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SUNY Orange Rowley Center

Board of Trustees

The SUNY Orange Board of Trustees is comprised of 10 members who together govern the College. Five trustees are appointed by the Orange County Executive with the approval of the County Legislature, and four are assigned by the Governor of the State of New York. The tenth member is a student who is elected by the student body at large and maintains full voting rights. All trustees are appointed to seven-year terms, except for the student trustee who completes a one-year term.

The Board of Trustees follows a set of bylaws in order to provide fiduciary oversight of the College. The Board also approves all College policies, and has established committees to assist the Board in conducting its business.


Ralph Martucci Jr. (Chair)

Ralph MartucciAppointed by Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus on May 18, 2018, Ralph Martucci is a Finance Executive with more than 35 years of experience in financial management, operations and business development. A resident of the Town of Wawayanda, he is currently the Director of Business Development for M&R Energy Resources Corp. in New Windsor. Ralph was previously Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Alteva Inc., formerly WVT Communications. Prior to joining Alteva, he was Director of Corporate Business Operations for the Dow Jones Local Media Group. Ralph has previously served on the Board of Directors of the SUNY Orange Foundation, including a 10-year stint as Chairman. He was recently appointed Director Emeritus of the SUNY Orange Foundation, in recognition of his longtime service to organization. Ralph has served on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce since 1992 and currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair.

  • Appointed: 7/1/2018
  • Current term expires: 6/30/2028
  • Hometown: Middletown
  • County appointment

Thomas Weddell (Vice Chair)

Thomas WeddellAppointed by Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus on May 18, 2018, Tom Weddell is a managing partner with RBT CPAs and has been with the firm for 40 years. His industry experience includes, but is not limited to, transportation, manufacturing, non-profit, and wholesale, retail, and distribution. Tom’s various community affiliations include serving as a founding member of the Orange County Community Foundation. He has also worked on the Board of Directors of Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress and is currently serving on the board of directors for The Newburgh Armory Unity Center and the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

  • Appointed: 7/1/2018
  • Current term expires: 12/31/2025
  • Hometown: Newburgh
  • County appointment

Maria Bruni (Secretary)

Maria BruniAppointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 17, 2021, Maria Bruni is currently the economic and community development director for the City of Middletown. She administers the city’s annual Community Development Block Grant that is allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  She is also responsible for applying for, and managing, other state, federal, local grants as well as business development. In her current role, she administers two public authority agencies: the City of Middletown Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and the Community Development Agency.

A lieftime resident of Middletown, she has worked for the City for 27 years, having begun her career in public service as an intern in 1994 and gradually gaining roles of increasing responsibility. In 1996, the city placed the Historic Paramount Theatre under her direction. In 2000, she was also appointed to lead the newly created Cultural and Civic Affairs Department before moving to her current role in 2010.

She oversaw the city’s successful application for a New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2016, which awarded the city $10 million for the redevelopment of downtown Middletown. She also oversaw the redevelopment of the Historic Paramount Theatre, which included improvements to the building while ensuring the iconic Middletown theater was placed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places.

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Middletown Business Improvement District since 2003 and currently serves as board president. She was appointed to the New York State Bridge Authority Board of Commissioners in 2020 and serves as vice chair. She is also a member of the Middletown Rotary Club, Friends of Middletown Thrall Library and the HOME Committee for the County of Orange.

  • Appointed: 3/17/2021
  • Term expires: 6/30/2022
  • Hometown: Middletown
  • Governor's appointment

Florence Hannes

Florence HannesAppointed by Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus on May 18, 2018, Flo Hannes recently retired following 40 years as a professor and department chair (since 2001) in SUNY Orange’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program. Flo has served on numerous advisory boards and with many community organizations, including the SUNY Orange BRIDGES Advisory Board, the New York State Regents Board for Occupational Therapy, the Orange County Office for the Aging and the Orange County Mental Health Association. She is a resident of Salisbury Mills.

  • Appointed: 7/1/2018
  • Current term expires: 6/30/2028
  • Hometown: Salisbury Mills
  • County appointment

Thomas H. Hunter

PHOTO: Thomas HunterAppointed December 8, 2010.  Tom Hunter is the Vice-President and Senior Relationship Manager for the Income Property Group of Key Bank in Manhattan.   He is a life-long County resident, who grew up on a dairy farm in Blooming Grove, NY. Tom is a current member of the Urban Land Institute, New Jersey Apartment Association, Real Estate Finance Association of Connecticut, Apartment Association of Greater Philadelphia, New Jersey Future, New Jersey Mortgage Banker Association, the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties, and the Hamptonburgh Democratic Committee. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Orange County United Way, Hudson Valley Better Business Bureau, and the Warwick Rotary Club. He has supported many local charities and organizations, and volunteered for numerous community service projects and youth sports programs. Tom earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and an MBA from Pace University, Pleasantville, N.Y. He is an avid cyclist, golfer, skier and squash and tennis player. Tom and his wife Cathie live in Campbell Hall.

  • Appointed: 11/2/10
  • Current term expires: 6/30/17
  • Hometown: Campbell Hall
  • Governor's appointment

Frederick A. Watson

PHOTO: Frederick A. WatsonAppointed on November 29, 2013.  Frederick A. Watson is presently the president of Three Cities Management LLC (formally Watson Services, Inc.), an institutional food service management and consulting firm headquartered in Middletown, New York.  A certified food executive, certified food service director and a certified food service sanitation manager, Watson possesses more than 35 years of food management experience. Prior to establishing Three Cities Management, he was vice president of Ja-Ce Company, Inc., a New Jersey food service management company where he developed and implemented policies, procedures and budget forecasts for more than 50 school districts in central New Jersey. 

While at Ja-Ce Company, Watson was president of Jersey Associated Commercial Equipment, Inc., a Ja-Ce subsidiary. Additionally, Watson is a Certified ServSafe® Instructor and Registered

ServSafe Examination Proctor for the National Restaurant Association. He received his master’s degree in food service administration from New York University and his bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Virginia State University. Watson recently served on the boards of Teamsters Local 445 Health, Welfare, Pension, Annuity and Training Funds, and has served on the Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., the Industrial, Technical and Professional Employees-National Maritime Union/Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (ITPE-NMU/MEBA) Annual Benefit Fund, and as an alternate trustee of the ITPE-NMU/MEBA Health and Welfare Fund. Additionally, served as an adjunct professor at Long Island University-C.W. Post campus where he taught Food Service Management II to dietetic students for several years.

  • Appointed: 1/14/14
  • Current term expires: 6/30/26
  • Hometown: Newburgh
  • County appointment

Nicholas Illobre

Board Member Nick Illobre

Nicholas Illobre has been appointed to the SUNY Orange Board of Trustees. Illobre, a Town of Wawayanda resident, has been a member of the SUNY Orange Foundation Board of Directors since 1998. He spent two years as Board chair and continues to serve on the Executive Committee and as chair of the Board Development and Human Resources committees. In addition, his list of civic and community service over the years is both lengthy and impressive.

Illobre, who graduated from SUNY Orange in 1971 and received the College’s inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award in 1988, was president and CEO of KnappQuest HR Inc., until he retired in 2013. He retired from Orange and Rockland Utilities in 2008, where he had risen to the role of Director of Human Resources. With previous experience in healthcare and manufacturing, Illobre is well-versed in a cross-section of industries. He is a longtime member and former president of the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the Society for Human Resources, which recognized him as Human Resources Professional of the Year in 2001.

Over the years, Illobre has contributed his time and talents to the following organizations: Inspire, Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Middletown Civil Service Commission, American Cancer Society, St. Thomas Aquinas College, BOCES and the Orange County Community College Alumni Association. He is also a volunteer firefighter and an officer-at-large of his fire company in Middletown.

Full terms for SUNY Orange Trustees are typically seven years. Illobre was appointed to a term that will expire on June 30, 2024.

  • Appointed: 10/19/2022
  • Current term expires: 6/30/24
  • Hometown: Middletown
  • County appointment


Karen Mejia

Board Member Karen Mejia

Karen Mejia, appointed by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. 

Mejia, a resident of the City of Newburgh, possesses more than 25 years of professional experience working with public/private partnerships including the non-profit sector, community development and governmental policy. She has designed, managed and implemented local venture capital and voluntary sector finance initiatives in Africa and Latin America aimed at developing linkages between small and medium enterprises.

She has also organized conferences and symposia on issues ranging from local hiring and career paths to housing rights and economic development. A former council member in the City of Newburgh, she worked with her colleagues to address the foreclosure and rental crisis in her community. Mejia is currently an assistant director at the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds and is a founding member of Local Progress NY and serves on other local boards within the community.

A native of El Salvador who migrated to the United States at the age of 8, Mejia earned a master’s degree from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She and her partner live in the City of Newburgh where they are raising their daughter and their Siberian husky.   

  • Appointed: 8/26/2022
  • Current term expires: 6/30/24
  • Hometown: Newburgh
  • Governor's appointment

Djean Nikitov (Student Trustee)

Djean NikitovA native of Montevideo, Uraguay, Djean Nikitov moved to Orange County in December 2021 to begin his pursuit of a business management degree at SUNY Orange. Since arriving at the College, he has been a constant student presence on both campuses and has become active within the College community. Currently residing in Middletown, Nikitov is a member of the student-run Board of Activities and is on the Student Senate. He works as a student ambassador with the Admissions Office and is a peer orientation leader for the College’s PROSPERAR program (a federally funded Title V initiative). He has also been a member of the Business Club.

Last year, Nikitov joined two of his fellow SUNY Orange senators as they participated in the SUNY Student Assembly’s “Advocacy Day” in Albany, joining their classmates from across SUNY to call upon the state’s legislators for support. The students were requesting that the state increase Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) income eligibility, increase the minimum TAP award, increase TAP and Excelsior Scholarship funding, and increase funding for on-campus mental health services.

At the start of the Fall 2023 semester, Nikitov was chosen to cut the ribbon on a newly renovated 8,000-square-foot student lounge on the first floor of the Shepard Student Center on the College’s Middletown campus.

“Coming to this country and SUNY Orange has been the experience of my life. The biggest take away, besides the academics, is the second family I made here,” he says. “I’m honored to be a student Trustee and look forward to representing all of the students at SUNY Orange.”

His term will conclude at the Board’s June 2024 meeting.