Merodie A. Hancock formally became the fourth
president of Empire State College in Saratoga
Springs in late March when she received the college’s
official medallion from SUNY Chancellor
Nancy L. Zimpher.
The college also named Tai Arnold as dean of
the college’s School for Graduate Studies. She has
been serving as acting dean since 2013.
“As I look around the room today, I see the faces
of so many people who believe in the opportunities
afforded by higher education and specifically in
those afforded by our innovative and nontraditional
college and, I will proudly say, the country’s gold
standard for a rigorous, liberal arts, open education,”
Hancock told an audience of several hundred
assembled at the Saratoga Hilton.
“I am honored and humbled to share in this mission with each of you,” she added.
Zimpher said Hancock “has been an outstanding leader for the faculty, staff and students at Empire State College, and a valuable partner for SUNY and New York state … Empire State College has become a top choice for nontraditional and adult students. As the college continues to build upon its excellent reputation and service, we are fortunate to have Merodie at the helm”
Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall and Empire State College Council Chairman James Lytle assisted the chancellor at the ceremony. “Like most nontraditional students, I came to a crossroads in my life”, said inauguration speaker Sandra Barkevich, a current student at the college’s School for Graduate Studies. “Do I settle for a job I loved, but had no room for advancement unless I had a bachelor’s degree, or do I set my sights higher and aim for that degree?”
The inauguration theme “re-emergence,” highlights Hancock’s career of advocacy for the re-emergence of nontraditional students and the re-emergence of Empire State College as the exemplar of open, public and innovative education.
Hancock succeeds Alan R. Davis, who served from Aug. 1, 2008 to Aug. 31, 2012.
Arnold has been at the college since 1998 and has served in a variety of roles, including assistant vice president for academic programs, director of program development and assistant to the vice president of academic affairs.
During her tenure as acting dean, Arnold served as chief academic, fiscal and administrative officer for the School for Graduate Studies. She ensured the quality of the graduate programs, led planning and secured resources. She also represented the school internally and externally, including as liaison with programmatic accrediting organizations.
Photos Courtesy of Empire State College