Provost Ponton Recommended as Interim President
The Buffalo State College Council announced Monday that it will recommend Dennis K. Ponton, provost and vice president for academic affairs, as interim president of the college, effective August 1. Ponton’s recommendation is expected to be confirmed later this month at a meeting of the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees.
SUNY bylaws charge the College Council, a committee composed of 10 members—nine appointees of the governor of New York and one elected student representative—with selection of the interim president and coordination of the formal search process. Over the past three weeks, opinions of college and community leaders and constituent groups were sought through individual and group meetings, as well as a special Web site.
“After several weeks of consultations with various campus and community stakeholders, we are confident that Provost Ponton has the exemplary leadership and breadth of administrative and scholarly experience to lead Buffalo State in a seamless transition to a new president,” said College Council Vice Chair Howard A. Zemsky, who heads the Presidential Search Committee. “We thank everyone for their thoughtful input and the speed with which they responded.”
Ponton has devoted his career to higher education, including 32 years of faculty and administrative roles at Buffalo State. He joined the college as a faculty member in 1977 and served as interim provost from 1998 to 2000 before being appointed to his current position in 2003.
He holds a B.A. in biology, an M.S. in zoology, and a Ph.D. in agricultural biochemistry from West Virginia University. Before coming to Buffalo State, he held faculty appointments at the Pennsylvania State University and at West Virginia University. Prior to his current position as provost, Ponton served as chair and associate professor of the Nutrition and Food Science Department, interim dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Education, and associate vice president for budget and planning in Academic Affairs.
Ponton is also the operations manager for the Buffalo State College Research Foundation, accreditation liaison officer to the Middle State Commission on Higher Education, and convener for the Buffalo Niagara Council of Chief Academic Officers.
“I am honored by the recommendation and appreciate the support of the College Council,” Ponton said. “I look forward to continuing the positive outcome and momentum established by Dr. Howard’s leadership.”
Muriel A. Howard, Buffalo State’s current president, announced in March that she had accepted a new position as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), in Washington, D.C. In coming weeks, Zemsky will oversee the formation and convening of a formal presidential search committee charged with selecting a new president within the next year.