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Buffalo State College Provost Dennis K. Ponton Proposed as Interim President

Posted: May 4, 2009
The Buffalo State College Council announced today that it is recommending Dennis K. Ponton, provost and vice president for academic affairs, as interim president of the college, effective August 1.

Muriel A. Howard, the college’s current president, is taking a national leadership position in public higher education. The recommendation is expected to be affirmed at a forthcoming meeting of the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees in early May.

Ponton has devoted his entire career to higher education, including 32 years of faculty, administrative, and leadership roles at Buffalo State College. He joined Buffalo State as a faculty member in 1977 and served as interim provost from 1998 to 2000, before being appointed to his current position in 2003.

“After several weeks of consultations with various campus and community stakeholders, we are confident that Provost Ponton has the exemplary leadership and breadth of administrative and scholarly experience to lead Buffalo State in a seamless transition to a new president,” said College Council Vice Chair Howard A. Zemsky who heads the Presidential Search Committee.  “We thank everyone for their thoughtful input and the speed with which they responded.” 

Ponton earned a B.A. in biology, an M.S. in zoology, and a Ph.D. in agricultural biochemistry from West Virginia University. Before coming to Buffalo State, he held faculty appointments at The Pennsylvania State University and at West Virginia University. Prior to his current position at Buffalo State, Ponton served as chair and associate professor of the Nutrition and Food Science Department; interim dean of  Applied Science and Education; and associate vice president, budget and planning, for academic affairs. 

Ponton is also the operations manager for the Buffalo State College Research Foundation, accreditation liaison officer to the Middle State Commission on Higher Education, and convener for the Buffalo-Niagara Council of Chief Academic Officers (BNCCAO).

“I am honored by the recommendation and appreciate the support of the College Council,” Ponton said.  “I look forward to continuing the positive outcome and momentum established by Dr. Howard’s leadership.”

On March 31, 2009, Howard announced that she would pursue her passion for public higher education at the national level as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). SUNY bylaws charge the College Council, a committee composed of 10 members, nine appointees of the governor of New York, and one elected student representative, with selection of the interim president and coordination of the formal search process. Over the past three weeks, input from college and community leaders and constituent groups was sought through individual and group meetings, as well as a special Web site

In coming weeks, Zemsky will oversee the formation and convening of a formal presidential search committee charged with selecting a new president within the next year. 

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