Following a short and somewhat rocky stint, SUNY Cobleskill President Donald P. Zingale will be retiring from his position next week, the college announced.
Appointed as the agriculture and technology college’s 11th president in January 2008, Zingale served for roughly 44 months — about three months longer than his immediate predecessor, Thomas J. Haas, who served from 2003 to 2006.
Zingale in 2009 became the subject of an as-yet unresolved federal lawsuit brought by former Dean Thomas J. Hickey, who claimed Zingale fired him for speaking out against policies he alleges violate the rights of black students.
A year later, the college’s faculty and staff considered taking a vote of confidence on his leadership, which the college’s spokesman said was the result of changes sought by Zingale causing some discontent among staff.
A State University Faculty Senate review of governance at the college followed at the request of Zingale and Melody Eldred, the campus governance leader at the time, and a report issued in May indicated Zingale’s efforts to make improvements at the college were being undermined by his leadership style.
“The central problems for President Zingale appear to be his personal interactions, ineffective communication and inconsistent management,” the report stated.
In the college’s news release, Zingale is lauded for his accomplishments by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.
“He has served as a true ambassador for The Power of SUNY, positioning SUNY Cobleskill as an invaluable partner in the economic revitalization of the local community. His efforts to bring Cobleskill to the next level will have a lasting impact on the campus, and alumni around the world can thank him for lifting the college’s profile, in turn increasing the value of their degrees,” Zimpher said in the release.
Zingale was not available for comment Thursday, college spokesman Scott Silversten said.
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