Daily Newspaper Highlights College and President in Article Eyeing Top Potential Stories to Follow in 2018

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange and President Dr. Kristine Young were highlighted in the Jan. 7 issue of the Times Herald-Record as part of the daily newspaper's coverage of "people, pests and projects that may shape the region" in 2018.

As one of "18 to Watch in '18", the College's work addressing enrollment declines and budget challenges was outlined by longtime reporter Chris McKenna.

The entire package of stories, including video of Young, can be found at the Record's website. The video features the third-year president answering several questions related to SUNY Orange's upcoming presence in Port Jervis, grants that will help the College assist students in their efforts to make successful progress toward completion of a degree, and the myth that a community college education in somehow inferior to the programming offered at four-year colleges and universities.

Below is the content of McKenna's profile on SUNY Orange and Young.

SUNY Orange’s Young faces enrollment test

PHOTO: Dr. Kristine YoungThe good news for Kristine Young in her third year as SUNY Orange president is the pile of grants that all came in at the end of 2017, infusing a combined $400,000 into the community college to strengthen its internships with local employers and other aspects of its mission.

The more daunting task she faces in 2018 is countering the enrollment declines and resulting budget crunch that SUNY Orange and other community colleges have experienced. The frustrating paradox for Young and her counterparts around the U.S. is that a rising economy generally means fewer people taking classes at two-year colleges, as the recovery from the 2008 recession has borne out.

Young, a former chemistry teacher and then administrator at Parkland College in Illinois, was hired to lead SUNY Orange in 2015, on the heels of a promising addition: the opening of a $40 million, science-and-engineering center at SUNY Orange’s main campus in Middletown. Yet enrollment has dipped for the last six years, lowering the student count to 5,212 in Middletown and Newburgh for this school year. Facing a $1.6 million projected budget deficit, administrators have offered senior staff members large retirement incentives.

On the positive side, the college plans to open three classrooms in Port Jervis as soon as March to expand its reach into the western end of the county, and perhaps boost enrollment. The course offerings in Port Jervis have yet to be determined, although Young said surveys of residents have indicated strong interest in business classes. The first year, she said, is likely to be an experimental one.

Young is also excited about the recent flurry of grants, one of which will enable the school to provide emergency aid to students coping with personal crises such as a car accident or heat shutoff. Another will let the college dedicate a staff member to coordinating internships and making sure that courses and employers’ needs are aligned.

Like other community colleges, SUNY Orange has the challenging mission of educating students with widely varying ages, abilities and goals, and contending with ever-growing responsibilities and limited funding. Young said her pitch to high school students and their parents emphasizes the rigor of SUNY Orange’s courses and the single-minded devotion of its faculty to teaching, as opposed to research and publishing.

“I think we do phenomenal work with the budget that we have,” she said.


» Back to Headlines

Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940