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Interim Siena President Now Permanent

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Siena College has picked its 11th president.  Brother Edward Coughlin, who prefers to be called "Brother Ed," has hit the hallowed Siena grounds just outside Albany running, and believes the timing is "just right."

"Two years in January ago our faculty and a number of administrators came together and had what we call an educational summit. And they began to identify some priorities, strategic direction for the future, and so on and so forth. That was all part of the Middle States Evaluation process, and so, the college successfully completed the Middle States review  process last September, and it's really an opportunity now for us to start to implement the plans and initiatives, things that were raised as possible priorities for the future that we had to move through the accreditation re- accreditation process which is now completed... it's an opportune time to come in when there’s almost a real agenda that's been developing here at the college for the last two years," said Coughlin, who served as Vice President for Franciscan Mission at from St. Bonaventure University and has been involved in Catholic higher education for most of life. He trusteed three years at Siena, a private, liberal arts Franciscan college with about 3,100 undergrads, ascending to Interim President in August when Father Kevin Mullen resigned to become provincial minister of Holy Name Province.    "Look what happens when your 90-day grace period expires," he chuckled.

The presidency runs three years and is subject to periodic review by trustees.  

Junior Patrick Madden is a marketing major at Siena who serves as communications director for the Student Senate.  He says Brother Ed has left a distinct impression on campus.    "When he first got here in September to replace Father Kevin, the very first thing we noticed about him was that he wasn't hiding away in his office. He was always trying to get engaged with the students. And that's something from the student perspective that really stood out to us. It was noticeable, we would eat lunch with him on almost a daily basis, which is something that we've never seen before with any administrator here."

Madden says students were excited by Brother Ed's level of engagement in the community.   "He comes to club events very frequently, social gatherings late at night on the weekends that we have in our student union building. And I just think it's fantastic to see that he's really making an effort to know the students and know what we're looking for from the college."

For his part, Brother Ed is excited about the future awaiting each student and expansion of the school's career center.      "We're here in the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. Down the hall is the Stack  center, which is a business entrepreneurship - we have a new, relatively new mock classroom down the hall, so we have a whole pre-law program and what-not.  We have the Stewart's Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Center over in the school of business, school of science area and our next big project I think is to move our whole career center to a whole new level so we have a whole proposal to really help our students from the time they arrive on campus to begin to think about themselves in terms of 'who am I, who do I  want to become, what are the kinds of opportunities I have here at Siena College that will enable me to develop the skills and abilities I need to really position myself for the kind of career or future I wanna be involved in."

Coughlin says he is committed to helping Siena students attain their personal and professional goals by providing them with academically rigorous and career-focused programs within a liberal arts context steeped in the Franciscan tradition.   Siena numbers among 23 colleges and universities in the Albany area.

While a date for Coughlin’s formal installation has yet to be determined, school officials expect it will occur during the spring 2015 semester.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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