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The search for the next president of SUNY Buffalo State has been narrowed to five candidates, who will begin visiting the Elmwood Avenue campus in the coming days and weeks.

While the community will get a chance to meet all of them, the name of each finalist will be released the day before the scheduled interview date to help ensure confidentiality as long as possible, explained Howard Zemsky, chairman of the Buffalo State Council and its presidential search committee.

The first visit will begin Monday with Susan D. Phillips, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University at Albany, Zemsky announced Friday in a campus email.

“The candidates will have the opportunity to meet with many constituent groups during their visits,” Zemsky said.

“The finalists will also give a presentation to the campus community that all faculty, staff and students are invited to attend.”

“We encourage all members of the Buffalo State community to participate in as much of the process as possible to help us select the candidate best suited to lead our college,” Zemsky said. “We will collect your input using a series of individualized surveys that will follow the introduction of each candidate.”

Since 2008, Phillips has been provost at Albany, where she started as an assistant professor in 1979 and rose through the ranks, serving as a department chairwoman and dean of the School of Education.

Phillips received her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, then went on to Columbia University, where she earned a master’s in psychology and a doctorate in counseling psychology.

Phillips will speak to the campus community during an open forum from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Monday in the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium.

The schedule for the presidential finalists shows five two-day visits starting Monday and continuing through May 13.

Howard Cohen, chancellor emeritus at Purdue University Calumet in Indiana, has been serving as interim president at Buffalo State since last August while a 22-member search committee looked for a permanent replacement for the late Aaron M. Podolefsky.

Podolefsky took over as the eighth president of Buffalo State on July 1, 2010, but had to resign last July amid his battle with prostate cancer. He died days later at age 67.

email: jrey@buffnews.com