New hire returns to market the Adirondack college
By James M. Odato
In early October, Kathy Bonavist of Saranac Lake joined the administration as interim vice president of marketing and enrollment management, a move sought to boost student recruitment.
Enrollment has fallen by more than 40% in the past decade to fewer than 600 students. Bonavist returns to the school after a dozen years away. Her hiring comes as the college is closing on a relationship with Lynn University of Boca Raton, Fla.
For almost three years from 2008 to 2011, Bonavist directed Paul Smith’s enrollment office when the school had some of its highest student numbers, reaching 1,050 in 2012. She also served in similar capacities at The Sage Colleges in the Albany area, Manhattanville College in Purchase and Albright College in Reading, PA.
Interim President Dan Kelting said enrollment is a top priority, and to be sustainable, it must reach 800 students, up from 596 now. He also said the school must find new ways to build revenues beyond its reliance of tuition.
Bonavist’s position is one of several he is trying to fill in the wake of the break with The Fedcap Group in July, which had planned to acquire Paul Smith’s.
Also, the school has been discussing use of Paul Smith’s facilities with other organizations, including Lynn University, according to officials with both schools.
Cesar Palacios, a Lynn public relations manager, said Lynn faculty and staff visited Paul Smith’s in October to examine “how we might partner on summer programs and natural sciences.” Details are being worked out, he said. Summer use of the Paul Smith’s campus by Lynn students is a possibility.
Nicole Feml, who Kelting hired as chief of staff in May, recently was named chief operating officer as she handles multiple departments which used to have their own director.
She said the school may have an announcement soon regarding Lynn.
She added that an information technology director has been hired and will start in November, living in one of the campus residences available to help recruit staff from outside the region.
About 12 positions may be filled to support operations, Kelting said. Increased staff is needed because Fedcap discontinued providing management for numerous functions.
It had taken over key departments, such as finance, as it expected to add Paul Smith’s to its network of nonprofit businesses tied to job training and career preparation. The acquisition plan broke down after state officials would not agree with Fedcap’s business plan, which called for substantial control of Paul Smith’s operations.