Former Provost Lavallee To Return To New Paltz


After leaving SUNY New Paltz four years ago, David Lavallee will be returning next spring.

The Journal News recently reported that SUNY will begin a search for a new provost once Lavallee steps down from the position on July 31. According to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, she is in the process of finding an interim provost to fulfill the role once Lavallee returns to New Paltz.

In a recent statement, Zimpher said Lavallee’s leadership has lead to “unprecedented strides” in SUNY academic affairs.

“The entire university system has reaped the benefits of David’s vision, knowledge and commitment to building a stronger university,” Zimpher said.

In his press release, SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian said that when Lavallee had left the position of Provost at New Paltz in 2009, it would not be the last New Paltz saw of him. Christian said both the university and Lavallee agreed that, at some point, Lavallee would return to the Hudson Valley.

Christian also said Lavallee will be taking a study leave during the fall 2013 semester, but will resume his duties at New Paltz with the title of University Professor, which will cover a broader spectrum in terms of duties in the SUNY system.

“This is a title that the Board of Trustees may confer on senior leaders stepping down from their administrative roles who take on new responsibilities beyond the normal scope of faculty work,” Christian said in the press release.

Lavallee was SUNY New Paltz’s Provost for a decade, beginning in 1999. Dean of Science and Engineering Daniel Freedman started with Lavallee that year, as an assistant professor in the chemistry department. Freedman said he is looking forward to Lavallee’s return in 2014.

“I have a great deal of admiration for him across the board,” Freedman said. “He is an excellent administrator. We were really looking forward for him to come back to the chemistry department when he stepped down as provost.”

Lavallee, who earlier in his career was a researcher at CUNY, taught inorganic chemistry on different occasions. Freedman said when Lavallee would teach classes, students responded well to him and said they “gained a lot” from Lavallee’s instruction.

Freedman said while it is unclear what Lavallee’s exact duties will be once he starts, he believes what he has to offer as someone who has worked both at a SUNY school and in the system will be able to offer SUNY as a whole.

“I think having that view from the systems, one of the things the chancellor has been emphasizing for the past couple of years is what she calls ‘systemness,’” he said. “Like a lot of other state institutions, the universities tend to behave like separate institutions. I think her point of view is that there’s a lot to gain by coordinating the campuses in some respects. Having someone like David who understands where they [SUNY] are trying to go with the system from an inside point of view will have a good idea on how to direct campuses toward that.”