President Casamento Announces This is Her Last Academic Year
A message from Utica University President Laura Casamento:
August 22, 2022
Dear Members of the Utica University Community,
When I interviewed to be president in February of 2016, I commented that I had no desire to be a college president. I desired only to be Utica College’s president. That opportunity and the responsibility with which I was entrusted six years ago – to lead this great institution, embrace its remarkable history, and work alongside you to steward its future success – has truly been the greatest privilege of my career.
It is with these feelings of gratitude and privilege that I share with you that this academic year will be my last as president of Utica University. After many conversations and careful consideration with my husband, I informed the Board of Trustees on Friday that I will be retiring on July 31, 2023.
Let me first address the most immediate question that this announcement likely raises. Why now? There is not a singular best answer, other than the timing is right, both for my family and for the University. In recent years, Phil and I have suffered losses and faced life-threatening illness. While I am happy to share that our family is well – and as many of you know we were blessed with the addition of our sixth grandchild this summer – it is fair to say that these experiences, collectively, have made the runway to retirement a bit shorter than we may have envisioned it two or three years ago.
At the same time, I have always believed it is better to leave too early than to stay too long. Shortly after being appointed president, one of the first questions I was asked was how long I thought I would go on serving in the position. The average tenure for a college president is six to eight years. I thought at the time, “That seems about right.” Having reflected over the summer about all of what we’ve accomplished together over the past six years and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, I’ve concluded that the timing of this decision – after what will be seven years as president and nearly twenty as a member of this community – still seems about right.
As I looked seriously and honestly at my future and what lies ahead for the University over the next three to four years, I knew in my heart that I was not going to be here as president beyond the current Strategic Plan, which we are well on our way toward implementing. With initial groundwork for the next plan likely to begin during the 2023-2024 academic year, timing, as they say, is everything, and this timing just makes good sense.
Throughout my time as a member of this community, and particularly during these past six, I have been fortunate and grateful to have your support, both personally and professionally. Together, we have endured more than our share of challenges, sorrow, and pain. We have dealt with and persevered through unimaginable crises, a seemingly never-ending succession of curveballs, and the loss of loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Through it all, this community has risen to the challenge and supported each other. For that, I cannot put into words my appreciation for all of you.
For all of the lows, there have been many more highs. We have accomplished so much, and there is much more well within our reach. I have shared with the Board of Trustees a detailed transition plan that includes a very ambitious set of goals and targets for the next year. In the coming days, you can expect to hear from Board Chair Robert Brvenik ’77 about next steps regarding a presidential search. In the meantime, I can proudly assure you that the work of ensuring this strong university thrives in the future will continue to have my undivided attention, energy, and commitment.
So the goodbyes can wait for a later time. The work begins anew tomorrow, Move-In Day, when we welcome our newest students to our learning community, before coming together on Friday to inaugurate our 76th academic year.
I thank you all for your support of me and each other and for your partnership in the important work of preparing our students for successful lives and preparing this institution for an even more remarkable next seventy-five years. I look forward to a successful year as we continue to move Utica University forward, together.
Laura M. Casamento, President