As we start Homecoming festivities this week, I wanted to remind you of the one of the highlights of the week’s events: the naming of the Fannie Barrier Williams building, which will take place at 3:30 pm on Thursday, October 6. Many individuals contributed to the process of receiving SUNY permission to change the name of the Liberal Arts Building to honor our first African American graduate, Fannie Barrier Williams. I hope you will be able to join me for a short program commemorating our alumna and honoring her legacy.
As I announced at Faculty and Staff Convocation in August, SUNY Brockport qualifies for university status under the new Board of Regents guidelines for what constitutes a university. I consulted widely with internal colleagues and external stakeholders in the summer, including with BSG, Senate leadership, and representatives of our town-gown committee, and all were positive about the opportunity. On September 21, the SUNY Board of Trustees gave the SUNY Chancellor permission to “take all actions necessary and appropriate to effectuate approval of a university designation for eligible SUNY institutions.” This is excellent news for SUNY Brockport. Our official state education title has always remained State University of New York College at Brockport, just as all comprehensives in the system are designated. Achieving university status means we can keep our shortened name, SUNY Brockport, but formally remove “college at” from the title. And it means we can market ourselves out of state and internationally as a university, knowing that such designation attracts students, especially internationally. SUNY legal is finalizing the process by which we will be able to change our name, but I expect that this process will be relatively swift, once we have all relevant resolutions of support, a process that is now underway. I am pleased to report that College Council passed a resolution in support of our university designation on September 28.
There are so many people across campus, from every division, that are working hard each day to enhance our recruitment efforts. Thank you for your hard work, passion, and creativity. To Be a Sustainable and Thriving University for the 21st century, this work must continue and expand.
President’s Cabinet recently made two significant investments to strengthen these efforts. We are nearly doubling our commitment to student scholarships for undergraduate first-year students. Three out of four of our first-year students receive thousands of dollars in scholarships. This has made a SUNY Brockport education even more affordable.
We have been asking prospective students what matters most to them when they are choosing their higher education pathway, and they have again and again cited affordability as their prime motivator. We’re listening to what they say, and making our quality education programs as affordable as possible. Now we need to tell people about it.
This week, we are launching a three-month marketing campaign in the Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and Long Island markets. This campaign will feature electronic billboards and a commercial. The commercial, which is embedded above, will air on network affiliates in the Rochester market and on select streaming platforms in the other markets.
A new section has also been added to the main navigation of our website featuring “Scholarships & Aid.”
We have also invested in further strengthening the digital marketing campaigns focused on our undergraduate and graduate academic programs. This effort specifically targets prospective students.
Our employees are our greatest ambassadors and we need your help to further amplify our message. Please spread the word about our enhanced scholarship program to your friends and family. If you know someone who would like to be included on our mailing list, encourage them to sign up.
Finally, colleagues, I wanted to note that we have heard from many of you that we need to increase the pathways of communication on campus. I hope you have been finding the newsletters that are now coming out regularly from each division helpful and informative. Other venues continue to exist: the Hey Heidi website, and of course open office hours. Last week, I held open office hours with Provost Abraham and at REOC/Brockport Downtown with Executive Director Mareus, both of which were well attended, and both of which have offered some positive ideas for resolving issues of concern. My next open office hours are scheduled for Friday, October 21, at 10:10 am in Seymour 220 with our CDO, Damita Davis, and I look forward to seeing many of you there.
In the meantime, enjoy the Homecoming festivities, and thank you again for all that you do to Build a Better Brockport.