Cohen changes mind about presidency, named as third finalist for permanent title


Bruce Fox/Instructional Resources

Interim President Howard Cohen speaks to Buffalo State for the first time in September. He has filled in as president this year as the school searches for its ninth president after Aaron Podolefsky passed away in August.

Buffalo State this morning announced interim president Howard Cohen is a finalist in the search for a permanent president, a change-of-heart decision for Cohen that is the culmination of his experiences since taking over in an interim capacity in the fall.

Cohen will present to campus tomorrow from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in Upton Hall’s Warren Enters Theater.

Cohen, who had served as chancellor for Purdue University Calumet since 2001 before coming to campus, stressed in interviews when he took over following the death of Aaron Podolefsky that he would not seek full-time presidency beyond one year. He explained how his decision has changed since in a statement to the media this morning.

“During the course of my initial months on campus it has become clear to me that I have the energy and the capacity to enjoy the work of leading a college,” Cohen said. “I have been warmly accepted by colleagues, and I have experienced the sense of common purpose that makes leadership rewarding.”

Cohen said in the statement that, through his work here — which includes the development of a new five-year strategic plan that will go into effect next academic year —  he has identified “significant challenges” that Buffalo State faces and would like to see them through, citing the campus’ resiliency as motivation to finish the job.

“Working in an environment where there is much to be done, general willingness to do it, and a strong prospect of success is highly satisfying,” Cohen said. “In my case, the pull of these elements has been strong enough to cause me to reconsider my previous decision.”