VP Laundry announces plans to step down
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 19:09
It was like a scene from a movie, Vice President of Student Affairs Bill Laundry said.
Standing at the top of an escalator at an alumni reception in New York City in June, Laundry was greeted by a stream of former friends, colleagues and co-workers as they made their way into the event.
“Coming up the escalator are people from all the years. Here’s somebody from the ’70s, here comes somebody from the ’80s, the ’90s. Sometimes I could recognize the person, sometimes I couldn’t but I was sort of a common denominator for all these people,” Laundry said.
The surreal scene helped cap Laundry’s 43-year career at Plattsburgh State, a career which he announced Wednesday would end with his retirement effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The decision to retire came at a time when Laundry said he felt confident enough, both in his own condition and in the condition of the school, to step down and rethink his academic involvement. Laundry said the current stability of the academic
budget as well as PSUC’s recent reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education strengthened his decision that it was time to leave.
Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman was chosen as interim vice president while a national search is conducted to find a replacement for the position.
Laundry said he intends to remain actively involved with campus affairs and said he will enjoy the flexibility to help wherever he feels needed.
“It’s not as if I’m going cold turkey,” he said.
Laundry said he would like to become more involved in alumni affairs and attend more alumni events at which he said alumnae can reconnect.
While Laundry’s lengthy career has given him a long list of former colleagues to reconnect with, he said he began his career at PSUC in 1969 unsure of if he was fit for his position as housing director.
It wasn’t until he was appointed director of residence life that Laundry began to feel that he had enough responsibilities to remain committed to his continued involvement with PSUC.
That involvement led Laundry to a number of different positions, from dean of students to director of campus life. PSUC President John Ettling said that throughout Laundry’s career he always worked to provide for and respect the students he served.
“He’s given his life to them. He’s up on the campus all the time, he stays late at night, he comes back after going home for events in the evenings, on the weekends, and he’s been doing this for over 40 years and that’s extraordinary,” Ettling said.
To describe how long he had been a member of the campus staff, Laundry recalled being hired by former Assistant to the President Olive Flynt, for whom the Flynt Commons are named, and working under former PSUC President George Angell, for whom the Angell College Center is named.
In 2006, Laundry was awarded his own namesake location on campus when the office of the Student Association was renamed the William D. Laundry Suite, an ode to his involvement with the organization.
Hartman said he believes Laundry’s relationship with the Student Association and his help in developing its role on campus are some of Laundry’s most notable career accomplishments.
“In terms of how the Student Association works with the college administration, that relationship is owed a lot to Bill and his leadership and his modeling of that leadership,” Hartman said.
Having worked directly and indirectly with Laundry since joining the campus staff in 1993, Hartman said he is glad that Laundry is exploring new opportunities but will miss his presence on campus.
“I just am so blessed for the opportunities he has provided me, this institution has provided me, and I give him, if not all, most of the credit for that,” Hartman said.
Hartman said it will be a unique challenge to fill the position, but he hopes to maintain the stable department environment that Laundry has worked to build.
“We are different people, but I think I value many of the same things that he values, but by the nature of him stepping down, it’s going to create change,” Hartman said. “My hope is to be sensitive to that, to work with my colleagues and try to make this as smooth of an interim time as possible and allow the search process to unfold. We’ll see what the more permanent future will hold after the search process.”
Ettling expressed confidence in Hartman that he will use his experience to serve well in the position until a replacement can be found.
“I’ve worked with Bryan since I’ve been here, and I’ve grown to respect him and to value his service to the college and his advice,” Ettling said.
Ettling said the search for a replacement for the position is expected to be finished by July 1.