FLUSHING, NY—The sixth president of Vaughn College, Dr. John C. Fitzpatrick, today announced his decision to retire as president at the end of December 2014 concluding a long and distinguished career with Vaughn College. During his 16-year tenure as president, he led the institution during a time of transformational change.
Fitzpatrick made his announcement on Friday, April 12 in a memo to the campus community. “By far my greatest pleasure during my time as president has been to serve you, the students, faculty, staff, and board of trustees of Vaughn College,” he said. “It is with a tremendous appreciation for all of the work that we have done together that I move on to the next phase of my life with a tremendous sense of pride and belief that we are an institution on the move.”
Chair of the Board of Trustees Thomas McKee noted the indelible mark that Fitzpatrick has left on Vaughn College. “For the past 16 years, and for that matter the last 35 years, Vaughn College has been fortunate to have the talents of Dr. Fitzpatrick’s dedication and leadership at all levels of the institution,” he noted. “The transformation from primarily technical training to a growing academic institution has been as a direct result of his vision and passion to serve students and faculty.” McKee further noted that the board reluctantly accepted the retirement noting the achievements that have propelled the institution to its current success.
Some of the most notable accomplishments over the last 16 years at Vaughn College include:
- Successful implementation of the institution’s first-ever strategic plan that resulted in revenues increasing from $10 million to more than $33 million while decreasing institutional dependence on tuition
- Construction of the institution’s first residence hall
- Establishment of the first engineering degree and the first master’s program
- Achieved financial equilibrium for the first time in more than two decades
- Establishment of Vaughn’s first international program in India
- Secured more than $26 million for renovation of Vaughn’s main campus building
- Competitively awarded more than $25 million in grant funding which was invested in laboratories, equipment and teaching pedagogy
- Established the first development effort and raised more than $4 million for the institution
- Recognition four out of the last five years as one of the best colleges in the Northeast by US News and consistently one of the most racially and economically diverse institutions
- Achieved a 65 percent increase in enrollment in the last five years to grow to more than 1,750 students on campus and nearly 2,000 worldwide
Before becoming Vaughn’s sixth president, Fitzpatrick served in a variety of positions at the institution including vice president of academic affairs and dean of students. A native New Yorker and a Vietnam veteran, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Dowling College, a master’s of business administration also from Dowling and a doctorate in education from Hofstra University.
Fitzpatrick joined, what was then known as the Academy of Aeronautics, in 1978 as a faculty member in the aviation maintenance department. From there, he progressed through several increasingly responsible administrative positions until he was named president on February 10, 1997.
McKee noted that efforts will begin soon to find the next president. “During this transition time, the board fully supports Dr. Fitzpatrick and all of the important work that lies ahead including the implementation of our strategic plan.”
Vaughn College was founded in 1932 and today offers nearly 2,000 students undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, aviation, t echnology and management. The institution is recognized by the US Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and enrolls mostly first-generation college students and first-generation Americans.