DiStefano Steps Down From Administration Post

After joining the SUNY New Paltz staff in 2008, Vice President for Administration and Finance Jacqueline DiStefano will be leaving to take on a new job.

College President Donald Christian said DiStefano will begin her new position as Vice President for Finance and Business at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 5.

During her time at New Paltz, DiStefano reported to Christian and served as a member of his cabinet, as senior non-academic administrator and chief financial officer.

“I have been responsible for providing leadership, vision and management of the college’s overall financial operations including development and management of the annual operating budget, facilities planning and construction, auxiliaries, human resources and related business activities,” DiStefano said.

DiStefano said she was particularly proud of creating transparency, improving communication and increasing campus knowledge of the college’s finances and budget. Becoming a part of the college administration at the peak of the economic recession when the college was receiving less taxpayer support, DiStefano said her work was heavily influenced by the financial crisis.

“Given these realities and working with two college presidents and other campus leaders, we led a transparent and consultative process to achieve the necessary savings in our budget to realign planned savings with our diminished resources,” DiStefano said. “In our June 2011 Middle Sates re-accreditation, the campus was commended for its transparent communication in its budget-reduction process.”

The physical transformation of campus, such as the renovations to Old Main, Crispell Hall, currently Wooster and eventually the Sojourner Truth Library, is another achievement DiStefano said she was glad to have helped with by directing the facilities team. However, she said she was especially “blessed” to have developed positive relationships with the whole campus community, which has given her support that she has also returned.

Christian said despite challenges, he and DiStefano accomplished many things together, and her guidance has been valuable throughout his presidency.

“Jackie and I have been partners in difficult things — planning and communicating a $6.3 million budget reduction, wading together through Hurricane Irene floodwaters, as well as good things – planning the investment of increased tuition revenue and celebrating the completion of critical construction projects,” Christian said. “Jackie’s adept stewardship of our budgets during very difficult times has put us in excellent financial shape.”

After finalizing a plan for interim leadership of Administration and Finance units, Christian said they will begin a national search for someone to “succeed” DiStefano, which he said was a more appropriate word as she would be “very difficult to replace.”

The search will follow the same procedures used for all upper-level administrators, but Christian said he will not decide on the responsibilities of the interim VP until one is selected.

There will be a farewell reception this fall to honor DiStefano and her contributions and allow faculty and staff to say goodbye, Christian said.

While sad to see her go, Christian said DiStefano’s new position will give her a platform to show all that she is capable of and hopes she is successful.

“St. John Fisher’s enrollments have been growing, their budgets are sound, and Jackie will have many opportunities to apply her talent, experience, and skills to new challenges and problems,” Christian said.

Although excited to bring her 30 years of experience to her new role, DiStefano said she will miss the New Paltz community and helping the college progress.

“I will miss the people: our students, faculty and staff. They are incredibly diverse, dedicated, caring and so believe in all that New Paltz is and can be,” she said. “The college is entering a very exciting time…and I’ll miss being part of these activities that are sure to ensure continued New Paltz success.”