President's Biography

President Butts w GraduateDr. Calvin O. Butts, III, is President of State University of New York at Old Westbury and Pastor of the nationally renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York.

As President of Old Westbury, Dr. Butts works continuously to create an invigorating atmosphere dedicated to academic excellence and the development of leadership qualities in students. Through its broad multidisciplinary liberal arts programs, the College confers nearly 70 degrees in majors leading to Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Professional Studies, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Master of Science degrees.

Since being named Old Westbury’s President in September 1999, Dr. Butts has reinvigorated among the most diverse public college campuses in America. He is determined to prepare Old Westbury students to succeed in the global marketplace while fostering in each leadership qualities that will prove valuable to both themselves and the communities in which they live.

In working to enable Old Westbury to achieve its fullest potential, Dr. Butts has guided the campus to its largest enrollment in 15 years, added full-time faculty, and expanded the services it provides to support and aid students. Under his leadership, the College earned accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and created its first-ever graduate programs, which now include degrees in Accounting, Adolescence Education, Childhood Special Education, Forensic Accounting, Liberal Studies, Literacy Education, Mental Health Counseling, and Taxation. Dr. Butts has also overseen the College’s investment of approximately $150 million in capital projects, including the introduction of cutting-edge technologies to campus and the completion of such facilities as five new residence halls, a Student Union, and a 147,000 square foot academic building that opened on campus in Fall 2012.

NAB Groundbreaking

A native of New York City, Dr. Butts earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He returned to New York and earned a Master of Divinity degree in Church History from the Union Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Church and Public Policy from Drew University. He has taught Urban Affairs and served as an Adjunct Professor in the African Studies Department at City College, New York. He has also taught Black Church History at Fordham University. Sought after internationally for his comments on social, educational, religious and ethical issues, Dr. Butts has conducted speaking engagements before a vast array of colleges and universities, business and professional organizations, religious congregations, and governmental agencies throughout his career.

Along with his Presidency at the College at Old Westbury, Dr. Butts continues as pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York — among the most historic churches in the nation. Under his leadership, Abyssinian Baptist Church is committed to playing an active role in the ongoing development of its New York City home.

Dr. Butts was also instrumental in establishing the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change – a public, state-of-the-art, intermediate and high school in Harlem, and he is the visionary behind the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, which opened in September 2005.

President with Robert Rubin

In addition to his presidential and pastoral responsibilities, Dr. Butts serves as Chairman of the Board of Abyssinian Development Corporation, and as a member of the leadership boards of The Long Island Association, New Visions for Public Schools, and the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education.

He is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, is chairman emeritus of the Board of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) and a founding member of the organization’s Board of Commissioners.

He has served previously as President of Africare NYC, an independent organization dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life in rural Africa. He has also served as a member of the board of the September 11th Fund. Dr. Butts has been presented with honorary degrees from Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the City University of New York/The City College of New York, New York City; Claflin College, Orangeburg, South Carolina; Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana; Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York; Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania; Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut; and Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama.

For his efforts and community activism, Dr. Butts has received innumerable honors and commendations, including the United Negro College Fund’s Shirley Chisholm Community Service Award; The Medal for Distinguished Service from Teachers College, Columbia University; Man of the Year, Morehouse College Alumni Association; The Morehouse College Candle Award; The William M. Moss Distinguished Brotherhood Award; and The Louise Fisher Morris Humanitarian Award. He has also been inducted as an Archon of the Beta Zeta Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Prince Hall Masons and has received the 33rd and final degree in Masonry. Further, he has been recognized as a Living Treasure by the New York City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In every effort, his leadership has had a pervasive impact on such wide-ranging community development initiatives as education, homelessness, senior citizen and youth empowerment, cultural awareness and ecumenical outreach.