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OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill To Retire Next Spring

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Roger Mirabito
OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill talks with WAER's Chris Bolt about her tenure.

The President of Onondaga Community College for the last nine years has decided this academic year will be her last. Dr. Casey Crabill told her Board of Trustees Tuesday that she’ll retire at the end of the school year. She cites age, a desire to accomplish some personal goals, and turning the school over to a new leader for its next strategic plan. Crabill says one of the highlights of her plan was adding a dozen new programs to meet local needs.

"In areas where we had previously not had substantial programming...electromechanical, drone technology, a revised automotive technology program, GPS technology, cybersecurity, things that we know lead to thrivable wage jobs locally.”        

She also says the college rose to diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges. Officials tried to find – and reduce – anything that could get in the way of student success.

“Lots of things have changed...the kinds of supports we have on campus: From an inadvertent food pantry to a very organized support service; From referrals to health care providers in the area to a health service on campus; From two or three counselors trying to manage the load to a network of behavioral health providers.”    

Crabill praised the faculty and staff for managing the pandemic, while keeping students as the focus. They came back to in-person classes before many other colleges, after data showed it helped students succeed. She admits the year will be bittersweet, wrapping up a career in higher education that began in 1977. The board will conduct a national search for her replacement.

Other highlights during her tenure, as provided by the college:

  • Leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes remained primarily in-person while virtual options were expanded. The 2020-2021 academic year concluded with three in-person commencement ceremonies.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic OCC continued to respond to industry demands by creating new degree and certificate programs including Paramedic, Health Sciences, Health Studies, Electromechanical: Drone Technology, Geospatial Science & Technology, Sound Recording, and Creative Writing.
  • The reaccreditation of the College by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Creation of the first-in-the-nation Box of Books program which cut student textbook costs in half and provided students the opportunity to purchase laptops at a reduced price.
  • The creation of the Lillian Slutzker Honors College which provides 15 new students each year the opportunity to attend OCC tuition-free.
  • A strong institutional commitment to the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, resulting in OCC’s chapter being ranked among the top 10 in the world each of the last three academic years.
  • The reorganization of the College’s degree and certificate programs into 8 schools, each with a unique academic focus, creating a home for students with similar interests and goals. Each School has a team of faculty, advisors, and student coaches who specialize in specific areas and are dedicated to supporting student success.
  • Started “OCC Advantage” which gives graduating high school students in partner school districts the opportunity to attend OCC tuition-free.
  • The complete renovation of the College’s Coulter Library building.
  • The complete reconstruction of the quad on the west side of campus.
  • The certification of Academic II and the SRC Arena as LEED Gold buildings.