "It's On Us" logo, which can be downloaded via the ""It's On Us" website at http://itsonus.org.
  • Post a short Vine or YouTube video to your social media accounts. Make sure to use the hash tags #OWsupports #ItsOnUs.
  • Simply sign the pledge that is available at http://itsonus.org.

I've signed the pledge and followers of the college's social media accounts will see my video in the coming days. I also urge all on campus today to attend RAINN Day and raise your voice against instances of abuse and sexual violence. Held in collaboration with the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, this annual event allows students to share information, increase their awareness, and see through a display of 452 umbrellas and raindrops just how many members of our campus might be affected by these issues. RAINN Day takes place today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Campus Center F Wing and outside the New Academic Building and offers a great setting against which to make our individual and campus positions against abuse and violence known.

Whether you choose one of the actions above, or take part in each way, please be sure to take an active role in committing to the important work of the “It’s On Us” campaign. Of course, being part of a public movement is important. More critical, though, is that we remember to take action when we see or hear of acts, words and incidents of sexual assault, harassment or any other event where one person belittles or discriminates against another.

Issues of sexual abuse, domestic violence and more are all around us. More than 10 percent of students on campus have participated in the recently completed Climate Survey on Sexual Assault, another effort being made by Old Westbury to understand issues such as this that affect our students. Results of that survey are being tabulated and will be released shortly. All of these activities are done because we are committed to providing a safe, healthy, and non-discriminatory environment for each and every person who studies, lives and works on our campus.

Only through this kind of awareness and action can we be sure to decrease, and hopefully eliminate, these kinds of damaging activities. Thank You.

9/11 Anniversary

September 11, 2014

To the Old Westbury Community, Today marks the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a campus community, we should take time to remember the terrible events of that day and the thousands of lives that were senselessly lost. Those who lost loved ones, especially those members of the Old Westbury community who were and remain affected, should be at the forefront of our thoughts today.

Particularly, we remember the graduates who perished that day: James J. Carson, Class of 1993, of Baldwin, New York, Dennis Michael Edwards, Class of 1988, of Huntington, New York, Wade Brian Green, Class of 1984, of Westbury, New York, Joseph Maloney, Class of 1980, of Farmingville, New York, and Anthony Perez, Class of 2000, of Locust Valley, New York.

While time continues to pass and new edifices rise to replace those no longer standing, the events of 9/11remain vivid in our memories and serve as an ongoing reminder not only of the losses we suffered but of how we came together, as neighbors, citizens, friends and family, in the aftermath of tragedy. Although sometimes forgotten and strained, the strength from our shared humanity that was forged in those days remains our greatest asset.

As we mark this anniversary, we should also remember to thank the first responders and those serving in the armed forces for their efforts to protect and serve our nation.

While I know we will each in our own ways observe this anniversary, we as a campus also have opportunities to come together in honor of those lost on 9/11. The college’s annual “Walk to Remember 9/11” begins at 5 p.m. outside the Clark Center and, before tip-off of tonight’s women’s volleyball game, a tribute to our lost alumni will take place. If you have the opportunity to participate in these events, please do so.

Old Westbury is a place that has rightfully been celebrated for years for bringing people of all races, creeds, and socioeconomic backgrounds together. We must remember that our world is made up of people like ourselves. We may look different, hold different beliefs, and speak different languages, but we are one in our humanity.

Honoring the memories of those lost on 9/11 is one way we can all be mindful of that important truth.

Thank you.

College at Old Westbury Administration

August 27, 2014

As we launch the 2014 – 2015 academic year, I am pleased to begin my 15th year as President of the College at Old Westbury. In so many ways my tenure here has been rewarding. The College has experienced enrollment growth and maintained our diversity while imposing higher selectivity; the faculty has grown in numbers and accomplishments; academic programs have been enriched and expanded and the campus has experienced many capital improvements. These accomplishments are attributable to all who work here and continue to dedicate your services to our community.

I have given much thought to the administrative areas of the College and how we might better operate. I have looked closely at functions and personnel. In doing so, I am pleased to share with you that effective August 28, 2014, the following will be in place:

  • The Division of Enrollment Services under the continued leadership of Vice President Mary Marquez Bell will become a direct report to the Division of Academic Affairs.
  • Computing Services and Capital Planning will become a direct report to the Division of Business and Finance.
  • Ms. Mona Rankin will serve as Chief of Staff.
  • Dr. Patrick O’Sullivan will serve as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs.
  • Mr. Len Davis will serve as Senior Vice President of Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer.
  • Mr. Usama Shaikh will serve as Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.
  • Mr. Frank Pizzardi will serve as Director of Admissions.
  • Ms. Sarah Taiclet will serves as Associate Director of Admissions.
  • Ms. Becky Evans will serve as Assistant Director of Admissions.

I applaud and graciously thank those mentioned above along with the entire faculty and staff for your continued commitment to the College at Old Westbury. I look forward to working with you this 2014 – 2015 academic year.

 

An archive of messages from the 2013-14 academic year is also available.