Resilience and sustainability define Geneseo’s ability  to endure

By President Denise A. Battles

Since its founding in 1871, thirteen persons have served SUNY Geneseo as president. I am both honored and humbled to lead the College as we work together to advance this storied institution to even greater heights of distinction.  

Upon my arrival, one of my first priorities was to launch a collaborative strategic planning endeavor to chart our direction and guide our development. Mindful of the responsibility that we share to secure the College’s future, it is no coincidence that the prologue in our strategic plan— Geneseo 2021: Seeing Beyond the Horizon — begins with a quote from John Ruskin (The Lamp of Memory): 

“Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build for ever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for.” 

Those words serve as a call to action and a constant reminder that our efforts must stand the test of time to benefit others. As conveyed in these pages of the Scene, resilience and sustainability are core traits of Geneseo. That’s true not only for the institution as a whole, but for the individual members who represent our College community — faculty, staff, students, alumni and other friends. Their stories are inspiring. 

Like two sides of a coin, resilience and sustainability are similar yet different. On numerous occasions, I’ve witnessed our campus community demonstrate resilience — a hardiness that helps us recover quickly and take on our challenges. However, we also truly care for one another — a quality that not only contributes to our resilient spirit but defines who we are at Geneseo. 

Equally important, Geneseo exemplifies sustainability, one of five College values. Facing myriad challenges over the decades, this institution has repeatedly demonstrated what Webster’s defines as “able to last or continue for a long time.”

For example, beyond enrollment numbers, graduation rates, and campus improvements which mark steady progress, Geneseo can boast impressive national rankings, generous donor support, robust alumni engagement, and countless accomplishments by “our own” around the world that reflect the far-reaching, long-lasting impact of this special place.  

To continue to achieve this standard of excellence, Geneseo is committed to fostering resilience and sustainability in four key areas. 

Developing brand awareness and creative, strategic communications, we are enhancing and promoting our reputation as one of the nation’s leading public liberal arts colleges. 

Incorporating sound fiscal management practices, we are blending and diversifying funding strategies to sustain financial security.

Raising awareness of our environmental responsibilities, we are developing and implementing sustainable practices in all divisions and programs through the Office of Sustainability, while educating the campus community on principles of ecological, social and economic stewardship through our President’s Commission on Sustainability. 

With an eye to the future, we are maintaining and redesigning campus facilities to create the most effective learning environments for today — and tomorrow.

The stories in this issue of the Scene illustrate that the College vision reflects the importance of resilience and sustainability. With your continued support, Geneseo will be recognized widely for demonstrating the enduring power of a public liberal arts education.