Presidents of the College

Edmund Gibbons

Bishop Edmund F. Gibbons, 1920-1949

Edmund Gibbons was born on September 16, 1868 in White Plains, NY. After attending Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, he graduated from Niagara University. He spent four years at the American College, Rome, where he was ordained on May 27, 1893 by Cardinal Parocchi. After ordination, he became a priest in the Buffalo Diocese. He was appointed Bishop of Albany on March 10, 1919 and was ordained on March 25, 1919. On April 1, 1919, he was installed into the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Archbishop Hayes of New York.

He believed highly in Catholic education and, in 1920, he encouraged the Sisters of Saint Joseph to establish The College of Saint Rose. He told Saint Rose students that he believed the three cornerstones of education were: "Bonitatem, Disciplinam, and Scientiam" (Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge).

In 1923, he opened Catholic Central High School in Troy, NY, and in 1937, he approved plans by the Franciscan Fathers for the building of Siena College. He had erected more than 40 parishes and made many semi-annual tours of the diocese for administering the Sacrament of Confirmation. He also established “The Evangelist,” a weekly edition dealing with Catholic interests.

Bishop Gibbons retired as Bishop of Albany on November 10, 1954 and died Bishop Emeritus of Albany on June 19, 1964. St. Edmund Hall, now Gibbons Hall, was named in honor of our first President.

Rose of Lima Dolan

Mother Rose of Lima Dolan, 1949-1953

Born on September 10, 1878 in Granville, NY, Mother Dolan entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet in 1895. After teaching at various schools in and around the Capital Region (Cathedral Academy in Albany, NY, St. Joseph’s Academy in Troy, NY, St. Peter’s Academy in Troy, NY, St. Brigid’s in Watervliet, NY, St. Mary’s in Hudson, NY.), she became one of the Founding Faculty of Saint Rose in 1920.

After serving as a Latin teacher and the Registrar from 1920 to 1936, she became Academic Dean. In 1949, she was named second President of The College of Saint Rose. Graduate program, evening classes, and the Elementary Education Department were all introduced during her presidency. In 1953, she retired as President due to failing eyesight.

She became President Emeritus and Superior of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet and remained a member of Board of Trustees of Saint Rose until her death on April 1, 1962.

She helped to establish the first Catholic woman’s college in the Albany Diocese, and served the Saint Rose community for 42 years. Dolan Hall is named in her memory. She is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Troy, NY.

Catherine Francis Soulier

Sister Catherine Francis Soulier, 1953-1966

Born on February 10, 1901 in Philadelphia, PA, Sister Catherine Francis entered The Sisters of Saint Joseph in Troy on September 8, 1926. On March 19, 1927 she was received into the novitiate. After attending St. Bernard’s Academy in Cohoes, NY, she received her Bachelor's and Master’s degrees from Columbia University.

After serving as the Treasurer from 1942 to 1953, she was appointed President of The College of Saint Rose in 1953. In 1959, she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane letters from Siena College.

During her presidency, the campus grew from 6 to 20 acres, enrollment rose from 800 to 1400 students, the net value of the college increased from 2 to 5 million dollars, and the budget tripled. Two new buildings were also added. She served on College's Board of Trustees until the late 1960’s.

In 1966, she retired from Saint Rose after serving 26 years. After retirement, she became Assistant Superior at Provincial House in Latham, NY. She taught Business Administration and served as a guidance counselor for St. John the Baptist Academy of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Syracuse, NY. She was a charter member of the Empire State Foundation of Independent Colleges and Secondary Schools.

She returned to Provincial House in 1977 and remained there until 1983 when she fully retired from service. She died at the Provincial House on January 15, 1986. Soulier Hall is named in her honor.

Margaret Keeshan

Sister Margaret Keeshan, 1966-1970

Born on May 10, 1915, Sister Margaret attended grammar and high school at the Cathedral Academy. She received her Bachelor's and Master’s degrees at The College of Saint Rose. Attending St. John’s University, where she had an assistantship from 1954 to 1957, she received her doctorate in biology in June 1958.

In the summer of 1960, she served as an exchange professor in biology at St. Catherine’s College in St. Paul. From 1961 to 1966, she served as chair of the Biology Department before becoming president. She was inaugurated as Sister Clarence Paul Keeshan on October 8, 1966. On August 5, 1968 she returned to her baptismal name of (Sister) Margaret Keeshan.

She was a member of various groups and organizations, including the Society of Protozoologists, New York Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Zoologists, Delta Epsilon Sigma, the Board of Directors of American Red Cross, the National Scholastic Honor Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

After a four-year term as President, she left in 1970 and relocated to Pine Ridge, South Dakota where she taught biology at Red Cloud Indian School. In 1973, she left South Dakota and returned to Saint Rose where she once again served as a biology professor.

Keeshan Hall is named in her honor. She died on March 30, 2008.

Listen to an oral history interview with Sister Margaret Keeshan

Alfonse Miele

Alfonse R. Miele, 1970-1972

Alfonse R. Miele was born in New York City in 1922. He received his A.B. from Fordham College and his Master’s and Ph.D. from Columbia University. During WWII, Dr. Miele served and took part in the Normandy invasion and five other battle campaigns.

From 1946 to 1947, Dr. Miele served as an instructor in French and Public Speaking at Fordham Preparatory School in New York City. In 1949, he served as Assistant Professor of French and Russian Language and Literature at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. From 1952 to 1955, he was an aide-de-camp to the Commander of NATO. In 1958, he served as Assistant Professor of Foreign Language at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado. In 1960, he became a Professor at the US Air Force Academy. In 1967, he received a citation for the promotion of the understanding of French culture from the French government's Ministry of Education.

In 1969, he served as Executive Vice President for Loretto Heights College. He also held various positions in other schools and organizations, including the Teachers College, Columbia University, the American Association of Colleges, the Association of Academic Deans, the American Council on Education, and as assistant consultant for an evaluation program of the public school system in Patterson, New Jersey. He was also a consultant for the US Air Force’s worldwide language program and modern language assistance program on college foreign language placement.

He became President of The College of Saint Rose on July 1, 1970. He was the first male and first layperson to serve as President.

Thomas Manion

Thomas Manion, 1973-1983

Thomas Manion received his B.B.A. from St. Bonaventure University and his M.B.A. in Management and Finance from Boston College. He then earned a Ph.D. in Economics from Clark University.

After serving as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island, he became President of Saint Rose in 1973. During his tenure, enrollment rose from 860 to 1150, faculty rose from 24 to 105, graduate programs were introduced, 200 more evening classes introduced, two new dormitories were built, Picotte Hall was acquired for the Art Program, the Student Activities Center and Neil Hellman Library were built, and the budget increased from $3 million to $11 million.

He held positions on the board of Key Bank, Bender Hygienic Laboratory, St. Peter’s Hospital and the Albany Symphony Orchestra. He was Chairman of the Regents Advisory Council of the Northeast Area of New York, Member of the Executive Committee of Independent College Fund of NYS, Secretary/Treasurer of the Empire State Foundation of Liberal Arts Colleges, Director of the New England Council for Economic Development, Member of the Rhode Island Council for Economic Education, Member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors in Rhode Island, Member of the American Association for Higher Education, Trustee for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, Trustee of the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities, and Member of Delta Mu Delta (National Honor Society in Business).

After 10 years of service, he resigned because he believed that new leadership fosters new ideas for the betterment of an institution. After his resignation, he became President of St. Norbert’s College in DePere, Wisconsin.

Louis Vaccaro

Louis Vaccaro, 1983-1996

Louis Vaccaro received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Southern California and a second Master’s from the University of California-Northridge. He earned his doctorate at the University of Michigan.

A veteran of the Air Force during the Korean War, he served as Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Portland, Oregon, President of Siena Heights College in Michigan, Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, and Maycrest College in Iowa.

He was appointed President of Saint Rose in 1983. During his tenure, enrollment rose 53%, graduate enrollment rose 100%, full and part-time faculty rose 35%, the student body included students from over 30 countries around the world, and the Science Center and Music Center opened.

In addition to serving as President of Saint Rose, Dr. Vaccaro was the Chair of the Hudson Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities, and a board member of the Albany-Tula Alliance, Empire State Institute of the Performing Arts, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the City of Albany Bicentennial Commission. He has written seven books and more than 80 book reviews and articles in professional journals. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who in America.

Dr. Vaccaro has received several awards and honors, including honorary degrees from Vermont College of Norwich University and St. Martin's College in Olympia, Washington. He was named Honorary Distinguished Professor of Dalian Normal University in China in 1996, and, in 2001, he was named Honorary President of Aurora College in Shanghai, China.

He currently serves as the senior advisor for the Office of International Affairs at the University of Science and Technology in Hefei, China.

R. Mark Sullivan

R. Mark Sullivan, 1996-2012

R. Mark Sullivan was inaugurated as the eighth president of The College of Saint Rose in 1996. Dr. Sullivan holds a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rhode Island. Prior to his appointment at Saint Rose, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Marist College from 1987 to 1996. He also served as Vice President for Administrative Affairs at Southern Connecticut State University and Assistant Commissioner for the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education.

Dr. Sullivan has served as a member of the KeyBank District Advisory Board and the Capitalize Albany Corporation, the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, Center for Economic Growth, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, the Fort Orange Club, the Albany Public Library’s Citizen Library Advisory Committee, and the Albany Police Foundation. In addition, he served as Co-chair of Re-Capitalize Albany, a task force created by Mayor Jerry Jennings to guide the development of our city.

Among his numerous awards, he has received the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Angel Award, the Monsignor Burns Memorial Award from Catholic Central High School, the Educator of the Year Award from Progress Inc. and Progress High School in New York City, the Catherine McAuley Award for Distinguished Service to the Capital District Community from Maria College, the Citizen Laureate Award from the University at Albany, the Community Partner Award from the Black and Latino Achiever Program, Capital District YMCA, the Bishop Hubbard Award from Living Resources, the YMCA President's Award, the Executive of the Year Award from the Business Review, the Community Builder Award from Jewish Family Services, the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region, the Champions for Children of the Capital Region Award from Northeast Parent and Child Society, and the Albany Chamber of Commerce Envoy Salute Award.

Over the course of his sixteen year presidency at Saint Rose, the College has invested over $100 million in new campus facilities, raised $42 million in capital gifts; tripled applications, doubled first-year enrollment, and increased the size of the College's endowment seven-fold. Throughout his tenure at Saint Rose, Dr. Sullivan has advocated and supported numerous partnerships and alliances with Albany and Capital Region organizations and institutions, receiving praise from Mayor Jennings as “a true partner in helping to make our community more vibrant.”

Dr. Sullivan continues to be a part of the College community as a faculty member in the School of Education.

David Szczerbacki

David Szczerbacki, 2012-2013

David Szczerbacki was inaugurated in 2012 as the ninth president of the College. Dr. Szczerbacki holds a Ph.D. in Policy Studies from SUNY Buffalo, and both an MA (Urban Systems) and BA (Political Science) from Gannon University in Erie, Pa.

Prior to his appointment as President of Saint Rose, Dr. Szczerbacki was Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the College since August 2004, serving as the College’s chief academic officer and “second-in-command”, responsible for the quality of all academic programs offered by the College’s School of Arts and Humanities, Lally School of Education, School of Mathematics and Sciences and Huether School of Business. Dr. Szczerbacki chaired the 2005-2010 and 2010-2015 strategic planning process and also coordinated institutional assessment processes and related (re-) accreditation efforts. He worked closely with the President in leading multi-year faculty salary plans; implementing an endowed chair in ethics and moral values, and in securing grants and philanthropic gifts to support facilities and programming. In addition, he initiated new programs supporting research and curricular innovation; a new program review and development process; a review of the liberal arts core curriculum, and expanded programming in international studies, first-year experiences, e-learning, undergraduate research, service learning and campus sustainability.

Previous to joining The College of Saint Rose, he served as provost and vice president of academic and statutory affairs at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y. At Alfred, he was responsible for overseeing the quality and operation of all academic programs; managing the budget for all academic programs and services, and establishing new academic programs. In addition, Dr. Szczerbacki served as chief executive officer at the State University of New York College of Ceramics, which is located at Alfred. He also held positions as dean of Alfred’s School of Business and acting dean of the College of Engineering and Professional Studies. Dr. Szczerbacki joined the Alfred faculty in 1981 as an instructor of management and twice received the university’s outstanding teaching awards.

In addition to his academic career as an educator and administrator, his professional work has focused on the fields of urban and regional planning, economic development, leadership training, environmental management, strategic management, and organization development. He has served as a member of reaccreditation visiting teams for both the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. For several years, he also has served as a member of the Middle States Periodic Review Report Committee.

Carolyn Stefanco

Carolyn Stefanco, 2014-

On July 1, 2014, Dr. Carolyn J. Stefanco of Decatur, Ga., became the 11th president of The College of Saint Rose.

Upon the announcement of her appointment, Dr. Stefanco stated: “I am honored and excited to carry on the mission and deeply rooted values of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet and look forward to working with the trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and community to build the College’s future. I love that the College prioritizes community service and recognizes that partnerships with local and regional business, government, and civic leaders are key to the success of higher educational institutions in urban environments. To lead an outstanding institution that is poised to reach even higher levels of innovation and entrepreneurship, to serve in even greater ways the workforce and economic needs of the Capital Region and beyond, and to set a course that will ensure academic excellence and management success is an extraordinary opportunity.”

Stefanco previously served as chief academic officer and the first of the college’s five vice presidents at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga. The Division of Academic Affairs included academic programs, the curriculum, staff and faculty recruitment and review, budget planning and management, assessment, student success, international education, sponsored programs and information technology, as well as numerous other offices and resources. During her four-year tenure, she led initiatives that achieved master planning goals, won institutional reaccreditation, increased academic quality and student retention, raised funds from foundations and individuals, and fostered the college’s global efforts.

Prior to her service at Agnes Scott College, Stefanco held leadership and teaching positions at California State University, Stanislaus, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), and Wheaton College in Massachusetts. At CSU Stanislaus, Stefanco was the founding dean of the new College of Humanities and Social Sciences, overseeing 77 undergraduate and graduate programs. Her tenure at Cal Poly included special assistant to the dean for faculty development, chair of the institution’s Department of History, and director of the Women’s Studies Program. Stefanco joined the Wheaton faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor of history and served as co-coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program.

Stefanco earned her doctorate in history from Duke University, a master’s degree in history from Binghamton University, and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She completed the Harvard Management Development Program, the American Council on Education's Institute for New Chief Academic Officers, the Council for Independent Colleges’ program on Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission, and Leadership Atlanta. Her research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation and other agencies, and she has published in the areas of Southern and Western women's history, and higher education leadership. Stefanco previously served as a member of the board of directors of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and as the vice president/president elect of the Association of Chief Academic Officers. She is a member of the advisory committee for The Council of Independent Colleges’ Campaign for the Liberal Arts and Liberal Arts Colleges.

Stefanco was a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Zagreb in Croatia, served as resident director of a study abroad program at The University of London, and has created programs for student exchange and faculty research in Honduras, Brazil, Portugal, and Croatia. She received the 1989 Faculty Appreciation Award for Teaching at Wheaton College and the Richard K. Simon Outstanding Service Award from the College of Liberal Arts at Cal Poly in 2007.