State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras today announced that Dennis Craig will serve as the new Acting President for SUNY Oneonta. Chancellor Malatras made the announcement today from the SUNY Oneonta campus, joined by Acting President Craig, the SUNY Oneonta College Council, as well as student, faculty and local government leaders. Acting President Craig recently led SUNY Purchase College’s successful fall reopening and handled the campus’s response to the first wave of the pandemic last spring as interim president. The SUNY Board of Trustees approved the appointment today and it is effective immediately.
“SUNY Oneonta is at a critical juncture and Acting President Craig will bring steady, focused and collaborative leadership to the campus. Dennis Craig was one of the first presidents I met after my appointment, and we spoke at length about the specific accommodations he put in place for SUNY Purchase students, faculty, and staff—especially for a campus located near New Rochelle, which was New York State’s first hot spot for COVID early on in the pandemic,” said Chancellor Malatras. “For the SUNY Oneonta campus, Acting President Craig’s first priority is to ensure students have what they need to complete their fall semester, as well as a clear plan in place for the spring. And Dennis will do so with my support in collaboration and with guidance and feedback from the campus community—particularly our students, with Mayor Gary Herzig and other local officials, and local health officials.”
The SUNY Board of Trustees said, “Our collective responsibility at SUNY is to equip our campuses with the resources and leadership they need to deliver a quality education for our students, while ensuring that the safety and well-being of our entire campus communities remain the highest priority during this ongoing pandemic. Dennis Craig has proven to be such a leader for SUNY Purchase College over the years, and today all of us are in full support and deeply proud of his appointment and confident he will lead SUNY Oneonta on a new and productive path forward for all students, faculty, and staff on campus.”
Acting President Craig said, “I am truly honored to serve Oneonta during this transition and look forward to working closely with my new colleagues across the college as we continue to rise to the many challenges associated with the pandemic. I thank the SUNY Board, Chairman Tisch, and Chancellor Malatras for the trust they have bestowed in leading during this critical juncture. Success will require an effective partnership with our students and families, and I am committed to listening to them, as well as working closely with campus and local governance and all stakeholders in the weeks ahead.”
SUNY Oneonta College Council Chair Patrick Brown said, “Holding a leadership role during a pandemic is no easy task, and higher education officials are having to adapt quickly and swiftly to keep campuses up and running and their students, faculty, and staff safe. Dennis Craig achieved that at SUNY Purchase by making himself available to hear student concerns as well as his dedication to the campus community—we expect he will do the same for SUNY Oneonta.”
Oneonta UUP Chapter President Dave Lincoln said, “The local UUP chapter looks forward to working with Acting President Dennis Craig during this transition period. Given his experience within SUNY, his understanding of UUP will prove invaluable as we move forward. I would also like to thank President Morris for her service and wish her well with her future endeavors.”
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said, “On behalf of the city of Oneonta, I welcome Dennis Craig and look forward to working with him as SUNY Oneonta prepares for the spring semester. Chancellor Malatras and Dennis have my full support in doing so safely.”
Oneonta Town Supervisor Robert T. Wood said, “I appreciate the priority SUNY is giving our town and the SUNY Oneonta campus, as well as the collaboration as we look toward the spring semester. It is a pleasure to meet Dennis Craig on day one, and my team and I stand ready to help.”
Senator James L. Seward said, “A steady hand is needed at SUNY Oneonta and I am confident that Acting President Craig will provide that stabilizing influence. A SUNY graduate, who successfully guided another SUNY campus through the initial wave of the COVID pandemic, he is well suited for the job at hand in Oneonta. Campus and community safety are vital along with a strong partnership with local officials—Acting President Craig has a keen understanding of these needs. I applaud SUNY Chancellor Malatras and the SUNY Board of Trustees on the selection and I look forward to working with our new president to ensure SUNY Oneonta’s continued excellence.”
While interim president for SUNY Purchase, Craig, with Chancellor Malatras, announced the launch of pooled surveillance testing on August 27. To date, the campus has administered 2,787 tests for students, faculty, and staff, with only three positive cases. Craig’s leadership at SUNY Purchase in managing the safe reopening of the campus has served as a model for other campuses across the SUNY system. SUNY Purchase resumed classes on August 31, with about 750 students returning to live on campus. A quarter of students are enrolled in classes with some in-person instruction. The campus has strict safety protocols for housing, face-coverings, density on campus, and social distancing.
As SUNY Oneonta’s new leader, he will apply this approach to develop a comprehensive and coordinated plan with SUNY, local officials, and state health departments with the goal of reopening the campus safely in the Spring of 2021.
SUNY campuses overall have conducted 203,446 COVID-19 tests, with a positivity rate of 0.57 percent. The rolling 14-day positivity rate is 0.40 percent.
Dr. Barbara Jean Morris has transitioned from her position as president to pursue other opportunities. A search for a permanent president is expected to begin soon.
About Dennis Craig
Dennis Craig serves as vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, a role he will return to after a search is conducted for SUNY Oneonta’s next president. He oversees all nonacademic student engagement, focusing on the student’s experience from initial inquiry into applying to Purchase College through to commencement. Craig joined Purchase in 2006 as the vice president for admissions and associate provost for enrollment.
Prior to joining Purchase, Craig served as university director of admissions at Montclair State University for five years, where he implemented an enrollment marketing and recruitment plan that resulted in a 27 percent increase in applications. He helped establish Montclair’s reputation as the second largest and fastest growing university in New Jersey.
He also served as director of admissions at the Culinary Institute of America, where he directed all aspects of pre-enrollment programs and events for prospective students, and managed a staff who were responsible for national recruitment, enrollment marketing, new student orientation, telemarketing, and database management.
Craig holds a bachelor of science in business and economics from SUNY Plattsburgh and a master’s in history from Fairleigh Dickinson University.