The State University of New York at Old Westbury welcomed more than 300 guests on Saturday, November 2, 2019 for a special event to commemorate the 20 years of leadership provided by Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, who will step down as college president in January.
The College’s Maguire Theater was filled with those who came to hear about Dr. Butts' work in education and specifically his 20 years at SUNY Old Westbury. Titled “An Evening & Conversation with Calvin O. Butts, III,” the event featured an interview of Dr. Butts by Emmy award winning journalist Randall Pinkston. Among the guests in attendance were New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, former SUNY Chairman Carl McCall, and acting legend Cicely Tyson.
The evening ended with a reception in the College’s newly renovated Library, where it was announced that the college intends to dedicate that facility in honor of Dr. Butts and his work as president of SUNY Old Westbury.
“My experience with the students, faculty and staff of Old Westbury has been very rewarding,” said Dr. Butts. “I have enjoyed greatly the work we have done as a team of faculty, staff and administrators to create offerings and programs that allow our students to grow and to prepare themselves for the lives and careers they want to lead. It is the great commitment of the men and women who teach and work for the students of Old Westbury that has driven, and will continue to drive, this College to even greater heights.”
The longest-serving president in the history of Old Westbury, Dr. Butts directed a period of tremendous growth at the College, highlighted by the introduction of the highest admissions standards on record for the College, enrollment growth of more than 56 percent and the introduction in 2004 of graduate instruction at the College, which now boasts some 300 students studying in 19 master’s degree programs. Today, the College has the largest student enrollment in its history with 5,128 students in attendance.
The heights reached under Dr. Butts’ leadership have been recognized throughout the region, state and nation, with the College currently being recognized among the nation’s “best values” by Money Magazine, among the most diverse by U.S. News and World Report and USA Today, and for nine consecutive years as a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Additionally, his leadership role in the community has seen him in just the past two years included as a “Visionary Award” winner by CBS Radio and New York City radio station WINS-AM, inducted into the Long Island Business News Hall of Fame and placed on the “power” lists of both City & State and The Long Island Press.
Additionally, he has led more than $200 million in capital construction and renovation projects for the campus, including introducing to the campus The Woodlands Residence Halls, the Student Union, University Police Department Headquarters, as well as the new, $64 million Academic Building, which opened in 2012 as the first LEED Gold certified higher education facility on Long Island. Plans are also underway for an expansion and renovation of the current Natural Science Building into a state-of-the-art STEM Center that will require an investment of more than $130 million. Notable renovations include the Campus Center Building, the Campus Library, and more than $10 million in instructional and administrative technological enhancements across the campus.
Dr. Butts is scheduled to leave his day-to-day responsibilities as president on January 21, 2020.