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Howard Cohen Appointed Interim President

Howard Cohen Appointed Interim President

Posted: June 11, 2013

The State University of New York Board of Trustees has appointed Howard Cohen, Ph.D., interim president of SUNY Buffalo State. 

Cohen is chancellor emeritus at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana, where he served as chancellor from 2001 to 2011.

His appointment as interim president at Buffalo State is effective August 1, 2013, and will continue while President Aaron Podolefsky is on sick leave. Cohen will receive an annual salary of $225,000.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “Dr. Cohen comes to SUNY with more than four decades of experience in higher education. He is certain to provide outstanding leadership for the students, faculty, and staff at SUNY Buffalo State and will be a great partner in the Western New York community.”

Incoming Interim President Cohen said, “I am privileged and honored to have been selected as Buffalo State’s interim president, and I look forward to building on the success of this exceptional institution of academic excellence. As I join Buffalo State for the coming year, I would like to express my great respect for President Aaron Podolefsky and his vision for Buffalo State, and to thank SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Council Chair Howard Zemsky, and AASCU colleague Muriel Howard for the opportunity to lead this outstanding institution.”

Cohen added, “Buffalo State has a mission that is important to me, and I am inspired by the exceptionally dedicated faculty and staff I have already had the pleasure of meeting. I also take personal satisfaction in this opportunity to serve. In that regard, I am indebted to the philosopher Kwame Appiah who has expressed the notion that if you are in a position to make a difference, and you can do so without great sacrifice, do it.”

Cohen, who holds the title of professor of philosophy at Purdue Calumet, earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from Harvard University.  

A champion of regional colleges and universities, Cohen led Purdue Calumet during a 10-year period marked by record enrollment, an innovative experiential learning initiative, strategies to advance student success, and new outreach efforts by the university to advance the Northwest Indiana economy.

Howard Zemsky, chair of the Buffalo State Council, said, “We are confident Dr. Cohen’s distinguished record of experience, success, and commitment to public higher education will provide the strong leadership and continuity needed at Buffalo State during this interim transition. The college is fortunate to have someone of this caliber step into this vital role.”

Before his appointment as chancellor at Purdue Calumet, Cohen was the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay between 1995 and 2001. From 1991 to 1995, he held administrative posts at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, serving as dean of the School of Liberal Arts from 1991 to 1993, and interim provost/vice chancellor for academic affairs from 1993 to 1995. Cohen began his academic career at the University of Massachusetts-Boston in 1970 and spent more than 20 years at the institution, starting as an assistant professor before rising to roles as department chair, director of the law and justice program, associate dean, and associate provost.

Cohen and his wife, Patricia, have two children.

About SUNY Buffalo State
Buffalo State, a State University of New York (SUNY) campus located in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village, offers degrees in the arts, education, the sciences, and professional studies. Each year, more than 11,000 students choose Buffalo State for its broad array of high-quality and distinctive academic programs, diverse and creative environment, hands-on learning opportunities, affordable SUNY tuition and location in the heart of Buffalo’s cultural corridor.

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