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HOUSTON DEAN EXPECTED TO HEAD ALFRED STATE

The dean of a college of technology in Houston is in line to become the new president of Alfred State College.

Chancellor Robert L. King of the State University of New York announced Thursday that Uma G. Gupta, 47, dean of the University of Houston's College of Technology, is his choice for the position.

The Alfred State search committee and the Alfred State College Council also chose Gupta. The SUNY board of trustees is expected to vote on the selection at its June meeting, and approval is expected.

In an interview Thursday, Gupta said she is excited about the new responsibilities.

"Alfred State really is poised for the next level of greatness," Gupta said.

Gupta is set to earn $140,000 per year in job, said David Henahan, a SUNY spokesman. She likely will take over the position before the start of the fall semester.

"From research and instruction to management and philanthropy, Uma Gupta excels in all facets of leadership and academic endeavor," King said in a statement.

She will succeed William D. Rezak, who announced in November he intended to retire from the Allegany County college as of June 30.

During Rezak's tenure, Alfred State began offering 12 four-year degrees, but most of the 3,200 students at the college are working toward associate's degrees.

Gupta, who learned about the Alfred State opening from an ad in a weekly higher-education newspaper, said she was impressed by the college and the area during her campus visit.

"I was stunned by how breathtakingly beautiful it was," she said, though she recalled being struck by how quiet Alfred is compared to Houston.

Having lived in Omaha, Neb., Gupta said she is familiar with the sort of fierce winter weather found in Western New York.

Gupta said she also is aware of concerns raised on campus and in the community in spring 2002 when SUNY began to study merging Alfred State with private Alfred University.

The idea was placed on hold when Rezak announced his retirement, and Henahan said SUNY is not actively discussing the merger at this time.

"It's a complex, multifaceted issue, and I don't think there are any simple answers to it," Gupta said.

A native of India, Gupta came to the United States in 1981 on a college scholarship.

Her degrees include a master of business administration and a doctorate in industrial engineering, and she has taught information systems and decision sciences.

As dean of the Houston college since 2000, Gupta has overseen the education of 2,200 students, helped to establish international alliances for the college and worked to increase external funding.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com

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