Board of Trustees

September 11, 2009

Dear Members of the College Community,

    One of the most sacred tasks a Board of Trustees is asked to perform is to choose a College President. In 2008, Dr. Stephen J. Sweeny made known to the College’s Board of Trustees his plan to step down from the presidency of the College at the conclusion of his current term, June 30, 2011. After careful consideration, the Board of Trustees elected the next president during its meeting yesterday, September 10. I am extremely pleased to inform you that Vice President for Financial Affairs Judith Huntington will become the 13th President of The College of New Rochelle on July 1, 2011.

    In facing squarely its responsibility to provide the best possible leadership for the College, the Board asked the Executive Committee to take responsibility for the search for the new president. Providing effective leadership for the College, based on both respect for the founding principles of the College’s Mission and dedication to moving the College toward an expanded and prosperous future, was the focus of the Executive Committee’s activities during the months following Dr. Sweeny’s announcement. The Committee identified the ideal candidate as Judith Huntington and the full Board concurs.
    In selecting Judith Huntington as President, the Board of Trustees recognizes her extensive experience in college administration, her enthusiastic commitment to the Mission and core values of the College, and her financial acumen and strong administrative skills.  She is known as a supportive, visionary leader who demonstrates an appreciation for the work of the faculty and staff and who thinks strategically, effectively balancing competing interests. In its choice, the Board sought a person of compassion, committed to social justice, who understands the benefits and challenges associated with urban education and appreciates diversity with a particular sensitivity to the educational needs of an adult population. In Judith Huntington, the Board found these qualities in abundance.  The Board sought and found a moral leader for our community and an authentic role model with the capacity to serve as the principal animator of a Catholic college shaped in the Ursuline tradition.
    Judith joined CNR as Vice President for Financial Affairs in 2001, assuming full responsibility for all fiscal issues involving the College. Her knowledge, intuition, and expertise have proved invaluable as the College, along with other institutions of higher education, faced economic challenges, the enormity of which has not been seen in decades. Through her stellar financial leadership, The College of New Rochelle has remained not only fiscally sound, but also vibrant and vital.

    Judith’s experience includes more than 20 years in the financial arena, working with not-for-profits and specializing in higher education. Her clients included Manhattan College, Pace University, Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Save the Children Federation, and The March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

    Inaugurated as the 12th president of The College of New Rochelle in 1997, Dr. Sweeny’s stewardship has been marked by a strengthening of the College by growth and expansion and renewal of its sense of mission and identity.  During his tenure, he spearheaded renovation of the School of New Resources John Cardinal O’Connor Campus in the South Bronx and oversaw the renovation and technological enhancement of the Mother Irene Gill Library. He led the College’s Centennial Celebration in 2004, and that year launched a $50 million capital campaign, which included the construction of the $28 million state-of-the-art Wellness Center, opened in spring of 2008. This was supported by a $4.2 million grant from the State of New York, the first given to an independent institution in the State in a new capital construction matching program. He has tirelessly and effectively promoted the College as a presence in New York City life, in regional accreditation activities, in the national and international independent and Catholic higher education world, and in New York State and Federal public policy formation. We are so much stronger for his 35 years with us and for his almost 14 years as President.
    To announce the selection of a president elect 22 months in advance of taking office is uncommon, but we believe that this presents a unique opportunity for a seamless, successful transition. Both President Sweeny and Judith Huntington will continue in their present positions as they work closely together to develop a plan for engaging the College Community toward a common goal of assuring The College of New Rochelle’s continued viability and vibrancy through expert and enlightened leadership.
    As Chair of the Board, I am pleased to make this important announcement to you. As always, the Trustees actions are guided by unwavering respect for the College and a spirit of responsibility for its continued well-being. I know you join with me in congratulating Judith Huntington on her election and offering her every support as she uses these 22 months ahead to transition to the Office of the President. At the same time, I know you will continue your enthusiastic support of President Sweeny over these next two years as he continues his leadership of the College. I am confident that this special university community will make full use of this unique transition time and situation for the benefit of our beloved College of New Rochelle.


Michael N. Ambler
Chair, Board of Trustees