Ithaca College will lose two senior administrators to retirement in the span of a year. Brian McAree, former vice president of student affairs and campus life, retired this past August, and Carl Sgrecci, vice president for finance and administration, will retire next August.
Together they will leave quite a legacy at Ithaca College, contributing 75 years of service, including 50 as vice president.
Brian was a champion of the philosophy that students should always come first. He oversaw the graduation of 37,625 undergraduate students and 4,842 graduate students at 29 annual Commencements. Based on the testimony of dozens of e-mails I received in the months after his retirement, Brian was a friend and mentor to many of those graduates.
His legacy to the College centers on a vision of student engagement across the campus, with opportunities to learn life and leadership skills through participation in a rich array of clubs, sports, campus employment, and other activities.
Carl’s familiarity with our campus dates back to its early days on South Hill. He has experienced the College from the perspective of a student as well as that of a member of the faculty, administrative staff, and senior leadership team. Carl has known five of the eight presidents in IC history, and he has had close working relationships with four of them. He co-authored the College’s vision statement.
Carl’s IC legacy will be the prudent financial management that has enabled the College to move forward steadily even in challenging times, as well as his understanding that our success is due entirely to the work of our dedicated faculty and staff. Carl believes that if you treat people right, their commitment to excellence will ensure a strong balance sheet.
In championing these ideals, Brian and Carl did not change the IC mission so much as live it during a time the College grew substantially in size and complexity. Today, the values that Brian and Carl brought to their leadership positions are encoded into the DNA of our entire organization. Their ultimate legacy is that we will continue to adapt and apply their values as circumstances and opportunities dictate.
I am thankful for the examples of commitment and leadership that Carl and Brian have set at IC over the years, and I am honored to have been among the cadre of presidents with whom they have worked. I expect to talk a lot about them one day in the future when I am briefing my own successor on the core values that make this institution what it is. At its heart, Ithaca College is an inter-generational community of students, alumni, staff, and faculty from the past, present, and future. As with any community, we are inspired by our history. We are also inspired by campus leaders who have made a difference through the clarity and consistency of their vision and by the way their actions aligned with that vision. We are inspired by Carl Sgrecci and Brian McAree, and I am thankful for that.
This feeling of gratitude leads me to ask: What are you thankful for? If you are reading this column, you most likely feel an enduring connection to the IC community. I hope you will take this opportunity to reflect briefly on what about this college and this community you feel thankful for. Reflecting on and documenting the most valuable parts of our legacy as a College are important. To name the focus of our gratitude is to create the surest possible guide for a future of sustained success.
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