By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON -- SUNY Canton’s appointed acting president, Joseph C. Hoffman, visited the campus Thursday to meet administrators, faculty, staff and students.
When he assumes the post June 1, he becomes the leading candidate to receive a full appointment as president.
Hoffman, who has worked at SUNY Maritime since 1977, will replace Interim President Carli C. Schiffner.
Schiffner was appointed interim leader after the retirement of long-time SUNY Canton President Joseph Kennedy, She has accepted a position as vice president of instruction at Wenatchee Valley College in Washington State.
SUNY administration in Albany will initiate the official search process for new presidents at both SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam in the fall.
In November, SUNY Potsdam President John Schwaller announced his intention to step down at the end of July.
Kennedy and Schwaller were both embroiled in a controversy prompted by SUNY administration’s intention, announced in 2011, to take advantage of the proximity of the two schools to eliminate one president and have the other run both campuses. The Albany administrators have also promoted sharing of other services, to cut costs.
But the “two campuses-one president” idea was met with stiff resistance from both schools, and the idea appears to have been dropped, while the schools engage in efforts to share other personnel and services.
With confidence that progress already made with shared services and positions will continue, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said she intends to initiate formal presidential searches for each campus this fall.
As acting president at SUNY Canton, Hoffman is eligible to be considered for full appointment to the top post, while Interim President Schiffner was not eligible, according to SUNY spokesman David Doyle.
“There is no active search on now” for either presidency, Doyle said. “The chancellor has said that will begin the fall.”
The chancellor will make a formal request of each campus to form a search committee, engage a search firm if they wish to, and begin seeking and winnowing candidates, Doyle said.
“Then the campus committees will put forward their candidates’ names to the chancellor, who will make her recommendation to the SUNY Board of Trustees,” Doyle said. The board has the final say.
“They are the ultimate authority,” Doyle said.