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Two local colleges hire leadership executives

Two Rochester-area colleges have made new administrative appointments, with two hires migrating from one school to another.

State University College at Geneseo has hired a new vice president for college advancement and executive director of the Geneseo Foundation. Ellen Leverich, a 1990 graduate of Geneseo, most recently in development at the Bloomsburg University Foundation in Pennsylvania, will start work at Geneseo on Feb. 20.

Ellen Leverich
Ellen Leverich

According to the college, Leverich comes to Geneseo with a major fundraising track record, including raising $10 million in the last fiscal year — a 69 percent increase over the previous year — for the Bloomsburg University Foundation. Her other work experience includes 17 years as director of development for Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy in Richmond, Va.

“I’m delighted that Ellen is returning to her alma mater to lead this vitally important function of the College,” said Geneseo President Denise A. Battles. “Her distinguished record of accomplishments in advancement will benefit our students, faculty, and staff along with other college stakeholders as we foster Geneseo’s continued success.”

Justin Johnston
Justin Johnston

The Geneseo position has been in transition for much of the last year, with the last permanent appointee, K. Johnson Bowles, leaving in March.  Justin Johnston, an assistant vice president, took the position Bowles had held on an interim basis but earlier this month started a job at Genesee Community College Dec. 3.

Johnston is now the vice president of development and external affairs at Genesee Community College, while working on his doctorate in philanthropy at Canisus College in Buffalo. He lives in Williamsville, Erie County.
Miguel Baique
Miguel Baique

GCC also recently appointed Miguel Baique, a native of Queens, to the new position of director of student engagement and inclusion. Baique had worked for nearly two years at the McNair Scholars program at Geneseo, and previously as an area director for residential life at Nazareth College. He’s pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Rochester.

“With strong teams in both of these important areas of Genesee Community College, I believe these two new leaders will be a huge asset and are in a great position to further support student success which is the core of our mission,” said GCC President James M. Sunser. “We are excited about the Spring 2020 semester with these new faces who bring great experience and enthusiasm.”

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Advancement chief at SUNY Geneseo leaves suddenly

K. Johnson Bowles has suddenly left her position as chief of advancement and the director of the Geneseo Foundation at the State University College at Geneseo.

College President Denise Battles announced the departure Friday morning in a campus community email, saying it was effective immediately. Bowles apparently left Thursday.

“I appreciate Ms. Bowles’ service to the College and wish her the best in her future endeavors,” Battles said.

By Friday afternoon, the college’s web site had been edited to remove several mentions of Bowles’ employment there, including listings on the pages for president’s cabinet and for the board of the foundation.

K. Johnson Bowles
K. Johnson Bowles

Gail Glover, chief communications and marketing office for the college said, “It was a leadership decision. But out of respect for a former colleague, I’m not going to discuss a personnel issue.”

Battles announced that Bowles’ interim successor will be Justin Johnston, assistant vice president for the department.

Bowles was hired as vice president of College Advancement in July 2016, about a year after Battles became president of the college. Bowles came to Geneseo from a job in advancement she held for a little less than two years at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, N.C. With an education including master’s and bachelor’s degrees in fine arts, Bowles was director of the Longwood Center for Art and an assistant professor of art for 12 years at Longwood Univiersty in Farmville, Va.

She moved into administration and advancement after a year-long fellowship with the American Council for Education, serving for a little more than a year as an associate vice president at Longwood.

Battles had also been a fellow of the American Council for Education, but some years earlier than Bowles was in the program in 2012-2013.

Bowles is the sixth vice president or dean to leave in Battles’ tenure, with five of those departures happening in the last 16 months.

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