Community Champion 2019: Dr. Kristine Young

Dr. Kristine Young, Ed.D.
President, Orange County Community College

Over the initial four years of her tenure as President of SUNY Orange, Dr. Kristine Young has begun to significantly reshape the student experience, while at the same time expanding access to the College and cementing public-private partnerships that place SUNY Orange in the midst of academic and workforce training innovation.

Seeking to better retain and graduate students, the College is now into its third year of a “SUNY Orange Experience” initiative that is revamping student onboarding, advising, course scheduling and curriculum mapping. This expansive undertaking involves participation from all sectors of the College.

At the same time, SUNY Orange is creating targeted workforce training partnerships across a variety of business sectors that are generating pipelines of talented and skilled employees while also time sparking economic development within Orange County. 

While Young inherited budgetary challenges and declining enrollment when she arrived in 2015, she has helped the College initiate steady growth in online enrollment while overall enrollment has leveled out. In 2018, SUNY Orange opened its Sarfatti Education Center in Port Jervis, providing access to a selection of general education and non-credit classes for residents in western Orange County, as well as prospective students in nearby towns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. SUNY Orange also debuted a two-week winter intersession in January 2019.

In order to support an increasingly diverse student population, the College has initiated during Young’s tenure a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program as well as an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). TRIO enhances the persistence, retention, graduation and transfer rates of low-income first generation students and students with disabilities while EOP provides access, academic support and financial aid counseling to low-income and academically underprepared students.

SUNY Orange is recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and has been named a “Veteran Friendly” college for four of the past six years. 

In July 2019, Young began a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges. Locally, she sits on the boards of directors for the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, Orange County Chamber of Commerce, the Westchester Medical Center HealthReach Council, and the Orange County Citizens Foundation.

Young came to SUNY Orange following a 17-year tenure at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill. She first arrived at Parkland as a chemistry instructor in 1998 and steadily rose through the faculty and administrative ranks to become vice president for academic services.

Young’s hiring at SUNY Orange brought her back to her Northeast roots. She was born in nearby Scranton, Pa., and raised in Moscow, Pa. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., in 1996 and her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998. Through the Community College Executive Leadership Program, Young completed her doctorate in education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2007.

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