Montclair State University’s President Susan A. Cole announced her retirement on Wednesday, Sept. 9 in the Fall 2020 Address.
The announcement came after a speech given by Cole thanking her faculty for their contributions made during the unprecedented school year. Cole also ensured her fellow students and staff of the security the university is continuing to implement to keep everyone safe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cole will be rounding out her 23rd year as Montclair State’s first female president, as her term is set to end July 1, 2021. The announcement came as a shock to many as she stated she had informed the board of trustees of her decision but made sure to explain that she will still continue to fight for the school until the end of her term.
Rich Wolfson, a professor at Montclair State and head of the faculty union, was not surprised by the announcement.
“I was not expecting the announcement at this time, but it wasn’t a surprise,” Wolfson said. “Dr. Cole has been here since 1998 and this is inevitable for sure.”
After Cole’s announcement, she went on to explain the reason for which she decided to conclude her more than two-decade presidency.
“No, I am not finished. I could never be finished. So, at some point I just have to stop,” Cole said. “The university will never be finished; it is organic, and ever-changing and meant for the ages, not for the decades.”
Cole went on to talk about her time at Montclair State and reflected on how she first found the school and how not only she, but the university and all its students, have grown with her.
“When I came to Montclair State, I found a solid institution with good and talented people and with enormous potential,” Cole said. “I had a vision and ridiculous optimism about our ability.”
Cole established new schools and colleges throughout her years, including the John J. Cali School of Music, the School of Communication and Media and University College. Along with adding increased academic opportunity, Montclair State increased enrollment from 12,000 students to 21,000 students during her tenure.
Cole’s address after her announcement was focused on the safety and the future of the university. Cole thoroughly went through every Montclair State college and pointed out the ways in which they have gone “above and beyond” for its community. To conclude her address, she had members of the university singers perform after she stated that the voices of her students were the thing that motivated her the most.
Melissa Hughes, a sophomore music education major, was one of the students who had the opportunity to perform in the address.
“I know Dr. Cole cared a lot about the music department and she has a real appreciation for the arts,” Hughes said. “I hope whoever our next president is they have the same passions and is committed to making Montclair [State] inclusive to all students and departments.”
Bryanna Matos, a senior psychology major, says that she is going to miss Cole.
“During her presidency, I have enjoyed her initiative in ending any type of smoking on campus,” Matos said. “I feel very sad about President Cole’s announcement, I will miss her very much.”
After holding her position for two decades, Cole’s retirement will surely make an impact on the Montclair State community