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About Marist College

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The President's Cabinet

The President's Cabinet is composed of the following senior college officers and executives:

David Yellen - President

David Yellen became the fourth President of Marist College on July 1, 2016.  Since his arrival at Marist, President Yellen has led the development of a new strategic plan, overseen the launch of the College’s first doctoral-level program, enhanced the College’s communication and career services initiatives, and guided several campus building projects.  He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in New York (CICU).  He is also on the Executive Committee of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and chairs the MAAC’s Finance Committee.  Prior to his position at Loyola, he was a member of the faculty of Hofstra Law School, holding the Max Schmertz Distinguished Professorship and serving as Dean.  He was also the Reuschlein Distinguished Visiting Professor at Villanova University School of Law and was a visiting professor at Cornell Law School and New York Law School.  President Yellen earned his B.A. magna cum laude from Princeton University and his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School.

 

Geoffrey L. Brackett - Executive Vice President

Dr. Brackett has served as Executive Vice President since August of 2010.  In that capacity he functions as second officer to President David Yellen, and directly oversees many of the key operating areas of the College, including Information Technology, Human Resources, Student Affairs, Institutional Research and Planning, Buildings and Grounds, and Safety and Security.  He also chairs many of the key operational committees of the College, including the Budget Priorities Committee, Program Development Committee, and Housing and Enrollment Committee.  He also oversees the strategic planning and annual operations for the College, and serves as a key point of contact for local government officials.  Dr. Brackett came to Marist after having served 20 years at Pace University in many capacities, most recently as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Dr. Brackett graduated with honors with a BA from DePauw University, and then took a DPhil in English Literature at the University of Oxford.  He lives with his wife, Danyelle Means, and their three sons Marley, Dylan, and Boone in the Town of Newburgh.

 

Sima Saran Ahuja – College Counsel
Sima Saran Ahuja was appointed College Counsel in November 2018. She provides the College with in-house legal expertise to inform decision making at both executive and administrative levels. Previously, she was General Counsel at Metropolitan College of New York, and she has served in the Office of General Counsel at The City University of New York. Sima has a generalist skill set that spans higher education and nonprofit law, litigation and regulatory compliance, employment, intellectual property, and complex agreements and transactions. Earlier in her career, she was Assistant General Counsel at ConvergEx and a Senior Associate with Fried, Frank. Sima has a JD from the B.N. Cardozo School of Law where was she was symposium editor of the Arts and Entertainment Law Journal and trained to become a certified mediator. She received her BA from Barnard College where she was a double major in Political Science and South Asian Studies. Sima is pursuing a Master’s degree in Higher Education at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College to complement her JD in service of higher education institutions. She serves as chair of the Legal Committee and Trustee of KBLS and The Little School. She lives in Scarsdale, New York with her husband, Sameer, and their two children, Anya and Ella.

 

Christina Daniele - Vice President for Human Resources

Christina Daniele was appointed Vice President for Human Resources in October 2017. In her role, Christina provides strategic leadership and guidance in the overall administration of Human Resources, including ethics compliance, strategic recruitment, benefits and compensation, HR information systems, workforce development, and employee and labor relations. In addition to her regular duties, Christina also serves as the College’s Title IX Coordinator. She began her career almost 20 years ago working in the child welfare industry, and served as Director of Human Resources and Risk Management for both Family Services, Inc. (FSI) in Poughkeepsie, NY, and Lincoln Hall, a non-profit residential treatment center for court-mandated male adolescents prior to joining Marist in 2011. Ms. Daniele holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Education and Counseling Services from Fordham University. She holds her Professional Certification in Human Resources from SHRM (the Society of Human Resource Management) and HRCI (the HR Certification Institute) and is a certified Coordinator and Investigator under ATIXA (the Association of Title IX Administrators). She serves as an active member of the Mid-Hudson SHRM chapter and CUPA-HR (the College and University Personnel Association). 

 

Christopher M. DelGiorno - Vice President for College Advancement

Chris returned to Marist in 2011, more than 20 years after beginning his career at the College in the Office of Admission. Prior to his current role, Chris served as Executive Director of Leadership Gifts at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. While at Bucknell, he led a team of 15, including 11 Regional Directors engaged in a nationwide effort to secure vital leadership and principal gift support for key University priorities in the context of Bucknell's current $400 million comprehensive campaign. In addition to managing the leadership gifts program and his own prospect portfolio, Chris served as a member of the Senior Management team in Development and Alumni Relations and participated in several University-wide committees.  In addition to his BA in communication from Marist, Chris earned an MLA from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in nonprofit leadership. He also completed the fundraising certificate program at Penn. Chris and his wife Nancy have two sons, Benjamin and Timothy.

 

Deborah DiCaprio - Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs

Deborah DiCaprio joined Marist as a Mentor in January 1982. Over the next three years, she lived and worked in the residence halls, assisting the Marist students both academically and personally. In 1985, she was named the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs where she continued to work on behalf of the Marist students. In 1999, upon the resignation of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, she assumed responsibility for some of those duties. She supervised the Counseling Center, Health Services, Special Services, Campus Ministry and the Mentor Program. She also had responsibilities pertaining to the Orientation Program, Parents Weekend and the annual Junior Ring Ceremony. She was appointed Vice President/Dean for Student Affairs in December 2001. As the Dean, DiCaprio oversees the Department of Athletics, Housing and Residential Life and Student Activities. DiCaprio earned her Bachelor's Degree in History from St. Bonaventure University, where she also earned her Master's Degree in Education, with a concentration in Student Personnel Services.  DiCaprio resides in Poughkeepsie, NY; she and her husband Joseph have two children, Adam and Kira.

 

Freddimir García - Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement

Freddy García was appointed Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement in July 2017. In this Cabinet-level role, he is responsible for providing leadership, innovation, and vision to promote diversity and inclusion among all constituents of the College. He provides strategic direction to the Marist College Diversity Council in fostering a climate that is welcoming, inclusive, and respectful to all. He is also responsible for serving as a liaison to the community, representing the President at local and regional events and developing key relationships that advance the Marist mission.  Prior to his current position, Freddy served as the Presidential Fellow of Marist for over five years. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating activities between internal and external constituencies; representing the Office of the President at events and meetings at Marist and in the larger community; leading special projects and initiatives; and assisting with the effective operation of the office.  Freddy is a two-time graduate of Marist College with his B.S. in business with a marketing concentration and his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in financial management in 2009 and 2014, respectively.

 

Deborah Gatins - Dean, School of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Deborah Gatins received her BA degree in psychology from Vassar College and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami, Florida. She worked in residential treatment setting with adolescents for 10 years and maintained a private practice for 24 years. She has been at Marist since 1999 and has risen through the ranks from a member of the psychology department to her appointment as Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2017. Dr. Gatins was an active practitioner for many years and consulted with Human Relations Media to produce more than 25 video-based curricular programs for middle-school and high-school students on various health related topics (e.g., substance abuse, stress, eating disorders, dangerous relationships, etc.). Her research also focused on adolescents, and she has published in the areas of substance abuse and adolescents' adjustment to divorce.

 

Sean P. Kaylor - Vice President for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communication

Following his graduation from Marist College in 1990, Sean began his career in The Office of Admission as an Assistant Director and worked his way up to Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment Planning by 1998. He now serves as Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing and Communications. In this role he oversees Undergraduate and Graduate Admission, Enrollment Services, Student Financial Services and College Marketing and Communications for both the main campus in Poughkeepsie, New York and the Marist campus in Florence, Italy. Sean has presented and moderated at regional and national conferences on all topics related to enrollment management. He is a Past President of the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA), Sprout Creek Farm in Dutchess County, New York and Saint Bernard School in Southeastern Connecticut. Sean lives in Poughkeepsie, New York with his wife Paula and two daughters, Katie and Samantha. 

 

Lyn Lepre - Dean, School of Communication & the Arts

Dr. Lyn Lepre was appointed dean of the School of Communication and the Arts at Marist College in April 2016, after serving as interim dean since July 2014. Dr. Lepre holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida and B.A. and M.S. degrees in journalism from Miami University and Ohio University, respectively. She also completed Harvard University’s Management Development Program. Dr. Lepre's teaching and research interests are in journalism, particularly magazine writing and news editing. She co-authored the book, "Diversity and the U.S. Mass Media," published by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing in 2011. During her time at Marist, Dr. Lepre has served as chair of the Communication Department and was, until her current appointment, assistant dean of the School of Communication and the Arts and director of the Honors Program. One of her most notable achievements was to lead the overhaul of the Honors Program in 2012, the first significant revision of that program in nearly ten years. She is editor of FoxTalk, a magazine published by the School of Communication and the Arts, and a member of the College's Marketing and Communication Group.

 

Roger Norton - Dean, School of Computer Science & Mathematics

Roger L. Norton is the Dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics at Marist. He is the Director of the Center for Collaborative and On-Demand Computing and is also the Founder and Director of the Institute for Data Center Professionals and a Principal Investigator for a Collaborative Enterprise Computing Community funded by the National Science Foundation. He was also the PI for Marist’s $3 million grant from New York State to fund the New York State Cloud Computing and Analytics Center, helping companies to understand and use analytics and cloud computing to help their companies grow. Dr. Norton holds a PhD in Computer Science from Syracuse University, an MA in Mathematics from Brandeis University and a BS in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.. Norton’s entrepreneurial character coupled with his firm belief in the faculty/student research model has prompted him to secure funding for the development of several programs that partner academia with industry, including the NYSTAR-designated Center for Collaborative and On-Demand Computing (CCODC).

 

John Pecchia - Vice President for Business Affairs/CFO

John Pecchia was appointed Vice President for Business Affairs/CFO in September 2010. John comes to Marist from D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York, where he served as Vice President for Financial Affairs and Treasurer. John is responsible for overseeing the Business Office, Purchasing, Budget and Finance, and the Bookstore. In addition, John is responsible for endowment and investment oversight, long-range forecasting, audit and financial reporting, bond financing, treasury activities, as well as the preparation, communication, and maintenance of the College’s annual operating and capital budgets. Previously, John served as the Vice President for Financial Affairs/CFO at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, and as Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, New York. John received a B.S. in Accounting with honors from the New York Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. in Management and Leadership from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the American College of Chiropractors. He is also a certified public accountant. John and his wife Debbie have two sons, Brian and Michael.

 

John Ritschdorff - Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Academic Programs

John T. Ritschdorff was named Dean of Academic Programs / Assistant Academic Vice President on September 1, 2000. Dr. Ritschdorff joined the Marist Faculty in 1970 as a member of the Mathematics Department and has served as Department Chairperson and as Acting Dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics. He is an accomplished teacher, with expertise in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Dr. Ritschdorff earned his B.A. degree from Marist College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University. Since 1989, Dr. Ritschdorff has served as the academic liaison to the Department of Athletics. He serves as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Athletics and contributes to the academic integrity of Marist's athletics programs as well as compliance with NCAA and MAAC conference regulations. Dr. Ritschdorff is active at the national level with the NCAA. In 1998, he was named to the NCAA Core Course Committee, the group responsible for implementing initial eligibility standards. He also regularly participates in the NCAA Division I Certification process, visiting other colleges and universities to ascertain their compliance with NCAA principles.

 

Emily Saland - Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Emily Saland was appointed Marist’s Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees in July 2017. In this capacity, she works closely with the President on a wide variety of executive and administrative duties, special projects, and strategic initiatives in order to promote the mission of the College and advance the President’s agenda. In addition to supervising the President’s Office staff, Emily also works with members of the senior administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni, elected officials, community members, and other stakeholders in order to advance cross-divisional initiatives. She is also the primary liaison to the Board of Trustees, serves as Secretary to the Board, and is a member of the President’s Cabinet. Emily received her BA from Cornell University summa cum laude. She went on to complete her MFA in Poetry at George Mason University. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill (ERVK) and a member of the Walkway Over the Hudson’s Board. She and her husband have two children, Jack and Lena.

 

Martin B. Shaffer - Dean, School of Liberal Arts

Dr. Shaffer joined the Marist faculty as an Assistant Professor of Political Science in 1994, and he served as Chair of the Political Science Department from 2001 to 2007, overseeing a period of significant growth in that major. He was appointed Interim Dean of the School of Liberal Arts on August 1, 2007, and he began his duties as Dean on September 1, 2008. Dr. Shaffer earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from LeMoyne College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY Albany. Dr. Shaffer teaches a variety of courses in American politics, including History of the American Presidency, Congress Today, and Scope and Methods of Political Analysis. Dr. Shaffer's research interests include presidential leadership, the environmental movement, and New York State politics. He has published several articles in scholarly journals, including Policy Studies Review and Presidential Studies Quarterly, and his book project, Empire State Politics, is under contract with McGraw Hill. Dr. Shaffer and his wife, Joanne, reside in the Town of Poughkeepsie with their three children.

 

Lawrence G. Singleton - Dean, School of Management

Dr. Singleton came to Marist from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. There, he held many leadership positions, most recently serving as associate dean, where he was responsible for all aspects of School of Business undergraduate programs.  He has served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Accounting Association, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Human Resource Certification Institute, and as a member of its Executive and HR Committees. He worked in the audit and National SEC Practice groups of Ernst & Young LLP and was a visiting professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France and Peking University in China. He has also served as a consultant to many of the world’s leading companies and organizations, including Cisco Systems, Inc., Harley-Davidson Motor Company, NASDAQ, National Investor Relations Institute, National Geographic Society, Public Relations Society of America, Raytheon, Roche, Siemens Corporation, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and The World Bank. Singleton received Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in accounting from Louisiana State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

 

Alicia Slater - Dean, School of Science

Dr. Alicia Slater was appointed Dean of the School of Science on July 1, 2018. Prior to coming to Marist, Dr. Slater was professor of biology and chair of the Biology Department at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where she worked for 15 years. While biology chair, she also served as chair of the Health Sciences Department, and she held the endowed Hollis Chair of Health and Wellness, for which she was responsible for overseeing retention efforts of students in STEM majors. As the university’s director of curriculum and assessment, Dr. Slater served as a member of the Provost’s Cabinet and oversaw general education and/or program-level assessment for Stetson’s College of Arts & Sciences, College of Law, School of Business, and School of Music. A molecular ecologist, Dr. Slater holds a B.S. in biology from Georgia Institute of Technology and M.S. and Ph.D. in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

 

Judith Stoddard - Director of Institutional Research

Judith has 20 years of institutional research, analysis, assessment and planning experience, in the support of long-range plans and executive decision making in a corporate setting. Her Master’s degree is in Evaluation and Measurement with survey design, analysis, data collection, and statistics comprising the major components of the program. For her doctorate in Global Affairs, she performed a comparative analysis of social stability indicators in countries that are experiencing governmental change, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Judith’s research and analysis experience is from Bell Labs and AT&T International. Her successful advancing work at Bell Labs and AT&T has been in program evaluation, metrics, cost/benefit analysis, benchmarking surveys, data collection, and reporting. She has developed a set of principles to guide the establishment of new programs and evaluate existing programs, manage research staff and budgets in support of administrative decision making, long-range plans, policies and institutional reviews. She has been successful conceptualizing how to measure and evaluate policies, programs, and demand for new services, and finds this work exciting and rewarding.

 

Daniel Szpiro - Dean, School of Professional Programs

Danny is Dean of the School of Professional Programs and Assistant Vice President (Academic) at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where his work is focused on adult education built on a strong liberal arts foundation. Previously, he was Academic Dean at the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University and worked closely with Jack Welch on the development of both an Executive MBA program and self-paced online management development courses. From 2004 to 2012 Dr. Szpiro was a faculty member and administrator at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He joined Johnson as the founding Director of The Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA Program and ultimately advanced to the position of Associate Dean for Executive Education. He is an award-winning teacher and expert on financial management. Dr. Szpiro earned a BSc from the University of Waterloo, an MBA from Queen’s University, an MSc (International Accounting & Finance) from the London School of Economics, and a PhD from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

 

Elisabeth Tavárez - Assistant Vice President for College Marketing and Communication

Elisabeth Tavárez was appointed Assistant Vice President for College Marketing and Communication in July 2017. In this Cabinet-level role, she oversees strategic communication for both the President’s Office and key areas of the College. A central focus of her work is effectively communicating “the Marist story” and highlighting the distinctive nature of a Marist education to multiple constituencies and across various platforms. Prior to her current position, Elisabeth served for 12 years as Special Assistant to Marist Presidents David Yellen and Dennis Murray. In this capacity, she was responsible for a broad and complex set of assignments, including serving as the President’s principal writer, leading special projects, and conducting in-depth research on key issues. Prior to joining Marist, she was assistant vice president for shareholder communications at J. & W. Seligman & Co., an investment management firm in New York City. Elisabeth received a B.A. cum laude from Harvard College and an M.A. in Communication from Marist. She completed the Management Development Program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and is also bilingual English/Spanish. Elisabeth resides in Rhinebeck, New York with her husband David, their daughter Eva, and rescue dog Shayna.

 

William Thirsk - Vice President of Information Technology/CIO

Bill Thirsk joined Marist College in June 2007. As vice president and CIO, he oversees all areas of information technology and other enterprise support units. His experience in higher education technology management is broad-based covering such areas as technology planning, network management, telecommunications, web services, and instructional technology. Thirsk is a nationally recognized expert in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and major technology implementations. Over the span of his career, he has accomplished seven successful ERP implementations and consulted for numerous others. Thirsk was named an IDG Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader for 2013 and currently serves as Board Chair of NYSERNet.Org, a not-for-profit New York State Internet, education, research, and technology service organization. Thirsk also serves on the NEREN Board of Directors, the North East Research and Education Network that connects MIT, Harvard, Yale, and most of the R1 and state universities in New England. He was also founding Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ellucian Community Source Initiative (CSI). Thirsk received a BBA in Business Administration from George Washington University and an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology. He is also a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

 

Thomas Wermuth - Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Dr. Thomas S. Wermuth joined the Marist College faculty as an Assistant Professor of History in 1992, was appointed Dean of the School of Liberal Arts in 2001 and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2007. Dr. Wermuth earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Marist College, his MA from the State University of New York at Albany and his Ph.D from Binghamton University. In 2001, Dr. Wermuth was chosen by the faculty to receive the Board of Trustees' Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching. He has researched and written Rip Van Winkle's Neighbors: The Transformation of Rural Society in the Hudson River Valley, which was published by the State University of New York Press. Dr. Wermuth has received major grants, fellowships, and awards, including two U.S. Department of Education "Teaching American History" Grants and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowship. In 2002, Thom founded the Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI), which is recognized as one of the nation's leading regional history programs. He completed Harvard University's School of Education Management Development Program and was a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's McNeil Center for Early American Studies.