Alberto J.F. Cardelle, Ph.D., MPH
President Alberto Cardelle was appointed by the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees as the ninth president of SUNY Oneonta on July 20, 2021, and took office on September 6, 2021.
In his first year at SUNY Oneonta, Dr. Cardelle focused on rejuvenating a nurturing community by holding college-wide dialogue sessions and open forums with employees, students, and families of students. Conversations at these sessions led to the development of an agenda titled Regaining Momentum, which outlines prioritized opportunities to guide the college’s actions between May 2022 – December 2023. The basis of the agenda is an integrated approach to support student success, build community and make connections through engaged learning, scholarship, service, leadership, decision making and cross-divisional collaboration.
Resulting from the strategic opportunities for success summarized in Regaining Momentum, Dr. Cardelle has established the Regional Innovation Council for local Oneonta and area community leaders, recruitment, retention and enrollment working groups, the Faculty Academy focused on developing inclusive pedagogy, the President’s Advisory Council on Internal Communication, a common meeting hour and an engagement program for employees who were hired during the pandemic. Due to excellent teamwork with faculty and staff across the college, Dr. Cardelle’s first year has also seen progress toward updating the general education program, the creation of a first-year academic experience course (expected to launch in Fall 2023) and development of a Student Success Leadership Team. Particular points of pride for Dr. Cardelle are the partnership with governance in the college joining The University Global Coalition in Spring 2022, the reinstatement of a summer orientation program in 2022, extended support for second-year students and that the College Foundation reached full endowment for the Student Emergency Fund as part of the Grow.Thrive.Live.The Future of SUNY Oneonta fundraising campaign in October 2022.
Before coming to SUNY Oneonta, as Fitchburg State University’s (FSU) provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Cardelle provided vision, leadership, and strategic direction to the faculty and staff in academic affairs that includes the schools of Arts & Sciences, Health & Natural Sciences, Business, Education, and Online, Graduate & Continuing Education. He also oversaw admissions, student success services, international education, the library, and the registrar. Before FSU, Dr. Cardelle spent 15 years at East Stroudsburg University (ESU) where he began his academic career as an assistant professor of public health in 1999, became department chair in 2001 and served as vice-provost, dean of the Graduate College and dean of the College of Health Sciences.
During his previous appointments, Dr. Cardelle championed academic excellence. As provost, he led the development and implementation of the university’s outcome-based general education curriculum which includes a first-year experience course for first-time students and a requirement that all students complete a high impact practice course involving internships, undergraduate research, international education, or civic engagement. At both FSU and ESU he worked with faculty to develop more than 20 new degree programs including certificates, minors, bachelor degrees, master degrees and a doctoral degree in the fields of health sciences, criminal justice, education, business, computer science and the humanities.
With a strong commitment to accessible higher education, Dr. Cardelle has focused on developing student-centered programs across academic units that encourage innovative approaches to student learning and teaching such as residential learning communities, first year experience programming, peer mentoring, the FSU Faculty Academy for Inclusive Pedagogy, and advising using predictive analytics.
A staunch champion of the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Cardelle worked with colleagues at FSU to create the Leading for Change Initiative, which focused on establishing a broad array of institution-wide initiatives aimed at inclusion and diversity with the long-term goal of student success and equity. This led to the creation of a campus climate survey, a Deans’ Anti-Racism fund, the Hispanic Male Mentoring program, and an expansion of summer-bridge programs for students requiring additional support before beginning their college career. With a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, he created the Heritage Language Program, aimed at providing high achieving bilingual students with English support services and celebrating their linguistic asset of being bilingual.
As a faculty member, Dr. Cardelle authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, chapters and conference presentations. He and a colleague established FSU’s first faculty-led consulting group, The Center for Public Health Research and Innovation, with more than 2.5 million dollars of funding.
An advocate for the role of anchor institutions, Dr. Cardelle has worked throughout his career to establish a meaningful link between the academic enterprise and the university’s community development initiatives. This has included the creation of a community co-working space to encourage economic development, seed funds to start student community businesses, a business incubator, a training institute for community leadership and workforce development programs in business leadership and entrepreneurship.
5 FUN FACTS About Dr. Cardelle
1. He’s a first-generation American
Growing up in Miami, Cardelle and his two brothers had a traditional Hispanic upbringing. His parents were Cuban immigrants who came to the United States in their early 20s, instilling in him a love of Cuban music and culture. “It was a wonderful childhood, with extended family close by. We went to the beach every day and played baseball and spent lots of time outside.” Like many first-generation Hispanic Americans, Cardelle is bilingual and frequently switches back and forth between Spanish and English at home. Calm in most situations, he tends to fall back into Spanish when he’s in bad traffic or doesn’t like a referee’s call!
2. He hasn't always been in higher ed
Prior to his extensive career in higher education, Cardelle spent a decade working on health care issues with the World Health Organization, the American Medical Student Association, UNICEF, and Oxfam America, where he met his beloved wife of 30 years, Dr. Rachel Frick-Cardelle. The Cardelles have three grown daughters who are carrying on a passion for service and adventure: Marianela, an engineer, works on sustainable water systems in Singapore; Catalina attends graduate school in computer science; and Josephine is a civil engineer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
3. He’s been bitten by the travel bug
For Cardelle, the perfect day starts with some good coffee and involves traveling with his family. When his daughters were young, the family completed a cross-country trip from New York City to Seattle and into Canada. They have adventured together in Central and South America as well as in Europe. Most recently, the Cardelle family traveled 21 hours to Indonesia, where they climbed Mt. Batur and swam in the country’s pristine reefs.
4. He loves sports and enjoys staying active
As a boy, Cardelle was a proud member of the “Mambises” Little League team in Miami. Since then, he has developed a love for running and has competed in multiple marathons and half-marathons; last October, he ran in Oneonta’s 28th annual Pit Run. A lifelong fútbol (soccer) fan (his favorite team is Liverpool), he has joined teams wherever he lived and even coached his daughters’ teams when they were young. Rumor has it that he can also skateboard.
5. He considers himself a foodie
Cardelle is always on the hunt for the best coffee, tapas, and tuna melt, and he loves Italian ice but will only order black cherry. When his daughters were growing up, he often made their school lunches and became famous for his “Mac & Cheese Tuesday.” These days, his favorite dish to make is blackened salmon — Rachel’s favorite. Unsurprisingly, Cardelle has a soft spot for Cuban food. Last April, Dining Services hosted a special Cuban Night at Wilsbach Dining Hall for the campus community, and Cardelle handpicked the menu. To ensure that it “felt like home” to him, Sodexo purchased bread for the Cuban sandwich from a bakery in Florida.
Meet SUNY Oneonta's 'First Pets'
Cardelle and his wife, Rachel Frick Cardelle, have two cats, Bagie and Milton, who have settled in nicely in their new home at the President’s Residence. Shortly after arriving in Oneonta, The Cardelles adopted a puppy, an Australian Cattle Dog-Chihuahua mix, and named him Yeobo, a term of endearment in Korean meaning “honey” or “sweetheart.” Yeobo frequently makes appearances on campus and is never seen without his stylish red SUNY Oneonta bandana.