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Katherine Conway-Turner chosen to be next president of Buffalo State


An educator from a small college in Maryland has been chosen to be the next president of Buffalo State College. Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D, the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, will be recommended by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to the SUNY Board of Trustees for the job.

If approved, she would take over the post vacated by Aaron Podelefsky, who resigned last July amid health concerns and died of prostate cancer the following month. Howard Cohen has been serving as interim president since last June. 

“Dr. Conway-Turner is an experienced leader with New York roots, having served as provost of SUNY Geneseo for five years and continuing to contribute locally through her volunteerism with H.O.P.E,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

“I am very confident Dr. Conway-Turner will be an outstanding leader for our students, faculty, staff at SUNY Buffalo State as well as for Western New York, and I look forward to working with her.”

Conway-Turner was one of five finalists for the job. She visited the campus earlier this month. The SUNY Board of Trustees will vote on her appointment June 16 and 17. If approved, she would begin the job on August 4.

Conway-Turner's bio states she has had a 28-year academic career has served in various leadership and administrative positions and as a professor of psychology at five universities. She was appointed provost July 1, 2010.

From 2004 to 2009, Conway-Turner was provost, vice president of academic affairs, and professor of psychology at SUNY Geneseo, where she was responsible for all 20 academic programs, as well as overseeing policies, budgets and personnel. In addition to her teaching and research, Conway-turner has traveled to Haiti regularly over the past decade, performing humanitarian work as a member of H.O.P.E., a not-for-profit, volunteer organization based in Rochester, N.Y., assisting the people of Borgne, Haiti, in achieving equitable, just, and sustainable living conditions.
Prior to that, she was the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware. Other positions she has held include American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at the College of New Jersey, director of the Women’s Studies Program at the College of Arts and Sciences, and graduate program coordinator at the University of Delaware. She has also held teaching positions at Santa Clara University and California State University, Long Beach.
Conway-Turner has Ph.D. in Psychology, M.A. in Psychology, and B.A. Microbiology, all from the University of Kansas.
The following statement was delivered to Buffalo State late Friday afternoon by businessman Howard Zemsky, Chair, Presidential Search Advisory Committee and Chair, Buffalo State College Council:

To the SUNY Buffalo State Community:

Good afternoon. It is with great enthusiasm that I inform the campus community that State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher will recommend the appointment of Katherine Conway-Turner as Buffalo State’s ninth president to the SUNY Board of Trustees at its next meeting.

If approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees, Dr. Conway-Turner will begin her presidency at Buffalo State on August 4, 2014. Dr. Howard Cohen, who has been serving for the past academic year as interim president, will conclude his tenure on August 1. We all appreciate the outstanding leadership of Dr. Cohen during the past year. It is fully understood that he stepped into the presidency at a fragile time for Buffalo State, after the loss of Aaron Podolefsky. Howard has brought great leadership, direction, and priority to the institution, which he led with distinction and integrity. We are proud of our association with Howard and his wife, Patty, who has been a great advocate and partner with him, and we express our gratitude and best wishes to them in all their future endeavors.

Our institution’s future is bright, and I’m extremely confident that Dr. Conway-Turner will be an inspiring leader for Buffalo State. Her academic and educational background will provide new, insightful leadership, guiding our campus into a new era. Dr. Conway-Turner is a lifelong educator, scholar, author, and humanitarian who brings a distinguished record of leadership and administrative experience to her new position. She is clearly inspired by the mission of our college and has lived an inspiring life of personal growth and accomplishment. I know that her husband, Dr. Alvin Turner, will be a great advocate and partner for the betterment of Buffalo State as well.

Download the curriculum vitae for Katherine Conway-Turner (PDF).

I want to once again thank the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, the Buffalo State College Council, and the entire Buffalo State community for participating so actively in our search process. Thank you all in advance for your continued commitment to Buffalo State and for the warm welcome that I know you will extend to Kate and Alvin.


Howard Zemsky

Chair, Presidential Search Advisory Committee Chair, Buffalo State College Council

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