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Brown, Hefner emerge as possible SUNY interim leaders


SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher is expected to recommend two veteran academic leaders as interim presidents at local SUNY campuses during an upcoming board of trustees meeting.

Multiple sources said Ms. Zimpher will recommend the board name SUNY Fredonia President emeritus Dennis L. Hefner as interim president at SUNY Potsdam.

Mr. Hefner, who declined to comment, retired after leading the Fredonia campus for 16 years, during which the campus grew by 25 percent, expanded its graduate programs and improved diversity on campus.

Under Mr. Hefner’s leadership, SUNY Fredonia also expanded its academic programs, creating new colleges of business and education.

Like SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Fredonia, about an hour south of Buffalo, was once considered a “teachers college,” specializing in music education.

SUNY Potsdam College Council Chairman Roger B. Linden said he could not comment on the recommendation.

“Honestly, if I had heard anything, I am not in a position to confirm. If I had not, I am not in a position to deny it,” he said.

Jeremy D. Brown, until recently the president of Dowling College, Long Island, has emerged as a possible candidate for SUNY Canton, said multiple sources who declined to be identified. Mr. Brown served as Canton’s provost from 2003 to 2007.

After leaving SUNY Canton, Mr. Brown became president of Edinboro University, Pennsylvania, but has kept a home in the town of Canton.

The school will enjoy familiar leadership if Mr. Brown is selected, said Canton Town Supervisor David T. Button, a member of the Save Our SUNY Canton task force.

“I had heard that name about a week ago and it is great that we might have someone coming to Canton who knows a little bit about us and understands the relationship between the school and the community,” he said. “We’ll look forward to sitting down with him and the senior staff and letting them know we want him to have a healthy, vibrant and prosperous relationship.”

Mr. Brown is also a finalist for the presidencies at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D., and Portland Community College in Oregon.

Mr. Hefner would replace John F. Schwaller, who will resign in July after more than seven years leading SUNY Potsdam. Mr. Schwaller has not announced his plans.

Mr. Brown would replace interim SUNY Canton President Carli S. Schiffner, who took the position Sept. 1 after longtime President Joseph L. Kennedy stepped down. Ms. Schiffner will take over as president of Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee, Wash.

Those recommendations, if made, deliver on Ms. Zimpher’s promise to name a unique interim leader for each campus.

The colleges await permission from Ms. Zimpher to begin their search for a permanent president. Leaders at each school said permission could come later this year.

Ms. Zimpher will make the recommendations during the March 17 and 18 board meeting in Purchase.

SUNY administrators declined to comment Thursday.

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