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Office of the President, SUNY Orange

Dr. Young at CommencementDr. Kristine Young

A collaborative leader who has aligned with colleagues and external partners to grow enrollment and reshape the daily experience for the community college students of today, SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine Young is simultaneously assuring that the College will be viable and thriving through its upcoming 75th anniversary and well beyond.

Strategic approaches to improving support services, acquiring transformational federal and state grants, and blending the best elements of Guided Pathways principles with the College’s historic academic strengths have positioned SUNY Orange to better serve students and the community-at-large. New degree programs in web development and healthcare administration are creating pathways to career opportunities for students, and the College has just expanded its renowned nursing program on the Newburgh campus by 50 percent to help address growing shortages of skilled nurses in the Hudson Valley.

While the College’s degree programs remain as strong as ever, students have greater access to academic assistance along with a wide range of health and wellness programs. SUNY Orange continues to “Move Students from Surviving the Thriving” via its PROSPERAR programming funded by a U.S. Department of Education Title V grant that supports recruitment and retention. The College is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and is designated as Military Friendly. Grant-funded support initiatives like the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Advancing Success in Associate Pathways (ASAP) program are supporting students by helping them bypass obstacles that have previously hindered their progress.

Transfer agreements with four-year higher education institutions (SUNY Empire, Pace, New Paltz and Mount St. Mary College, for example) have created additional opportunities for students to advance their education beyond SUNY Orange. Partnerships with local businesses including LEGOLAND New York Resort and Amazon are expanding access to SUNY Orange courses for those employees.

As a result, SUNY Orange enrollment has increased for five successive academic sessions (Spring, Summer and Fall of 2023, and Winter and Spring 2024) while national enrollment trends for community colleges have rebounded more slowly in the wake of a decade of declines.

Dr. Young with Djean NikitovWhile academics are one pillar of the community college mission, Young, in her ninth year as president, is positioning SUNY Orange to more robustly address its role in supporting regional economic development. Informed by community partners, the College is identifying and delivering workforce certification and training programs, and other educational services that lead to sustainable wages and employment growth for area residents. The College has supported the formation of Orange County FoodTEC in order to create a workforce and skills development training and education center at SUNY Orange that ultimately will combine a commercial kitchen, classroom space and training event space into a flagship hub for the College’s food, beverage and hospitality workforce program.

SUNY grant funding has helped the College launch a successful Certified Pharmacy Technician training program that graduated all 15 students from its first cohort and has received additional funding to provide the course to English Language Learners. A partnership with SUNY Ulster allows area students to obtain a Certified Manufacturing Associate certification while a budding relationship with Pine Bush High School allows SUNY Orange to offer industry certification courses in Manufacturing Machine Operator (with a HAAS credential) to adults at the high school during the evenings. An array of new certification programs is scheduled for Spring 2024 as well, with more on the way in areas of advanced manufacturing, healthcare, food, beverage and hospitality.

During Young’s tenure, SUNY Orange has secured nearly $15 million in grants and other funding from local, state and federal agencies that support the College’s successful implementation of SUNY Orange’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025, the roadmap by which SUNY Orange will reach its 75th anniversary in 2025. The current plan is designed for the College to empower student success, strengthen the region’s economic future, and sustain and invigorate its own future. Work has already begun on a refresh of the College’s Vision, Mission, Values and Goals, which will lead to development of a new Strategic Plan 2025-2030 and a refreshed approach for SUNY Orange’s future growth and prosperity.

A native of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Young came to SUNY Orange following a 17-year tenure at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., having served as an associate professor of chemistry, the department chair for natural sciences, and the vice president for academic services. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., and her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her doctorate degree is from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Young was president of NYCCAP, the New York Community College Presidents, during the 2023-24 academic year. She continues to serve as co-chair of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, having been named to that post in February 2022 following five years of service on the Council. She was recently appointed to a three-year term (2024-2027) on the American Association of Community Colleges' Commission on Structured Pathways. From 2019-22, Young served on the AACC Board of Directors, holding membership on its executive committee as well as leading two commissions. She continues to serve on multiple local Boards, including the Orange County Chamber of Commerce.

She lives in the Town of Wallkill with her wife, Cari.