Realizing the ‘Promise’ of SUNY Old Westbury 

President Sams on stage in the Maguire Theater being interviewed by CNN's Eva McKend

CNN’s Eva McKend takes part as College reaches out to local community  

Introducing SUNY Old Westbury President Timothy E. Sams and re-introducing the campus itself to leaders from across the metropolitan New York area was the focus of “SUNY Old Westbury’s Promise for Tomorrow,” held November 16, 2022 on campus. 

President Sams with CNN's Eva McKend
President Timothy Sams (left) with CNN National Political Reporter Eva McKend during a pre-interview reception in the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery on campus.

The highlight of the event was a visit to campus by CNN National Politics Reporter Eva McKend, who interviewed President Sams on his goals for the campus, the strengths of the institution, and role the local community can play in the success of the campus and its students. In all, about 200 guests were present representing a range of fields, including scientific research, governmental leadership, and K-12 education. 

“Because of the pandemic, I became president without ever visiting campus and the community,” said President Sams. “I am grateful that so many people took the time now to participate and to hear about the strengths of our college, its students and faculty and to learn more about the contribution we already make -- and the many more we expect to make – to the communities we serve.” 

Sams took the helm at SUNY Old Westbury in January 2021, with the campus and region still managing through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He came to the College after three decades of a career that demonstrated leadership in improving student success, particularly for students from disadvantaged and marginalized communities.  

From the Maguire Center stage, McKend’s interview focused on what Sams learned from his experiences and how they translate to his leadership of the most diverse campus in the State University of New York system. Topics ranged from the College’s success in preparing STEM graduates, particularly from underrepresented communities, for the Long Island workforce to the need to embrace and transmit farther the College’s historic commitment and efforts related to social justice and environmental sustainability.  

Conversation also centered on new projects in development, including a new childcare center, a social justice center and the OWN Experience – a co-curricular program being developed for every student that will focus on innovative learning, holistic personal development and Career and Community Connections​. 

“The goal of our work will be to ensure everyone realizes that SUNY Old Westbury is a premiere, public minority-serving liberal arts institution,” said Sams. “Our students must be prepared to take on the challenges of our times societally and professionally. We will help them get there through our focus on the power of transformational education.”​ 

McKend, a student of President Sams during his service to Swarthmore College earlier in his career, remarked on how she believed SUNY Old Westbury and its students will benefit from Dr. Sams’ leadership. 

“This makes sense,” said McKend of Sams’ presidency. “After 30 years in higher education to be leading an institution, specifically SUNY Old Westbury, which is rooted in a mission of social justice, and the most diverse SUNY school, it makes perfect sense for him to be at the helm.”  

To prepare for the interview, McKend spent the day touring campus and meeting with campus leaders, including a roundtable discussion with students from the College’s Media & Communications and Politics, Economics and Law programs. 

“Having the opportunity to speak with someone who pursues journalism professionally gave me that final push to go forward in my career choice with confidence,” said Renee DeLorenzo, a senior Media & Communications major who took part in the round table. “Being in a room full of supportive mentors and colleagues was an invaluable experience that I'll always remember and appreciate." 

“SUNY Old Westbury’s Promise for Tomorrow” was sponsored by the Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc., the not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness to ensure continuous progress in the development of the College’s academic programs, student life, and community relations. Learn more about the Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc.  

SUNY Old Westbury's Promise for Tomorrow

Civic Engagement