Former SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy Receives Emeritus Title from the State University of New York


Joseph L. KennedyThe State University of New York Board of Trustees passed a resolution designating Joseph L. Kennedy a SUNY Canton President Emeritus.

SUNY Canton College Council Chair Ronald M. O’Neill said he was notified of the decision Thursday, April 9.

“The SUNY Canton College Council unanimously decided to put forward a resolution to SUNY in recognition of Dr. Kennedy,” O’Neill said. “It was the very best thing we could do to honor his dedication to the college and the community of Canton. I’d like to personally thank SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and the SUNY Board of Trustees for helping us recognize his illustrious career.”

In academia, emeritus is an honorary title bestowed in recognition of completing a successful post under commendable circumstances. It symbolizes respect for a distinguished career.

“I’m pleased to hear Dr. Kennedy has been recognized for his numerous accomplishments during his nearly two decades with SUNY Canton,” SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran said. “This is very well deserved.”

Kennedy began his tenure as SUNY Canton’s third president in 1993, during the college’s trying financial times. He was able to help put the college on a path to success using a variety of strategies. Under his leadership, enrollment swelled by more than 100% from fewer than 2,000 students, to nearly 4,000. He helped introduce the college’s first four-year degree program in 1997 and led the creation of 20 additional bachelor’s degrees.

“I was delighted to be a part of the college’s many successes, although I can’t take credit for them” Kennedy said, humbly acknowledging all of the college’s employees for the numerous improvements during his career. “I think I’m most proud of the conversion to a four-year college.”

With the addition of four-year degrees, the college switched from a two to a four-year athletic program. The North Stars became the Kangaroos in 2007 when the college’s teams joined a new conference.

The college’s physical space grew alongside its academic curricula. Kennedy oversaw new construction, including: the Richard W. Miller Campus Center; the Newell Veterinary Technology Center; the Roos House Convocation, Athletic, and Recreation

Center, and the Grasse River Suites Residence Hall, which was recently renamed Kennedy Hall in his honor.

“I truly appreciate the recognition,” Kennedy said. “I enjoyed every single day of my job and I still feel a very strong connection with the community of Canton.”

Kennedy retired as President in 2012 and continued working as a faculty member. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from St. Lawrence University in 2013. He and his wife Dine were inducted into the SUNY Canton college-wide hall of fame in 2017. There is an endowed scholarship named in their honor which is awarded annually by the Canton College Foundation to a student in a four-year program.

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.