Alexander Enyedi was named SUNY Plattsburgh’s next president by the SUNY Board of Trustees in Albany Wednesday.
Enyedi’s appointment, which comes after two rounds of presidential searches by the college, starts Jan 21. next year.
The current provost and vice president for academic affairs at Humboldt State University takes over as the 11th president of Plattsburgh State after John Ettling, who served under the role for 15 years before retiring in June.
Enyedi started his career in higher education at Western Michigan University as an assistant professor in WMU’s Department of Biological Sciences in 1993. In 2001, he was named the department’s chair and served until 2005, when he was named associate dean, then later senior associate dean of the college of arts and sciences.
He joined HSU as its provost January 2016.
Enyedi visited Plattsburgh State’s campus earlier this semester as one of eight candidates in consideration of the position. He spoke Sept. 25 in a student forum and then Sept. 26 for an open forum.
In the student forum, he said he wanted to address issues of diversity, inclusion, low enrollment and engagement between faculty and students as SUNY Plattsburgh’s next president.
Student Association President Essence Hightower, who met Enyedi alongside other SA officers during his visit, said he stood out from the other candidates.
“I feel like one of the issues with a lot of the presidential candidates is that they didn’t understand the setting,” Hightower said. “We’re in the North Country. We are not in the most welcoming of places. There are a number of things we need to address, and I feel like he’s a good fit because he’s confident, he’s inspiring, he speaks very well, but also, he’s invested, and I feel like that’s what we need in a president to get us through this crazy time we went through.”
Enyedi feels confident his experience will help SUNY Plattsburgh become more inclusive.
“I currently work at campus in California where 55% of our enrollment are students of color,” Enyedi wrote. “Being in the California State University System has provided me the opportunity to work daily on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion and ignited my passion for this work. As president, I will champion our collective work to build an inclusive campus community.”
Enyedi will have to lead the college as it undergoes many other changes outlined in the “Academic Plan for 2020-2023” introduced earlier this semester by the college’s administration.
Gary Kroll, a representative of the School of Arts and Sciences during the search process, said he’s excited to work alongside the new president.
“First of all, he speaks with an incredible passion. He got me excited about higher education, and that’s a good sign for me,” Kroll said. “The second thing is he really wants this job. The amount of research he did to understand the nooks and crannies of Plattsburgh and the North Country demonstrates a level of detail, a level of commitment that I thought was impressive.”
When Enyedi was interviewed for the position earlier this semester, Kroll said, he came to Plattsburgh a couple days earlier. Enyedi drove around town and asked people questions, conducted informal interviews.
“That’s exactly what we need to do,” Kroll said. “It’s not just a college with walls and people. We are a part of this vast ecosystem of the North Country. He gets it.”