About Carolyn J. Stefanco
Carolyn J. Stefanco is the 11th president of The College of Saint Rose, and is its first permanent female lay President. She joined the College in 2014 after serving as vice president for academic affairs at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia; as the founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at California State University, Stanislaus; and after a long career as a tenured professor of history at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), where she held numerous leadership positions. Early in her career, she also worked as a professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and at Oklahoma State University. Stefanco earned a Ph.D. in history from Duke University, an M.A. in women’s history from Binghamton University, and a B.A. in history and a women’s studies certificate from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Her experiences growing up in an immigrant neighborhood in northern New Jersey continue to fuel her passion for global connectedness. Stefanco was a Senior Fulbright Scholar to the University of Zagreb in Croatia; served as resident director of a London Study Program; created programs for student exchange and faculty research in Honduras, Brazil, Portugal, and Croatia; and worked as a higher education consultant for Saudi Arabia. She is a trustee of the American University in Bulgaria, was recently elected to the board of the International Leadership Association, and is on the Student Aid Policy Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In the Capital Region, she serves on the Executive Board of Women@Work, and on the Board of Directors for the Center for Economic Growth.
As a first-generation college student, Stefanco is leading efforts to ensure student success. One of her first decisions as president was to create a new division called Student Success and Engagement, which is increasing retention and graduation rates, and enabling students to achieve their personal and professional goals. Saint Rose has established a mentoring program for first-generation students, reimagined the College’s summer orientation program, and has developed a leadership program for all first-year students.
Stefanco and her team are looking forward to welcoming the largest first-year class in institutional history in Fall 2018. The College invested in a robust new recruitment plan, and students are now being drawn to Saint Rose from across the country and around the world for its highly recognized programs in music industry, communication sciences and disorders, and graphic design, among others. In Fall 2018, the College set another record, and enrolled its most diverse first-year class in history, with more than 50 percent students of color.
To attract students, Saint Rose has created new academic programs and provided more scholarships. In the past three years, the College has launched new undergraduate degrees including music performance and cybersecurity, new graduate programs including business analytics, computer science, and social work; and several dual undergraduate/graduate degree programs including psychology BA/MBA. Offering new degrees to meet student demand and workforce needs has helped Stefanco with fundraising. A resurgence of giving to the College culminated in June 2017 with Saint Rose’s largest annual giving total in 15 years. The dollars raised support the College’s mission of serving all students, regardless of financial means. They also reflect Stefanco’s own commitment to the transformative power of education for individuals and families.