Interim president and provost named
By Katie EllisC. Peter Magrath (pictured), who served as president of Binghamton University 1972-74, has been nominated by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher to serve as interim president of Binghamton University while a national search is underway for a permanent hire.
Zimpher made the announcement at a news conference in May, held at the University’s Biotechnology Building. In making the announcement, Zimpher said Magrath’s "most compelling attribute is his long history of academic leadership at like-minded research universities."
Magrath, senior presidential advisor at The College Board since 2006, served as interim president at West Virginia University between 2008 and 2009. From 1992 through 2005, he served as president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges — now the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) — the nation's oldest higher education association with a membership of 218 public research universities located in all 50 states.
The SUNY Board of Trustees is expected to unanimously approve Magrath for the interim position at its June meeting, said Carl Hayden, board chair.
"We searched the entire United States and we found the strongest person in America and the best credentialed person to hold this job," Hayden said. "He has held as many leadership positions as it's possible to hold, and we can't help but be struck by the rich accomplishments of his life story."
Magrath, who was last on campus in 1998, when he was awarded an honorary degree, will assume his duties on July 1. He noted that he expects to "hit the ground running." Magrath's mission "is to promote the further development and forward progress of Binghamton University," he said.
"I'll learn what needs to be addressed and don't intend to be a placeholder," he added.
When asked about dealing with budget fall-out, Magrath said the campus will have to take on that challenge. "I like challenges and I'm euphoric right now. We've got challenges and have to be nimble," he said. "I hope we can get flexibility for the whole SUNY system and use our resources for the purposes of research and keeping engaged in our community."
Magrath has also identified his choice for interim provost — Jean-Pierre Mileur, former dean of Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, and professor and chair of English.
Following Magrath's appointment, Mileur would also assume his duties on July 1.
"As a former dean of Harpur College, I'm very excited to have the opportunity to move the educational and intellectual agenda of the campus forward in any way I can, despite the difficult budget situation," Mileur said.