Today: Feb 29, 2024

Papazian named Southern President

RYAN MORGAN  — Managing Editor

Mary Papazian was given a warm welcome today after an important announcement was circulated to the community: Southern has a new president.

Earlier today, the CSUS Board of Trustees recommended Papazian for the position. The Board of Regents followed suit and appointed her this afternoon.

“Dr. Papazian is a fantastic choice to lead the campus of Southern Connecticut State University into the future,” said Board of Regents President Robert Kennedy. “Her strong academic and administrative experience, and importantly, her work strengthening and supporting research and development at Lehman College will be of great benefit to Southern’s campus. She received strong support from both students and faculty during the selection process, and I’m eager to get to work with her.”Video Courtesy Ryan Morgan — Southern News

At 3 p.m. the university hosted a press conference to welcome its new president. The Southern Advisory Committee Faculty Co-Chairs Art Paulson and James Barber along with student representatives Bob Benway and Lytasha Blackwell echoed each other in giving thanks to outgoing Interim President Stanley Battle during their congratulations of Papazian.

“Southern has a special spark, an energy that a lot of schools don’t have,” said Blackwell. “She has the ability to come in and help us reach our goals.”

Papazian received an overwhelming amount of support from both boards, students and faculty alike, after the Board of Trustees unanimously recommended her appointment earlier today. Paulson said through the selection process, the committee largely agreed on candidates. Paulson described Papazian as a “dynamic and charismatic” individual who can make connections on campus and assist us in moving forward.

“I am sure my colleagues join me in thanking Dr. Stanley Battle for his service to the university, which has strengthened Southern’s place in the community and state and for his contributions to ensuring open access to higher education in Connecticut,” said Paulson. “He has our best wishes for the future. We welcome Dr. Mary Papazian as our new president. She comes to us at a turning point of a change at Southern Connecticut State University and is very well prepared for the challenges we face. We look forward to working with her as we face the future.”

Papazian received her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D from the University of California, Los Angeles, in English literature.  Papazian comes to Southern after serving as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lehman College, a position she held since 2007. Papazian was responsible for a $60 million budget in addition to more than 750 full and part-time faculty members. She was a part of managing, planning and developing all academic programs at the college and supported efforts to build strong community relationships.

Papazian said she is excited to come in on the heels of colleagues which have come before her over and build on their strong foundation.

Nicole Henderson, academic director for the First Year Experience program, said she is optimistic about working with Papazian.

“Her energy and passion reminds me of what it takes to build a program like FYE,” said Henderson. “The way she talks about and to students makes me know students will be a priority.”

Video Courtesy Ryan Morgan — Southern NewsPapazian said she is looking forward to working with Southern’s students and described an open-door policy she plans to have with students. She said she wants students to come speak to her both formally and informally.

“I always tell students I want them to give me insights,” Papazian said. “Sometimes people hold things in to protect others but I don’t want to be protected. I want to hear from students and faculty.”

Papazian also said she plans to foster creative ideas in support of student work in order to highlight those who are excelling.

Benway, who has been a member of the selection committee since April, said he is thankful to have been a part of the process and is happy to welcome the new president onto campus.

“I think she’s great. She’s very student-focused and interested in [all] types of students,” Benway said. “She wants to learn your major, where you’re from and wants to know you. She also has strong faculty connections and is overall an excellent fit.”

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