Charles Seifert, Ph.D., has been appointed the 13th president of Siena College. His appointment was unanimously advanced by the presidential search committee, which included representatives of all campus constituencies, and came with the unanimous support of the Board of Trustees at a Dec. 2 meeting.
Dr. Seifert will succeed Chris Gibson, Ph.D. (’86), who on Sept. 6 announced to the Siena community that he would be retiring as president at the conclusion of the current academic year. Dr. Seifert joins Dr. Gibson as the only non-friars to hold the College’s presidency in the 85-year history of the Franciscan institution.
He will begin his term on June 1, 2023, with an inauguration ceremony scheduled for Sept. 21.
“I am very humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead an organization in which I believe in so wholeheartedly,” said Dr. Seifert. “I dedicate myself to making sure that all members of the Siena community are heard and respected – and that we all endeavor to achieve the goal of developing new generations of leaders eager to create a more just, peaceful and humane world. I look forward to working together to help meet Siena’s mission.”
In a letter to the Siena community announcing the appointment, Tom Baldwin (’81), chair of the Board of Trustees, said that the perfect person to lead Siena forward has played a leading role in taking the college this far.
“Over the past several years, against the backdrop of a pandemic, [Siena College] has set enrollment and fundraising records, established financial sustainability, and built new facilities while drawing the blueprint for what’s to come. The Board adamantly believes it necessary to build on [this] momentum,” Mr. Baldwin said.
“The president of Siena College should always be someone who is passionately and personally invested in the mission and Franciscan tradition of our institution. We expect our president to show reverence and understanding of our history and share in our vision and ambition for Siena’s future,” continued Mr. Baldwin. “From the very beginning of this search, one person has stood out as eminently qualified to continue this legacy. Dr. Seifert has been instrumental in Siena’s recent successes and has exceeded every standard set forth by the Board.”
During his more than 26 years of service to the Loudonville, New York-based institution, Dr. Seifert has held positions on all levels – among them faculty member, dean, and interim vice president for academic affairs. A former banker and chief financial officer in the private sector, Dr. Seifert is founder of Siena’s Institute for Leadership Development and has led numerous committees and task forces. A devout Christian and proud Franciscan, Dr. Seifert has also served as a mentor in the Siena men’s spirituality group and has collaborated closely with the Most Reverend Edward Scharfenberger, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.
Kevin Mullen, OFM (’75), Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province and a former president of Siena College who serves on the Board of Trustees, said that Dr. Seifert has a long history and experience with Siena and the Franciscan friars.
“Chuck is a Franciscan. I can actually say that with all confidence. I know that he values our mission and, in a sense, we as friars give that to folks to cherish. Chuck cherishes it and he’ll do well with it. Siena is going to do well with Chuck as our leader,” Kevin said.
Dr. Gibson characterized the new president as “wise and experienced,” and who has played an important role in the highly collaborative process of Siena’s strategic plan. “For that reason, and many others, Chuck is exactly the right person to be the 13th president of Siena College. He’s going to be outstanding. I am so excited for his presidency and I look forward to it,” Dr. Gibson said.
Margaret Madden, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of Siena College, said of Dr. Seifert, “He is committed, first and foremost, to student success, and he’s been very involved in innovative programming that has moved the College forward in significant ways. I know he will continue to encourage us to consider new ways of doing things and to further the mission of the institution in ways that allow it to thrive over the course of the next few years. I am looking forward to working with Chuck. I think it’s a great moment for the institution.”
Added Mr. Baldwin, the Board chairman, “I’m proud that a member of our community – by absolute devotion to Siena, impeccable credentials, and a strong track record for leadership – has distinguished himself so clearly for the presidency. Bringing in Chuck as the 13th president of Siena is really a sign of the College’s strength. Having a highly qualified candidate like this already on campus says a lot about the school. Siena is bucking many of the trends that are plaguing private colleges today. We know who we are, where we are going, and we need to stay the course. He’s the right person in the right place at the right time. I think he’ll be an excellent president.”