Alexander Enyedi’s office looks clean and orderly, like he’s just getting settled in. He started his new position as Plattsburgh State’s president Jan. 21, and he’s made a point to spend as little time sitting in his office as possible.
As former vice president of academic affairs at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, Enyedi spent one to two hours a day walking around campus and interacting with students.
He plans on doing the exact same at PSU and has already spent a lot of his time familiarizing himself with the campus and everyone in it.
“I’m the freshman on campus,” he said. “It’s the first day of class. There’s a lot to learn and I’ve sort of got a little past the syllabus.”
Although new to the area, Enyedi is much closer to home than he was in California. Enyedi grew up in Ontario, Canada, and is excited to be close to family and the Adirondacks.
PSU held a welcome reception for Enyedi Jan. 28 in the Warren Ballrooms. Enyedi spent more than an hour meeting and talking with faculty, staff and alumni who formed a line that extended to the Alumni Conference Room.
“Every person in line had a story,” Enyedi said about the reception. “I want to learn a bit more about you [and] what motivates you to come to work every day. I like the the sentences or the answers to that question.”
As president, Enyedi is focusing on three Es: engagement, enrollment and equity.
He said it’s important to close the gap between PSU and the surrounding community and get alumni to pay attention to college again.
Colleges around the country face lower enrollment, and PSU is no different. Enyedi hopes to support students while taking PSU through changes to make the college more appealing.
“It’s not going to be radical change,” he said. “It’s going to be evolution.”
Equity for Enyedi is a big focus. He wants to make equity a foundational piece for PSU going forward. He plans to send a message that the college is an inclusive community and hopes that message attracts diverse candidates to hire as professors and administrators.
But outside his role as president, his office isn’t just neat because he spends time getting to know the campus. He has a rule inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater architecture — think neat and organized.
Enyedi even looks at a piece of paper to remind himself that by the end of the day, he should have 85% of his desk uncovered.
But Enyedi is not only precise. He’s also a pilot.
He learned to fly in high school in Ontario. At Western Michigan University, he flew the aircraft they had available and earned his floatplane endorsement.
He continued to fly in California, where he flew from his town to the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.
He’s even an advocate.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, where Enyedi lived while he worked at WMU, Enyedi and his wife Andrea were big supporters of LGBTQ rights.
They still support a social justice and gender equity fund through WMU’s gender women studies program that sends students to New York City to attend a feminist camp every year.
The Enyedis have a personal connection to the LGBTQ community through their son who is gay.
But they were advocates well before they knew their son was a part of the community.
“I think [my support] comes more from a support of human rights,” Enyedi said.
The Enyedis plan on supporting local Plattsburgh groups that support LGBTQ causes in the future.
At the welcome reception, PSU faculty members spoke and shared their own stories about Enyedi. Among them was Plattsburgh College Council Chair Martin Mannix who was talking with members of the SUNY Board of Trustees before they announced Enyedi as PSU’s next president.
Mannix recalled: “One of the most senior trustees said to me, ‘I’ve been here longer than anyone else. I’ve seen people come and go. You are getting one of the best.’”