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Interim president at Buffalo State wants the job permanently

The interim president of SUNY Buffalo State has thrown his hat in the ring for the permanent post.

Howard Cohen has been serving as interim head of the college since last August while a 22-member search committee looks for a permanent replacement for the late Aaron M. Podolefsky.

Cohen initially had no intention of seeking the job on a permanent basis, but today Howard Zemsky, the chairman of the search committee, announced that Cohen was one of five finalists and will be part of the on-campus interview process Thursday and Friday.

“I have applied for the presidency after having come to SUNY Buffalo State as interim president with no intention of staying beyond one year. During the course of my initial months on campus it has become clear to me that I have the energy and the capacity to enjoy the work of leading a college. I have been warmly accepted by colleagues, and I have experienced the sense of common purpose that makes leadership rewarding,” Cohen said in a statement Wednesday released through the college’s public relations director, Jerod Dahlgren.

“Buffalo State has faced some significant challenges over the past several months, and has proven itself to have great resiliency in facing those challenges and working collectively to address them,” the statement continued. “Working in an environment where there is much to be done, general willingness to do it, and a strong prospect of success is highly satisfying. In my case, the pull of these elements has been strong enough to cause me to reconsider my previous decision.”

Cohen is chancellor emeritus of Purdue University Calumet in Indiana. He was chancellor of the Hammond, Ind. school from 2001 to 2011.

Prior to that he spent six years as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. He has been in higher education for more than 40 years.

Gary L. Miller, chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, also was on campus on Tuesday participating in a series of meetings and interview sessions.

The first finalist, Susan D. Phillips, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University at Albany, visited the campus April 21.

The search committee releases the name of each finalist the day before his or her scheduled interviews. Interviews with the other finalists will continue through May 13.