Interim chancellor takes the helm as SUNY launches global search for Malatras replacement

Legislative Gazette file photo

The State University of New York Board of Trustees has appointed SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley as interim chancellor during the global search to find a replacement for outgoing Chancellor James Malatras.

Stanley brings nearly 45 years of campus leadership to SUNY and will begin serving as interim chancellor on January 15, 2022.

“President Stanley is the right educator at the right time to lead this prestigious university system,” said SUNY Board Chair Merryl Tisch. “She is well-positioned to serve our 64 campuses with a proven record of accomplishments, integrity, and intellect.”

Chancellor Malatras, appointed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic crisis in New York, was picked from Cuomo’s cabinet without a search. Malatras announced his resignation in December 2021 following revelations that he berated a former employee at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in 2017 when he was president there, and for engaging in disparaging text conversations about a former co-worker in the Governor’s Office.

The SUNY Student Assembly and several state lawmakers called for Malatras’s resignation after media reports detailed his abrasive management style while the United University Professions and the SUNY Board of Trustees defended Malatras.

The SUNY Board of Trustees said it will be launching a global search this month and will be working with an executive search firm to identify potential candidates, review their qualifications and verify the credentials of all finalists.

Deborah Stanley, courtesy of SUNY Oswego

Stanley has been the president of SUNY Oswego for 25 years.

“I do not take lightly our responsibility to make sure we are providing a safe and welcoming environment that allows our students to grow academically and provide the foundation to pursue and reach their goals and dreams,” Stanley said. “During this leadership transition, their success will be my highest priority, and I look forward to leading this great university system to new heights.”

Stanley earned a bachelor’s degree with honors and a juris doctor degree from Syracuse University, which presented her with its Distinguished Alumni award. She was named a New York State Woman of Distinction in 2006 by The State Senate and, in 2010, received the Post-Standard’s Person of Achievement Award.

Stanley initiated successful national accreditation for SUNY Oswego’s School of Education and national and international accreditation for the School of Business. She led the creation of the School of Communication, Media, and the Arts, and recently established the college’s Syracuse campus, located in the Clinton Square area of downtown Syracuse.

During Stanley’s tenure, SUNY Oswego launched new programs such as electrical and computer engineering, human-computer interaction, human development, biomedical and health informatics, cinema and screen studies, and an online MBA program. Stanley oversaw the hiring of 41 full-time faculty over the last five years and the college’s renewal plan, now in its second decade, encompasses hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations and construction.

Stanley has been an invited speaker and panelist at regional, national, and international venues on topics such as sexual assault on campus, experiential learning practices, and leadership. She was co-chair of SUNY’s mental health and wellness task force, which provided its recommendations to the Board of Trustees at the June 2021 meeting to expand services for all SUNY students.

Stanley served on the American Council on Education’s Board of Directors and is a past chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board of Directors.