NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Judith Huntington was officially inaugurated today as the 13th president of The College of New Rochelle at a ceremony held at the New Rochelle campus attended by hundreds of faculty, alumni, staff, students and leaders from the educational, business and political community. Ms. Huntington, who is the first lay woman president of the College in its 108-year history, succeeds Stephen J. Sweeny, who served as president since 1997.
In her inaugural address, Ms. Huntington shared her vision for The College of New Rochelle and outlined key initiatives the College must address to meet today's challenging environment.
"There is new skepticism about the value of a college education driven by parents and students anxiety about affordability, future employment and worries over accumulating student debt. While the economic challenges may seem daunting, they also provide the necessary impetus for us to change, adapt, and innovate. Clearly, the challenges cannot be ignored and standing still is not an option," she said.
To meet these challenges, Ms. Huntington said the College will embark on an institution-wide strategic plan supported by a fully integrated master facility plan and financial plan to determine where it will be in the years ahead.
Ms. Huntington said she will stress a "student centered" approach. "We must place students at the very center of our decision making and provide them the education, resources and skills they need to become successful," she said.
She noted that the College must expand its academic programs, diversify its revenue sources and utilize all aspects of technology to deliver education in an e-learning environment. "By doing so, the College will be better insulated from volatile market conditions. It will improve our competitive position, economies of scale and brand recognition, and broaden our geographic reach," she said.
Ms. Huntington said social justice remains a prevailing theme in educating students at The College of New Rochelle. "Central to our mission and at the core of both social justice and our Catholic identity is providing access to education for all those who were previously denied or prevented from pursuing a degree. We pride ourselves for the richness this diversity brings to our community," she noted. "We also pride ourselves on our continued commitment to women's education and recognizing women's achievements."
Ms. Huntington's inauguration as president is another milestone in a distinguished career that spans the business and academic communities. She began her tenure at The College of New Rochelle in 2001 as Vice President for Financial Affairs with full responsibility for all fiscal issues involving the College. Under her steady leadership, she oversaw the construction and financing of the College's $28 million, LEED-rated Wellness Center. She also maintained the College's investment grade Baa3 rating from Moody's Investor Services, and improved the College's financial strength through conservative spending, prudent financial management and investment practices.
Ms. Huntington brings to her new role as president a unique financial perspective built on more than 25 years of experience in the business world. Prior to joining The College of New Rochelle, she worked for 15 years with the accounting firm KPMG LLP serving as audit senior manager in KPMG's metro New York higher education, research, and other not-for-profit practice, providing audit and accounting services. One of her first clients at KPMG was The College of New Rochelle, serving as outside independent auditor for the College for about 10 years. She also worked in KPMG's banking and SEC practice and was an instructor and recruiter in the firm. She was among one of the youngest members of the firm to be selected to serve on a sponsored internship/fellowship at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). A Certified Public Accountant, Ms. Huntington holds a bachelor of business administration degree from Pace University.
In assuming her new role as president, Ms. Huntington is well prepared for the many challenges that lie ahead. She said her year as President-elect "offered a new perspective and enabled me to move from the role of a Vice President who safeguarded and protected the College's financial health to that of a President who seeks to safeguard and protect the College's Mission." During that period she met with the Board of Trustees, governance groups, students, faculty, instructional staff and alumnae/i of the College.
Ms. Huntington is actively involved in the education and business community. She serves on the Lower Hudson Valley Consortium of Catholic Colleges and Universities and is a member the Middle States Commission on Higher Education evaluation team. She is also a former member of the Yorktown Central School District Board of Education. In 2008, she received the Apex Advocacy Award from The Westchester County Association for her participation on the County Association's Property Tax Alliance.
In addition to her College residence in Pelham, NY, Ms. Huntington resides in New Milford, CT with her husband Brad Huntington, who is President of Tri-State Engineering, and their two children, Amanda, a junior at Sacred Heart University, and Bradley Jr., a senior at Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, NY. They are parishioners of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Church in Brookfield, CT.
About The College of New Rochelle
The first Catholic college for women in New York State, The College of New Rochelle was founded in 1904 by the Ursuline Order. Today, The College of New Rochelle enrolls over 5,000 students on six campuses across the Greater New York City area. The College's academic programs are offered in four schools: the School of Arts & Sciences (for women), School of New Resources (for adults), School of Nursing and Graduate School. The College maintains five campus locations in New York City and its main campus in New Rochelle. Visit the College's website at www.cnr.edu.
SOURCE The College of New Rochelle