Schenectady County

SCCC head Basil to retire

Longtime Schenectady County Community College President Gabriel Basil is stepping down in December.
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Longtime Schenectady County Community College President Gabriel Basil is stepping down in December.

Basil has been president since 1992 and is among the longest serving college presidents in the Capital Region. He announced his retirement to the staff and faculty Tuesday. He informed the college trustees of his decision last week.

Basil, 67, said in a telephone interview that he had been thinking about this decision for several years and believed it was a good time to make a change. He cited developments including building a new student housing project downtown, working on obtaining reaccreditation and producing a new strategic plan.

“All of them are in the planning stages ready to be implemented. Hopefully, somebody can just come in and just carry them through,” he said.

Basil said he is pleased with the growth and development of the college.

“I think people see us as an institution of high quality with an open door and [where] service to students and student learning is the highest priority. When students leave us, they always look back and say, ‘Those are great years and I learned a lot,’” he said.

He said he will miss the people the most.

“You do this with mixed feelings. But it’s a good feeling with the fact that you’re going out at a good time and when the college is being successful.”

Basil plans to travel and spend time with his family.

A native of West Virginia, Basil began his career as a programmer analyst at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. He then was a graduate assistant at Lehigh University’s Computer Center. From there, he moved on to positions as associate dean of instruction at Genesee Community College, chairman of the Mathematics and Science Division of Lorain County Community College in Ohio and department chairman and professor of mathematics at Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania.

Basil joined SCCC in July 1982 when he was appointed dean of academic affairs. He assumed the role of vice president in September 1987, was named interim president in June 1991 and was appointed president in April 1992.

HIGH PRAISE

Mayor Brian U. Stratton said that Basil has been very active, energetic and committed in his work for the college.

“I think he’s done a great job for us. He’s put in a long and productive career and helped accelerate the college during a very formative stage of the downtown redevelopment,” he said.

Other community officials praised Basil for his service.

“Dr. Basil has provided strong leadership to the Schenectady County Community College and has presided over some dramatic changes. We thank him for his service and for his caring stewardship,” said Schenectady County Legislature Chairwoman Susan Savage, D-Niskayuna.

County Legislator Gary Hughes, D-Schenectady, the county’s representative to the college’s Board of Trustees, said Basil has positively influenced the lives of thousands of people.

“He’s a great educator and very committed to community college education and finding a replacement for Gabe will be a challenge,” he said.

At the state level, SUNY interim Chancellor John Clark said Basil has been a superb administrator and strong advocate for community colleges.

“Thanks to his outstanding long-term leadership, Schenectady County Community College graduates have made tremendous contributions to the social and economic fabric of the county and to New York state,” he said in a statement.

College spokesman Heather Meaney said the school’s Board of Trustees will announce a search process and timetable.

COLLEGE GROWTH

Basil will be leaving during a time of growth for the college. Enrollment grew dramatically and demand increased for its culinary and music programs.

In 2000, full-time enrollment was at 1,751 and part-time at 1,762. Enrollment grew at about 23 percent from 2000 to 2004 before leveling off. This fall, it is expected to have 4,924 students including 2,102 full time, 1,542 part time and 1,280 in the “University in the High School.”

In 2000, the college opened the $1.6 million Gateway Building to house the college’s child care center and early childhood department. The following year, the college finished work on another academic facility, the three-story Stockade Building. Last year, SCCC finished a $6.2 million culinary arts addition, including two new cooking laboratories, a dedicated kitchen for the Casola Dining Room, a seminar room for classes and a new dining room.

SCCC plans to construct a $3.9 million, 15,000-square-foot addition onto the Begley Building to house eight music practice rooms and offices for faculty.

The college is also working on a student housing project. It plans to build a 313-bed dormitory next to the Armory on Washington Avenue. College officials are hoping to have the project completed by the fall of 2009. SCCC’s nonprofit foundation would technically own the building.

College officials have hoped that the addition of the dormitory would allow SCCC to attract more students from a wider area, as well as international students.

Categories: Schenectady County

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