The State University of New York 
College of Environmental Science and Forestry — President

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF or the College), one of the crown jewels in the SUNY system, welcomes nominations and applications for the position of President. Among the world’s colleges and universities, ESF is unique in its holistic focus on the environment and in the breadth and depth of its expertise in the sciences, engineering, management, policy, design and planning of the environment. Located in Syracuse, nestled along the northeastern edge of the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, all that ESF is and does serves its mission of achieving a sustainable world.

Founded as the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University in 1911, the College became a member of the State University of New York in 1948. In 1972, the name of the College changed to the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Today, ESF enrolls over 2,180 students studying in 23 undergraduate and 16 graduate degree programs in the sciences, engineering, management, policy, design and planning of the environment. The ESF campus occupies 12 acres in Syracuse, NY and 25,000 acres in its regional campuses throughout Central New York and the Adirondack Park. ESF has been widely recognized as one of the best colleges in the nation, garnering solid rankings in leading publications and higher education reviews.

The President exercises broad responsibilities for the academic, financial, administrative, physical and human dimensions of the institution. ESF seeks a dynamic and visionary leader to set the tone for an increasingly inclusive, innovative and impactful campus and to pursue excellence in environmental education, research and sustainability. The selected candidate will need to demonstrate leadership acumen that will gain the respect of the academic community, including the students, faculty and staff, as well as the larger surrounding community. They will also be expected to foster an environment that encourages superior academic achievement, diversity of viewpoint and background, robust faculty research and deep engagement among the members of the College community, with the goal of maintaining ESF’s status as a preeminent institution. In addition, the selected President will be expected to demonstrate the following proficiencies and qualities:

  • Exceptionally strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to be a thoughtful, creative, innovative and confident leader
  • A demonstrated record of achievement in strengthening and infusing diversity
  • Competency to engage in the generation of external resources
  • Decision making informed by data and analytics
  • Effective management of academic and executive leaders
  • Energy, diligence and resilience needed to adroitly manage change

As with every higher education institution across the country, ESF is at a critical financial crossroads. The new President will be expected to exhibit strong leadership during difficult financial times and act with transparency to the benefit of College stakeholders. In addition, the successful candidate will utilize outstanding interpersonal skills to develop the College’s relationships with key external stakeholders and constituencies to assist in these efforts, including the SUNY System, governing boards, alumni, donors, the community and local, state and federal elected officials.

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the Leadership Profile. A copy of the full Leadership Profile can be found at

WittKieffer is assisting ESF in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by July 3, 2020. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. This will be an accelerated search, with consideration of candidates occurring over the summer and finalist recommendations made in early fall.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to WittKieffer Consultants Greg Duyck, Ryan Crawford, Ann Yates and Julia Venetos at All nominations and applications shall be confidential.

For more information on ESF, please refer to the College’s website at

The State University of New York College at Environmental Science and Forestry is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, age, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.