Speeches & Statements

Campus and National Speeches

Calvin Butts on Public Education

Smithsonian African American Museum Groundbreaking

Teachers College 2014 Medal for Distinguished Service

Interviews that Matter April 2014

2015-16 Statements to the Campus

I Love My Park Day

April 20, 2016

To the Campus Community:

New York State's "I Love My Park Day 2016" will be held on Saturday, May 7, presenting an excellent opportunity for each member of our campus community to reconnect with the NYS Parks closest to each of us.

"I Love My Park Day" is an exciting statewide event. Organized by Parks & Trails New York in partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and local grassroots groups, the day is meant to celebrate and enhance New York's state parks and historic sites and bring visibility to the entire park system and its needs. During the event, volunteers from across the state will celebrate New York's park system by cleaning up park lands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species, and working on various construction and site improvement projects.

The event offers a wonderful opportunity for all on our campus to show their support for the nation's oldest state park system.  With your help and support, SUNY Old Westbury can play an important role in making this annual event a great success.  To find a park and project close to you, visit the link below:


Thank you.

Political Activity on Campus

April 18, 2016

 As this electoral season moves on, it is appropriate to review some of the rules that apply to us as a State agency.

The University, the College and I fully support free speech on campus subject to the regulations that apply to us.  Those regulations are extensive, somewhat complex and depend to a great extent on who is sponsoring the event.  Some things however are eminently clear.

Voter registration is permitted on campus but cannot be accompanied by partisan activity.

Students and student clubs can engage in partisan activity but cannot represent that the College favors or opposes any position or candidate.  Approval of the event by Student Affairs and the Permit Committee is required.

Neither faculty nor staff acting in their official capacity can engage in partisan activity but can invite speakers to engage in educational discussions subject to College rules and approval by the Permit Committee provided others are given equal opportunity.

Parties external to the College can seek to speak on campus upon application to and approval by the Permit Committee.

Approval by Student Affairs and/or the Permit Committee is for the purpose of ensuring compliance with these and all other requirements.

Calvin O. Butts, III

You're Invited: The SUNY Old Westbury 50th Anniversary Gala

April 13, 2016

To the College's Faculty and Staff.
Since February 12, 2015, all on our campus have participated in, planned and attended some of the wide array of events and activities held as part of the College's 50th anniversary program -- A Celebration of Educational Leadership and Empowerment.
Now, as we near the close of the anniversary celebration, I am pleased to invite all faculty and staff to the 50th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, New York. A printed invitation will be delivered to your homes in the coming days.
In an atmosphere with live music, dancing, and great food, I hope we can come together to celebrate all that our College has achieved across the years, and all that we can still achieve.  On that evening, the College and Foundation will recognize "50 Alumni for 50 Years" -- a group of women and men who have excelled in their lives, careers and communities using their Old Westbury education as the foundation of their success. Please visit www.oldwestbury.edu/50-for-50 to see the list of those being recognized.
All proceeds after expenses for this event will be placed in the Foundation's general scholarship fund and will be made available to students, starting next year, to aid in their ability to afford their educations.
I am also pleased to announce that tickets for members of the College's faculty and staff are being offered at  the reduced rate of $100 per person thanks to the generosity of the College's Auxiliary Service Corporation, which has agreed to make up the remainder of the per person cost for those faculty and staff who attend to ensure we raise as much scholarship money as possible.  My thanks to the board of the ASC for agreeing to this arrangement.
In fact, I must thank all who have participated in our more than year-long anniversary celebration.  From the members of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee to the Faculty Senate, to faculty members who created programming and those who participated in it, and to the students who have attended and asked questions throughout, I say "Thank You."

I hope to see you all at the Gala on May 10.

2016 Commencement Speaker Announced

April 5, 2016

I am proud to announce the speaker for the 2016 Commencement Ceremonies:  Mr. Michael J. Dowling, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwell Health, among the nation’s 10 largest health systems.

As we prepare to hold the 50th Commencement in the College’s history, I am pleased and excited to have the leader of a team of 54,000 employees that is focused each day on securing the health and well-being of those who live and work in our community and communities across our state.

As the leader of the largest integrated healthcare system in New York State, Mr. Dowling guides Northwell as it seeks to deliver world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area; pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research; a visionary approach to medical education, highlighted by the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine; and healthcare coverage to individuals, families and businesses through the CareConnect Insurance Co., Inc.

Prior to becoming president and CEO in 2002, Mr. Dowling was the health system’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.  Before joining Northwell Health in 1995, he was a senior vice president at Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.   Mr. Dowling also served in New York State government for 12 years, including seven years as state director of Health, Education and Human Services and deputy secretary to the governor. He was also commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services. Before his public service career, Mr. Dowling was a professor of social policy and assistant dean at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services, and director of the Fordham campus in Westchester County.

Mr. Dowling has been honored with many awards over the years. They include: the 2012 B’nai B’rith National Healthcare Award, the 2011 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award from the National Center for Healthcare Leadership, the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the State University of New York’s Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and an Outstanding Public Service Award from both the Mental Health Association of New York State and the Mental Health Association of Nassau County.

Mr. Dowling is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, serves as a board member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and as a board member and Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. He is also past chairman and current board member of the National Center for Healthcare Leadership, the Greater New York Hospital Association, the Healthcare Association of New York State and the League of Voluntary Hospitals of New York.

Having grown up in Limerick, Ireland, Mr. Dowling earned his undergraduate degree from University College Cork, Ireland, and his master’s degree from Fordham University.

I look forward to welcoming Mr. Dowling to campus as we celebrate the successes of the Class of 2016.

Calvin O. Butts, III

President expresses condolences

March 28, 2016

Good morning to all,

I am deeply saddened to report to you this morning of the tragic loss of one of our students. Harry Wasserman, a first year student living in our Tubman Hall, passed away late last night of natural causes.  Mr. Wasserrman had been a visible, active member of the campus community since coming to Old Westbury. He will be greatly missed.

On behalf of the entire SUNY Old Westbury community, I want to express our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Wasserman's family and friends. I know that each one of us will find a personal moment to remember Mr. Wasserman and to keep those closest to him foremost in our thoughts in the days ahead.

Counselors and staff of the Office of Counseling and Psychological Wellness are available to any member of our campus community who might need support during this sad time.

Calvin O. Butts, III

A Message From the College President

March 24, 2016

Good evening,

Today an event on campus occurred that may lead some to question the College's commitment to the rights afforded under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for those who attend and work at SUNY Old Westbury.

As an institution of higher education, SUNY Old Westbury respects and supports the right to free speech. Designated public space is provided on our campus to those who follow the appropriate Use of Facilities policy and procedure, which is available on the College website.

Discussions involving this event are ongoing and have my full attention.

Thank you.

Calvin O. Butts, III

Chief Diversity Officer Appointment

January 25, 2016

I am happy to announce the appointment of Dr. Wayne Edwards as SUNY Old Westbury's Chief Diversity Officer.  While assuming these duties, Dr. Edwards remains in his current role as Vice President for Student Affairs.

As Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Edwards will work collaboratively with offices across campus to elevate inclusiveness and implement best practices related to diversity, equity and inclusion in such areas as the recruitment and retention of students and senior administrators, faculty and staff hires.  Additionally, Dr. Edwards will serve as part of a system-wide network of CDOs in support of SUNY’s overall diversity goals.

Given SUNY’s commitment to ensure that the student population the University serves and the administrative staff and faculty it employs are representative of the diversity of our state, it is my expectation that all within our campus community will work with Dr. Edwards to promote diversity and build an inclusive campus climate for all members and partners of SUNY Old Westbury.

Tobacco Use Policy

January 14, 2016

To all members of the College Community,

In support of the State University of New York Chancellor's and the Board of Trustees' ongoing commitment to a Tobacco-Free SUNY, effective January 24, 2016, SUNY Old Westbury is implementing a Tobacco Use Policy that recognizes the College's commitment to providing a safe, healthy, comfortable environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Given the unique size and layout of our campus, we are working toward a completely free tobacco environment in phases. Moving forward, tobacco use on-campus is prohibited both indoors and outdoors, except for in marked designated areas. I invite you to visit our tobacco-free website at https://www.oldwestbury.edu/tobaccofree for detailed information about this new policy.

The College will make every reasonable effort to assist those who wish to stop using tobacco products by providing evidence-based cessation resources. Please visit or contact the Student Health Center for more information.

We will continually assess the impact of this first phase on the campus environment as we keep an eye on becoming a tobacco-free campus.

I appreciate the support of the entire campus community in making this policy successful.


Calvin O. Butts, III

Housing Policy Revised Temporarily for New Students

December 18, 2015

To the Campus Community,

I write today to report that I have agreed to a temporary change in the College’s housing policy for new First Time to College and Transfer students.  Students who entered the College in Fall 2015 and live in on-campus housing, but fall short of a 2.0 grade point average in their first semester, will be allowed to return to campus housing for the Spring 2016 semester.

Our current policy states, "Any student who falls below the required 2.0 GPA at the end of any given semester will not be eligible to reside in campus housing for the following semester including interim Winter Session and Summer Sessions."

I have made this decision to temporarily amend College policy as it relates to new students to accommodate a pilot program that will be run in the Spring 2016 semester as a collaboration between the Division of Academic Affairs and the Division of Student Affairs.  This program will make available to those students individualized tutoring, advising and other services that I hope will assist them in improving their academic performance.

If the results of this pilot program are satisfactory, I will consider a permanent change to this particular provision of our Residence Hall policies.  Otherwise, the 2.0 requirement for housing for new students would again be enforced in the Fall 2016 semester and beyond.

I believe that residing on campus while pursuing one’s studies is the best way to achieve success for students and wish that all of our students would choose to live in our campus residence halls.  By taking this action, I hope that we as a campus can aid those newest to our community in making the most of all the opportunities SUNY Old Westbury has to offer.


Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY Old Westbury

Chief of University Police Appointment

November 25, 2015

Dear Old Westbury Community,

With the impending retirement of Mike Yanniello, Chief of University Police, at the end of this year, the College conducted a full scale search for a successor.

I am pleased to advise that I’ve accepted the unanimous recommendation of the search committee and will be appointing Deputy Chief Steve Siena to the position of Chief of University Police effective beginning of business, January 1, 2016. Deputy Chief Siena joined us in January 2013 and has served admirably since then. I am confident he will serve the College well as our next Chief of University Police.

Please extend your congratulations to Chief Siena as you see him on campus in the new year.

Thank you.

Veteran's Day

November 11, 2015

Author Cynthia Ozick once said: “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

While her sentiment is often true, my hope is that we each today will be sure to prove Ms. Ozick wrong as we mark Veteran’s Day 2015.  There are many men and women within our campus community, in our own families, and among our friends and neighbors who have given of themselves in service to our nation’s military, some perhaps having given their lives.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the politics and spirit related to any particular military policy or action, my hope is that we can all agree that the courage and bravery of those who choose to serve is something that deserves and demands our respect.
For those who have served, I offer my thanks.

I ask all others on campus to take a moment today to stop and think about all that those in the military have done, and continue to do, in protecting the rights and privileges we as Americans hold so dear.  If you know of, or meet today, a veteran, please be sure to stop them and thank them for their contribution.

In honor of those who have served or continue to serve, the College today is asking students, faculty and staff to author notes of thanks to our servicemen and servicewomen during a tabling event in the Campus Center F-Wing beginning at 2:30 p.m.  Once complete, the notes will be hung in the Order of Military Veterans Lounge, located in Campus Center Room H-206.

Also, those veterans who have registered their status with the Office of the Registrar are encouraged to stop by during the F-Wing event to receive a token of thanks from the College. If you have not let us know that you are a retired or inactive member of the military and would like to be included in future programs organized for veterans, please contact the College’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator, Ms. Hoi Yan (Shirley) Chan at chanh@oldwestbury.edu.

Thank you.

Remembering Umpqua Community College Tragedy

October 8, 2015

To the Campus Community,

Our nation received another shocking reminder last week of how precious our daily lives are with the tragic shooting that occurred at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.  To honor those lost last week and those still struggling  in the aftermath of that event, the American Association of Community Colleges has called for a National Moment of Silence to be held today, October 8, 2015, at 2 p.m. on college campuses across the country.

I, along with SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, am asking for all on campus to consider participating this afternoon by taking a moment of silence in respect for those affected. Additionally, those active on social media can express their support using the hashtag #IamUCC.

In our participation, we will be joining with others across SUNY and the nation in remembering this tragedy and showing our colleagues and the community around Umpqua Community College that they are in our thoughts.

Thank you.


9/11 Anniversary

September 11, 2015

To the Campus Community,

I find it hard to believe that 14 years have passed since the tragic events of 9/11 unfolded less than 30 miles from the campus of SUNY Old Westbury. To put the passage of time in perspective, it means that most of the first-year students who joined our campus family this fall had not yet reached kindergarten on that fateful day.

As I reflect on the events of 9/11, what I remember most was the singularity of commitment and passion that grew out of those first days and weeks after the towers fell.  We shared a focus on making sure that our families, friends, neighbors and even strangers were comforted, cared for, and safe.  Of course, there was paranoia in some corners and unfair treatment of too many men and women of Middle Eastern heritage.  Most pervasive, though, was that we were acting like, and needed to view ourselves as, "Americans un-hyphenated” – which was the description I used in an interview at the time.  Too often in the 14 years since, we as a society have hidden behind walls – some longstanding ones that exist systemically in our country and some newer ones constructed during times of economic difficulty.  The unity of purpose, of shared humanity, that swelled in our hearts and minds in the aftermath of 9/11 often gets forgotten as we react to current events and ideas.

In preparing students with the skills, knowledge and passion to own the future they want for themselves, SUNY Old Westbury, its faculty and staff, work daily through their actions and deeds with that shared purpose in mind, knowing that all in America should have the ability and right to the best our nation can offer.  On this anniversary, I hope each in our community will re-dedicate themselves to this cause, as it is captured in our Mission Statement, “to stimulate a passion for learning and a commitment to building a more just and sustainable world.”

Looking back, I want us to remember those who were lost on 9/11, including those men and women who simply went to work downtown that day and the first responders who bravely gave their lives trying to save the lives of others. Among the lost were graduates of our College.  During your day today, please remember those alumni who perished: 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 I know we will each in our own way observe this anniversary, we as a campus also can come together in honor of those lost on 9/11. The College’s annual “Walk to Remember 9/11” begins at 5:30 p.m. today outside of the Clark Center. If you have the opportunity to participate, please do so.

We at Old Westbury know very well that our world is made up of people just like ourselves. We may look different, hold different beliefs, and speak different languages, but we are one in our humanity.  We must continue our collective and individual efforts to ensure that all those around us are mindful of that important truth.  It is perhaps the best way we can honor those who perished 14 years ago today.


2014-15 Statements to the Campus

A Year-End Message from President Butts

May 13, 2015

To the members of the SUNY Old Westbury community,

As we bring this academic year to a close, I wanted to ensure that we all take time to celebrate the achievements of our faculty, staff and students. More importantly, I want to thank all who are involved with SUNY Old Westbury for making 2014-15 an exciting and successful year.

I am proud of the students who attend Old Westbury. Our students this year excelled in and out of the classroom. Old Westbury students shined at the Model United Nations, were honored at CSTEP and other professional conferences, and earned Gilman and Chancellor’s Awards. Our student-athletes excelled also, with the most recent evidence being the conference championship and NCAA bid earned by the Men’s Baseball Team.

I am also so very proud of the faculty of SUNY Old Westbury. Their teaching, scholarship and service continue to enhance the reputation of our College. Whether in the classroom or through research and scholarship, our faculty members, both full-time and part-time, continue to go above and beyond in helping our students prepare to own the future they want for themselves.

So, too, am I proud of the members of our staff. Outside the classroom, we saw the implementation of many new co-curricular programs and administrative initiatives designed to create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive campus.

We can all be proud of the ongoing development of our facilities, including this year the completion of the first phase of renovations to the Campus Library. In the years to come, our goal is to improve and expand the Natural Science Building and to make improvements to learning and gathering places in the Campus Center.

My pride also extends to our alumni, who will grow to more than 25,000 strong this Sunday when we celebrate the Class of 2015. I meet them all the time – doctors, lawyers, community activists, entrepreneurs and more. Our graduates are working to make their lives and our world a better place and every single one that I meet tells me of their love of Old Westbury.

As we look back on all we have accomplished in 2014-15, I want to congratulate everyone on this campus for the part they have played in creating a culture of success for our students, faculty, staff and the communities we serve. This spring, we began the commemoration of SUNY Old Westbury’s 50th Anniversary – “A Celebration of Educational Leadership and Empowerment.” I look forward to continuing that celebration in the fall with more exciting, informative, and thought-provoking events.

I am concluding my 15th year as College President and I have never been more proud to be associated with this institution. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in 2015-16.


2015 Commencement Speakers

May 5, 2015

I am proud to announce this morning that SUNY Old Westbury will bring two national leaders to campus on Sunday, May 17, to provide addresses during the College's Commencement Ceremonies.

At 9 a.m., U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will address those students graduating with degrees offered by the departments housed in the School of Arts and Sciences. With her commitment to transparency in government and staunch advocacy for the rights of women, Senator Gillibrand offers an important perspective on the power needed to make change in our communities and nation. Her work led TIME Magazine to name her as one of 2014’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and the Daily News to place her number four on its list of “50 Most Powerful Women in New York.” The Senator has also been recognized as one of Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s “150 Women Who Shake the World.”

At 3 p.m., Dr. Rudolph Crew, currently president of Medgar Evers College and former Chancellor of New York City Public Schools, among others, will address the graduates from the School of Education and School of Business. Like our College itself, Dr. Crew has committed his career to improving academic performance among students, in particular those from diverse backgrounds. His work has been honored with such awards as the NAACP Educational Leadership Award, the Arthur Ashe Leadership Award, and American Association of School Administrators' National Superintendent of the Year.

Each in his or her own way exemplify key elements of our College's mission, particularly the importance of stimulating in people a passion for learning and the ongoing need to build a more just world for all to share.

I look forward to welcoming both Senator Gillibrand and President Crew to campus as we together celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2015.


Sexual Violence Victim/Survivor Bill of Rights

January 29, 2015

To all members of the College Community,

The State University of New York and the College at Old Westbury are committed to providing options, support and assistance to victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking to ensure that they can continue to participate in College/University-wide and campus programs, activities, and employment. All victims/survivors of these crimes and violations, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction, have the following rights, regardless of whether the crime or violation occurs on campus, off campus, or while studying abroad:

The right to:

  • Have disclosures of sexual violence treated seriously.
  • Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or incident and participate in the conduct or criminal justice process free from outside pressures from college officials.
  • Be treated with dignity and to receive from college officials courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services.
  • Be free from any suggestion that the victim/survivor is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such a crime.
  • Describe the incident to as few individuals as practicable and not to be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident.
  • Be free from retaliation by the College, the accused, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances.
  • Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or conduct process of the College.


Victims/survivors have many options that can be pursued simultaneously, including one or more of the following:

  • Receive resources, such as counseling and medical attention;
  • Confidentially or anonymously disclose a crime or violation (for detailed information on confidentiality and privacy, visit  http://www.oldwestbury.edu/policies/options-confidentially-disclosing-sexual-violence);
  • Make a report to:
    • An employee with the authority to address complaints, including the Title IX Coordinator, a Student Conduct employee, or a Human Resources employee;
    • University Police;
    • Local law enforcement; and/or
    • Family Court or Civil Court.

A comprehensive list of reporting and support resources available to all members of our campus community

In addition to this Bill of Rights, all members of our campus community are urged to review the College’s Sexual Violence Response Policy and the Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence

All on campus play an essential role in creating a safe, responsive atmosphere where we together live, learn and work. Please contact either Title IX Coordinator William Kimmins or Vice President for Student Affairs Wayne Edwards should you have any questions about this information or about how you can support our College in this effort.

Thank you.

Celebrating the College's 50th Anniversary

December 17, 2014

To the Campus Community,

As all on our campus look forward to closing the fall 2014 season and celebrating with friends and families, I wanted to ask that we also set our sights further ahead.

The resolution that began the life of SUNY College at Old Westbury as an institution of higher education was passed by the SUNY Board of Trustees in June 1965. As 2015 comes into view, I look forward to celebrating all that this College has accomplished in its first 50 years, including specifically the values for which it stands, and the people – students, alumni, friends, faculty and staff alike – who have helped Old Westbury succeed.

To that end, I have asked a group from our campus to serve as the 50th Anniversary Committee to steer our efforts and to plan a variety of events and activities to mark this special point in our campus’ history. A full listing of the committee membership appears at the bottom of this email. The committee will work towards creating both on-campus and off-campus events that raise the profile of our institution, provide for fund-raising opportunities, and educate our students, alumni, friends and supporters of the ongoing impact of our College. Other members of our campus community will be approached to work on subcommittees and special events. And, as always, volunteers are welcome.

I also want to ensure that all on campus have the opportunity to participate, and that begins with offering ideas and insights into the types of activities that we might use as part of the celebration. Please use the online form available at http://www.oldwestbury.edu/50th-anniversary/suggestions to provide your input. This information will be sent directly to the committee’s co-chairs for use in planning and development.

Best wishes to all this holiday season.

Campus 50th Anniversary Committee

  • Mr. Michael Kinane, Asst. to the President for Advancement (co-chair)
  • Dr. Zenaida Madurka, Associate Professor, Modern Languages Department (co-chair)
  • Dr. Laura Anker, Distinguished Service Professor, American Studies Department
  • Ms. Carolyn Bennett, Director, Community Relations
  • Ms. Rita Buttermilch. Director of Graduate Business Programs
  • Ms. Penny Chin, Director, Alumni Affairs
  • Dr. Thomas Delgiudice, Professor,Politics, Economics & Law Department
  • Dr. Wayne Edwards, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Mr. Richard Golder, Student, Criminology
  • Ms. Janine Grey, Student, Computer Information Sciences
  • Ms. Randi Harris, Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Business & Finance
  • Dr. Robert Hoyte, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Chemistry & Physics
  • Dr. Judith Lloyd, Professor, School of Education and Chemistry & Physics Department
  • Mr. Ray Maggiore, Director, Capital Planning
  • Ms. Susan McCotter, Maintenance & Facilities Department
  • Mr. Tim McGarry, Director of Facilities
  • Ms. Diane McLean, Manager, Office of Payroll
  • Ms. Suzanne McLoughlin, Director, Center for Student Leadership and Involvement
  • Mr. Frank Pizzardi, Director, Admissions
  • Ms. Samantha Quinn, Health Educator, Student Health Services
  • Ms. Mona Rankin, Chief of Staff
  • Ms. Regina Rudowski, Sociology Department
  • Mr. Usama Shaikh, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Mr. Steve Siena, Deputy Chief, University Police
  • Mr. Peter Sicardi, Student, Biological Sciences


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.