SUNY Oneonta inaugurated Dr. Alberto J.F. Cardelle as its ninth president on Friday, Oct. 14, during a joyous ceremony held inside the college's Alumni Field House.
Surrounded by students, faculty, staff, alumni, elected officials and leaders, colleagues, family and friends, Dr. Cardelle was officially welcomed into the campus community. More than 400 people attended the celebration, which featured numerous speakers and musical performances by the SUNY Oneonta Latin Jazz Ensemble.
The inauguration ceremony was the culmination of a week’s worth of special events on campus and in the community in recognition of the important relationship between the college and the local region and highlighting President Cardelle’s inauguration theme, “Community Connections.”
These events included a community art exhibit called “Colors of Oneonta” at the Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center; the opening reception for an exhibition called “Town & Gown: SUNY Oneonta and the Local Community, Past and Present” at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society; live music by college and community musicians during a “Sounds of Oneonta” concert at the B Side Ballroom and Supper Club; and an on-campus Celebration of Teaching and Learning, featuring displays, interactive activities and more from faculty representing more than 30 academic programs.
'To be relevant, we must propose solutions'
The inauguration ceremony featured 12 speakers, from local leaders to Dr. Cardelle’s former colleagues to his wife, Dr. Rachel Frick-Cardelle. Each shared stories attesting to Dr. Cardelle’s leadership and compassion. State Sen. Peter Oberacker and Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek both lauded Dr. Cardelle’s immersion in the Oneonta community and positive impact. The ceremony culminated with the investiture, when SUNY Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley presented Dr. Cardelle with SUNY Oneonta’s presidential collar, a metal necklace with the college’s seal as its medallion.
In his inauguration address, Dr. Cardelle – the first Cuban-American president to serve in the SUNY system – spoke about the college’s past and future and said he wants SUNY Oneonta to be “as relevant 150 years from now as it was 133 years ago when it was founded.”
“To be relevant, institutions must engage with the challenges,” Dr. Cardelle told the audience. “To be relevant, we must propose solutions. In short, institutions must get dirty in the messy world and jump into the trenches of our social, economic, scientific and moral debates. We must be critical collaborators in improving the human condition.”
Dr. Cardelle then thanked his guests and supporters and finished his remarks by announcing some exciting news: SUNY Oneonta has now endowed its Student Emergency Fund with more than $1 million to assist students facing unexpected financial difficulties. He quoted one of his favorite authors, Sandra Cisneros.
“The older I get, the more I am conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world,” Cardelle read. “Tiny little things, but the world is made of tiny matters, is it not?”