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SUNY Niagara announces finalists in presidential search


Fri, Mar 15th 2024 12:55 pm

SUNY Niagara Press Release

SUNY Niagara’s search for its eighth president, which began last fall, is nearing a conclusion. The committee leading the search has invited four finalists to visit its Sanborn campus and the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute the week of March 17. They are Andrew W. Browne, Ed.D., Lloyd A. Holmes, Ph.D., Dr. Rai Kathuria, and Jason Adsit, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Browne has served for more than 20 years in senior leadership positions at Grand Rapids Community College (Michigan), Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana), and Johnson County Community College (Kansas). At Johnson County Community College, he served as president and CEO leading the college to a sharpened focus on student success, serving employers and the community, and growing enrollment. At Ivy Tech, he started as a regional chancellor, and was promoted to guide the leadership teams of the 18 campuses as senior vice president and chief operating officer. At Grand Rapids Community College, Browne led two distinctively different teams. He first led non-credit training, moving this work from being a financial challenge to a position of instructional and operational excellence. He was then asked to lead the fundraising efforts, where they raised over $30 million in private support and another $30 million in regional, state and federal grant funding over a seven-year period.

Browne has over 12 years of adjunct faculty teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He currently serves on the Ferris State University advisory board for the doctorate in community college leadership program where he mentors students, serves on dissertation committees, and has taught classes. He is an active community member and volunteer, serving on various boards, committees, and (his personal favorite) coaching Special Olympics athletes.

His career included training and organization development work in manufacturing and nonprofit organizations, while serving communities in economic development roles, he blended his love of developing people with the desire to see the region prosper. Browne began his career as a resident director at Calvin College (Michigan). He has always loved interacting with students, whether attending their performances and athletic events, sharing a meal together, or engaging in student clubs, organizations, and leadership development programs.

Browne earned his Doctor of Education degree from Western Michigan University, where he also earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees. He completed the Aspen Institute’s Rising Presidents Fellowship for Community College Excellence in 2018 and the Aspen Institute’s New Presidents Fellowship in 2023.

Lloyd A. Holmes, a veteran educator with a track record of removing barriers to student success, became the fourth president of De Anza College on July 1, 2020 (since its founding in 1967). Before joining De Anza, Holmes was vice president of student services at Monroe Community College in Rochester, part of the State University of New York system of two-and four-year schools. He also provided statewide leadership in the SUNY system by mentoring other colleges on a major student success initiative and by serving on a statewide task force on student hunger.

Holmes was previously an administrator at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts, Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina and the University of Mississippi. He has taught graduate and undergraduate students, and worked as a residence hall adviser, financial aid adviser, coordinator of student wellness and alcohol and drug abuse programs, and dean of students. Throughout his career, he has been devoted to expanding student equity and success.

As De Anza president, Holmes led a team of senior staff, including vice presidents and associate vice presidents of instruction, administrative services, student services and communication and external relations. He also served as part of the leadership team for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, along with the district chancellor, three vice chancellors and the president of Foothill College. 

Holmes has a record of community involvement, noting, “we can’t just be in the community, we must be of the community.”

Holmes grew up in Mississippi, where he earned an associate degree at Itawamba Community College and a bachelor’s degree at the University of Mississippi – both in accounting. He continued his studies at the University of Mississippi by earning a master’s degree in higher education on and student personnel services, followed by a doctorate in educational leadership.

Dr. Rai Kathuria is the provost and senior vice president of academic and student affairs for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. He joined the CSCU system in June 2022 with experience in systemwide efforts with faculty, staff and administrators, bringing with him strategic, collaborative and innovative leadership. At CSCU, he oversees the academic and student affairs portfolio for four Connecticut State Universities, one community college with 12 locations, and a 100% online state college.

Before CSCU, Kathuria was assistant vice president in the office of the executive vice president for university academic affairs at Indiana University (IU). He was also the director of the office of collaborative academic programs, IU online, and a tenured associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Indiana University East – one of the seven campuses in the IU system. Kathuria created over 50 programs at IU, bringing in more than 2200 new students. He is a recipient of the Indiana University Bicentennial Medal, an honor given by the university system's president in recognition of distinguished and distinctive service supporting Indiana University's mission.

Kathuria holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of biochemistry at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and at the Cancer Research Institute at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis. Kathuria also completed the management development program at Harvard University. He holds master reviewer certification from Quality Matters and is a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. In addition to his experience, Kathuria is a member of the Council for Undergraduate Research and Beta Beta Beta.

Dr. Jason Adsit currently serves as the special consultant to the board of trustees at Mount Saint Mary College – where he advises the board on a broad range of analytical projects in the areas of enrollment management, retention, institutional research, and advancement. Adsit previously served as Mount Saint Mary College’s president, where he oversaw the development of the college’s latest strategic plan, its comprehensive fundraising campaign, and its overall operating plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his time at the Mount, Adsit secured more than $5 million in external funds to build pathway programs in nursing for first-generation students, launch a summer bridge program for incoming first-year students, and establish the college’s Center for Community Engagement and Wellness to offer academic, enrichment, and health-related programs to the residents of Newburgh. Adsit is also credited with creating the college’s first office of diversity, equity, and inclusion – and with altering the college’s governance structure to include faculty members on the president’s cabinet, and to include faculty and student representatives on the standing committees of the college’s board of trustees.

Prior to his work at the Mount, Adsit served as the dean of the School of Arts, Sciences and Education at D’Youville; the associate provost for academic administration at the University of Rochester; the director of the Teaching and Learning Center at SUNY-Buffalo; and as the assistant dean for institutional research and assessment in the School of Education and the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University.

Adsit holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from SUNY-Buffalo, and a B.A. in philosophy from American University in Washington, D.C. Adsit began his studies in philosophy at Lansing Community College (Michigan), and held his first official teaching position in Philosophy at Genesee Community College (Batavia).

The committee has arranged a series of in-person sessions for each finalist to meet with various constituents. Finalists will spend time with the institution’s board of trustees, its leadership group, union leaders, the college’s Academic Council, faculty and staff.

SUNY Niagara also has scheduled these open forums for students and members of the community to meet each finalist:

√ Bowne will take place Monday, March 18, from 1:15 -2:15 p.m. in the Dining Commons of the main cafeteria on the second floor of G Building.

√ Holmes will take place Wednesday, March 20, from 1:15 -2:15 p.m. in the Community Room on the second floor of G Building.

√ Kathuria will take place Thursday, March 21, from 1:15 -2:15 p.m. in the Dining Commons of the main cafeteria on the second floor of G Building.

√ Adsit will take place Friday, March 22, from 1:15 -2:15 p.m. in the Dining Commons of the main cafeteria on the second floor of G Building.

The college’s 19-member presidential search committee identified these finalists through a national search with the assistance of RH Perry, a search firm specializing in higher education.

“We are delighted with the progress of our presidential search and excited to welcome these finalists to SUNY Niagara,” said SUNY Niagara Board Chairman Kevin Clark, who also leads the presidential search committee. “Our committee has done excellent work to bring the search to this point. We look forward to introducing finalists to the college community.”

The college hopes to have its next president in place by July 1. Dr. William Murabito, who became the institution’s seventh president in 2019 after having served in an interim role for two years, will retire June 30.

For more information, visit the SUNY Niagara presidential webpage.

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