John S. Nader was officially installed Friday as the ninth president of Farmingdale State College in an inauguration ceremony that drew hundreds of local lawmakers, state officials, faculty and students to Long Island’s oldest public college.
“I arrived here at a remarkable time. We are attracting more and better-prepared students than ever before, our reputation is ever-improving and our profile on Long Island continues to increase,” Nader said in his speech.
“We have rigorously pursued our place as a center of applied learning, and tried to match our will with our wallet,” he said. “We continue to add programs that will be central to the lives of our students and to the economy and civic life of Long Island.”
Nader, 61, took the helm of the 9,000-student college in July, succeeding Farmingdale State’s longtime president W. Hubert Keen. Keen, 72, currently is president of Nassau Community College.
The event inside the newly renovated Nold Athletic Complex included remarks from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, State University of New York board Chairman H. Carl McCall and other figures in state higher education.
Since Nader arrived, he has promoted a new theme — “Powered by Optimism” — on campus and across Long Island.
He has focused on new program development, advancing applied learning opportunities, expanding support for student scholarships, and improving the way the campus and its spaces look.
To recognize the international origin of many Farmingdale graduates, Nader began a project that displays the flags of more than 40 nations on the campus’ main plaza.
Before coming to Farmingdale, Nader was provost at upstate SUNY Delhi, where he also served as dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. During his academic career, he was mayor of Oneonta and spent 12 years as an Otsego County legislator.
Nader holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from Ithaca College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan.
Candace Vancko, former president of SUNY Delhi, told the audience that Nader always has supported student success by increasing opportunities for student teaching and fundraising for student scholarships.
“He was like a proud parent, bragging about students’ successes — whether it was outstanding licensure pass rates, a state or national championship or a sports team victory,” she said.
Nader will oversee the launching of Farmingdale’s first graduate degree program, a master of science in technological development.
Farmingdale State has been favorably ranked by U.S. News & World Report among public regional colleges in the North. The 105-year-old college — which offered mostly two-year degrees until the early 1990s — now enrolls students drawn to bachelor’s degrees in agriculture, aviation, engineering and nursing fields.
Enrollment increased 7 percent in the past year and 26 percent over the past five years. The college also hired 57 new faculty and staff members and plans to hire another 15 professors next year.
DiNapoli, who gave opening remarks, called Farmingdale “a tremendous asset not only for Long Island but for all of New York State.”
“This is one of the leading institutions in our SUNY system,” he said.