SUNY Board Appoints Dr. Zvi Szafran as SUNY Canton President

President Zvi Szafran

The SUNY Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Zvi Szafran as SUNY Canton’s fourth president today, Thursday, April 3.

Dr. Szafran is currently the vice president for academic affairs and professor of chemistry at Southern Polytechnic State University in the University System of Georgia, a position he has held since 2005. He will begin his duties at SUNY Canton in the beginning of July.

Dr. Szafran thanked the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Zimpher and the SUNY Canton community.

“I am thrilled to be joining SUNY Canton at such an exciting time,” he said. “With the College’s unique mission and strong strategic plan, there are great opportunities on the horizon.”

Dr. Szafran will replace Acting President Dr. Joseph C. Hoffman, who has led the College since June 2013.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Szafran to the SUNY Canton family,” said Dr. Hoffman. “His understanding of the value of SUNY Canton’s mission was evident during his campus visit, and it is clear that he is the right choice to lead the College.”

Ronald M. O’Neill, SUNY Canton College Council chair and chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said, “Dr. Szafran’s background, experience and leadership are perfectly suited to our campus. All of us at the College look forward to his arrival and to working together with him.”

Dr. Szafran also served as the vice president for academic affairs at New England College in New Hampshire from 1998-2005. Previously, he held several positions at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, including dean of science and engineering, chairman of the chemistry department, assistant to the dean of arts and sciences, and professor. Szafran earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree, also in chemistry, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

In addition to the SUNY Canton announcement, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg as president of SUNY Potsdam. Dr. Esterberg is currently the provost and academic vice president at Salem State University in Massachusetts.

“With new presidents at SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton, the students, faculty and staff at both campuses will have excellent leadership in place as they continue their impeccable service to New York’s North Country communities,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Dr. Hefner and Dr. Hoffman for their interim leadership, and the presidential search committees at both campuses for bringing us this highly promising next generation.”

“This is an exciting and proud day for all of SUNY and New York State,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Not only do Dr. Esterberg and Dr. Szafran each bring unique experience and an impressive history of leadership to SUNY; their appointments also pave the way for continued system-wide efficiency to be achieved through shared services. I look forward to working with Dr. Esterberg and Dr. Szafran, and commend the Board for recognizing their talent.”

Dr. Szafran and his wife, Jill, have one son, Mark.

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier College for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs. The College delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management, and public service to students in the North Country, New York State, and beyond. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as eight exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The College’s 14 athletic teams compete in state-of-the-art facilities as provisional members of the NCAA Division III and the USCAA.

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating nearly 463,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs, and more than 1.8 million NYS citizens in professional development and personal enrichment programs, on 64 college and university campuses. There are nearly 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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