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SUNY Brockport’s fourth president, John Van de Wetering, dies at 93

Former SUNY Brockport President John Van de Wetering died last week at the age of 93. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Former SUNY Brockport President John Van de Wetering died last week at the age of 93. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Sarah Killip / Staff Writer

John Van de Wetering, former SUNY Brockport President, died on Nov. 2 at the age of 93. Throughout his 16-year tenure, 1981 to 1997, Van de Wetering was able to create a lasting impact on the community.  

Warren Kozireski, a SUNY Brockport professor, was a student at the college the first two years of Van de Wetering’s tenure and an employee for his last eight. 

“He was very personable and visible on campus,” Kozireski said. “He helped Brockport build more into the Rochester community with our downtown campus, among many initiatives. He also emphasized expanding our adult-continuing education program.” 

Kozireski knew Van de Wetering personally and remembers how his presence always lifted others’ moods around campus. 

“He always gave a friendly hello,” Kozireski said. “He made an effort to know who you were. I remember best his monthly open forums held in the lounge area of the Union during the academic year. It was an open mic type of event and any student, faculty or staff were able to ask him any question they wanted.” 

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Mike Andriatchthe Vice President for Advancement and President of the Brockport Foundation, was a student at the college in 1983 and was hired as the Sports Information Director in 1985. 

“John was a great person with a very difficult job,” Andriatch said. “When he arrived, state support for higher education was dwindling and he had many difficult budget decisions to make. Many of those decisions were not popular, but he had the long-term view of the college in mind and made choices that sustained us for the long haul. He led enrollment initiatives and programmatic growth through the 1990s that raise the stature of Brockport.” 

Like KozireskiAndriatch was also able to establish a rapport with Van de Wetering 

“I got to know him even more after he retired. He was a kind gentleman and was very involved in the greater Rochester community, serving on numerous boards. His wife Maxine told me that he considered the presidency of Brockport as the pinnacle of his career,” Andriatch said. 

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras released a statement upon news of Van de Wetering’s passing. 

“On behalf of the SUNY family, I am saddened by the passing of former Brockport College President John Van de Wetering. Everything John did throughout his 16-year tenure was grounded in the belief that a college education should be accessible to anyone willing to vigorously pursue it. With that in mind, John worked tenaciously to increase diversity, attract international students, and create programs for learners from all walks of life. That mission is his legacy—and one we strive to build on each and every day. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”  

A celebration of Van de Wetering’s life will be held on a later date. His obituary can be found here. 

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