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SUNY Trustee Stephen J. Hunt ’72 to Speak at Leadership Conference on Nov. 12


Stephen J. Hunt, a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees, will give the keynote address on Thursday, Nov. 12, as part of SUNY Cortland’s “Fire It Up: Lead the Way to Change” Leadership Conference.

Drawing on his 35 years of experience in the public and private sector, Hunt will discuss the importance of leadership development in today’s rapidly changing global community from 12:30-1:15 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room.

Presented by the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement (ICE), the one-day conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the College’s Corey Union. Geared to students, community members, faculty and staff, the day’s presentations are free and open to the public, but registration is required. The full schedule, online registration form and a complete list of presenters are available on Cortland’s ICE Web site at:

The conference launches SUNY Cortland’s Building Community Leaders project, for which SUNY Cortland received a $247,000 federal grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education last spring with the help of U.S. Rep. Michael A. Arcuri (D-Utica, N.Y.).

“It is very exciting to be hosting this inaugural event in our Building Community Leaders project,” said Christopher Latimer, associate director of the ICE and conference coordinator. “We are hoping to inspire and motivate all those who attend to participate actively in improving their communities.”

The congressionally directed funding underwrites a three-year initiative to develop a leadership program at the College for the next generation of community leaders. Students in this program develop the self-awareness and confidence to seek out and assume leadership roles locally, in their own communities, the state and the nation.

A 1972 SUNY Cortland graduate, Hunt was appointed by Gov. George Pataki in 1996 to chair SUNY Cortland’s College Council. As chairman through 2005-06, he was instrumental in obtaining funding for the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex, the first major facility to be constructed at the College since 1973. In 2003, he led a nationwide search that resulted in the selection of Cortland’s current president, Erik J. Bitterbaum. He also served on the search committee for SUNY chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

Hunt, of Katonah, N.Y., is currently the president of Seven Valley Associates, a real estate consulting firm. Previously, he served as president and CEO of the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). Appointed to the state’s affordable housing finance agencies by Gov. Pataki in May 1995, he served until December 2006.

The conference also features a morning plenary session and workshops.

• Plenary speakers Tom Gallagher, the Cortland mayor, and Tom Young, the former mayor of Syracuse, will present “Make an Impact in Public Service: A Community Career Panel.” These local community leaders will offer insights into why community service is important and share strategies for getting into the field of community service.

Workshops include the following sessions from which participants may choose:

• Mariana Lebron, the founder and consultant of Soul Vision, will present “The Power of You: Social Change in Action.” In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the social change model of leadership development. Currently enrolled as a doctoral student with a focus on strategic change management in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, Lebron’s interests lie in organizational change management in regards to corporate social responsibility, corporate governance and executive compensation. Often hired for change-agent tasks, the company she founded in 2008 is designed to provide educational services to organizations in the areas of leadership development and strategic change management. She has spoken to regional and national groups for 15 years on topics including leadership development, social change and diversity advocacy, outreach, academic-student affairs collaboration and the first year experience. Lebron has received numerous awards and honors for her leadership.

• Joel McCarthy, associate dean of students at Wells College, will present a workshop titled “Anatomy of an Effective Leader.” McCarthy will provide an overview of the many qualities society admires in a good leader and discuss how individuals can assess their own personal strengths and challenges. McCarthy has a strong background in leadership development and training and has taught leadership courses at Syracuse University focused on the social change model for leadership development. He has presented at both regional and national conferences on topics of leadership.

• SUNY Cortland students from the Political Science and Education clubs will offer their stories and ideas for developing “Skills for Active Student Leadership.”

• Mac M. Knight, principal at Cortland Junior-Senior High School, will discuss “Understanding Global Leadership: Building Bridges across the Multi-Cultural Divide.” Leadership success is unattainable without intercultural competence and cross-cultural adaptability, according to Knight. His workshop provides participants with the tools to develop leadership skills that allow them to function more effectively in this culturally diverse society by building bridges of understanding.

The conference is sponsored by SUNY Cortland’s ICE, the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, Leadership Cortland, SUNY Cortland AmeriCorps, The Corporation for National and Community Service and the Cortland County Youth Bureau.

For more information, contact Latimer at (607) 753-4802.