Central Lawn on College’s Newburgh Campus Named in Honor of Retiring Senator William J. Larkin Jr.

PHOTO: Senator William J. Larkin Jr. addresses the audienceMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange officially named the central lawn on its Newburgh campus as the “William J. Larkin Jr. Plaza” during a dedication ceremony on Friday, Sept. 7. Held indoors due to inclement weather, the event allowed the College’s Board of Trustees to show its appreciation for the Senator’s longtime support of the College and his efforts more than a decade ago to bring the Newburgh campus to fruition.

A sizable collection of College officials and employees, local dignitaries, elected officials, community members and veterans crowded into the Orange Bank and Trust Great Room to share in the celebration.

The SUNY Orange Board of Trustees unanimously approved the naming this past summer, paving the way for the College to formally memorialize the Senator’s legacy as a champion for higher education, the College, its students and the greater Newburgh area throughout his remarkable career as a public servant.

More than a decade ago, Larkin was among several key local proponents who believed access to higher education was critical to the City of Newburgh’s revitalization. Larkin and Newburgh philanthropist William Kaplan actively partnered with the College to lobby for state and county funding to help SUNY Orange expand its Newburgh Extension Center into a full-fledged branch campus. Kaplan pledged a sizable $10 million donation from his Kaplan Family Foundations while Larkin elicited needed support at the state level. Leaders from Orange County government and the City of Newburgh were also integral supporters of the project.

PHOTO: SUNY Orange Trustees join Senator Larkin in celebrating the naming of Larkin Plaza on the Newburgh CampusThe College’s branch campus application was approved in October 2008. Newly constructed Kaplan Hall welcomed students for the first time in January 2011 and the renovated Tower Building opened in January 2012. Combined, the two buildings allowed the College to double its capacity to educate students in Newburgh. Today, the campus continues to serve more than 1,500 full- and part-time students, offering seven full degree programs as well as an array of general education courses connected to the College’s broader listing of degrees that can be attained through study at the Middletown campus.

More recently, Larkin has staunchly supported the College’s BRIDGES program, which offers a post-secondary educational experience for students with intellectual, developmental, and autism spectrum disabilities. The program, available for students who meet basic eligibility requirements, provides an inclusive, community-based educational framework for students with intellectual disabilities (ID), developmental disabilities (DD) or autism spectrum disabilities (ASD). It began in 2015 and has received state funding support thanks to Larkin’s efforts.


Top photo: Senator William J. Larkin Jr. addresses the audience during a SUNY Orange ceremony on Sept. 7 in which the College named the central lawn on its Newburgh campus as the William J. Larkin Jr. Plaza. The naming honor was unanimously approved by the College’s Board of Trustees in appreciation of the retiring Senator’s longtime support of SUNY Orange, particularly his work more than a decade ago to garner local and state support for creation of the campus. The Newburgh campus is enjoying record enrollment totals this Fall, with more than 1,570 students registered for classes.

Lower photo: Joining Senator Larkin (fourth from left) were, from left, Trustee Ralph Martucci, SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine Young, Trustee Sister Margaret Murphy, Trustee Joan Wolfe and Trustee Fred Watson.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940