Among the new faces at SUNY Cobleskill when the fall semester began Monday was Marion Terenzio, a musician, an athlete, and since July 1, when she took over as president, arguably the college's biggest fan and loudest advocate.
Dr. Terenzio, most recently vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Bloomfield College in New Jersey, was named SUNY Cobleskill president in January, replacing Acting President Debra Thatcher.
Dr. Terenzio's first day in the new post was July 1; last Wednesday, the day before freshmen filled the campus, she spoke about her vision for SUNY Cobleskill as a model for sustainability for not only the SUNY system, but the entire Northeast.
"The premier model of sustainability," Dr. Terenzio said.
Dr. Terenzio was at Bloomfield College for 10 years and prior to that, was at the Albany area's Sage Colleges for 26 years, working as an associate professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, professor in the Department of Psychology, and as vice president for Campus Life.
She earned a bachelor's degree in music from Vassar College, a master's degree in music therapy from Michigan State University, a second master's in Community Psychology from the Sage Graduate School, and a PhD in Ecological and Community Psychology from MSU.
It's the experience and expertise she earned in those places, she said, that will let her build on what SUNY Cobleskill's already known for and take it to the next level.
"Cobleskill has natural sciences down," Dr. Terenzio said. "What I bring to the table are the other pieces. What is everyone talking, thinking about? Energy, food, social justice issues...the humanities are more important then ever.
"How do they all fit together in a sustainable way? That's a question SUNY Cobleskill can answer."
Sustainability also comes into play in the classroom, Dr. Terenzio said; students who can transfer diverse skills from one job-or career-to another, who are good at critical thinking and problem-solving, will always have work.
"Whether we're talking about creating energy through gasification, researching plants that can survive on a single drop of water, or helping farmers deal with unwanted plastic, it all comes together," she said.
"It's all part of the natural world and everyone here gets it. I didn't have to sell it. They see it."
If a sense of community is important on-campus, it's also important off campus, Dr. Terenzio said.
Her office is already at work on a President's Roundtable that will bring in a speaker on economic development from Governor Cuomo's office this fall.
The roundtable will be followed by a summit, also with a focus on economic development and how the college and community can work together to take the next step.
Dr. Terenzio grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, a twin, who could have been a professional athlete.
But because this was before Title XI helped open up sports to women, she studied music and music therapy instead, developing skills she's put to good use in her career as a college administrator.