SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Presidents at Old Westbury, Upstate Medical, and SUNY ESF Campuses

November 4, 2020

Albany, NY – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today approved the appointments of Dr. Timothy E. Sams as SUNY Old Westbury President, Dr. Mantosh Dewan as Upstate Medical University President, and Joanie Mahoney as SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry President.

The appointments were announced by SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Merryl Tisch and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras following the SUNY Board meeting.

About Dr. Timothy Sams

Dr. Timothy Sams serves as the vice president for student affairs at Prairie View A&M University. He has a record of demonstrating leadership in improving student success, particularly students from disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Dr. Sams has undertaken roles in transformational leadership; strategic change management; institutional and inclusive excellence and innovation, including senior vice president for student development at Morehouse College; vice President for student life at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; inaugurated the student life office at New York University-Abu Dhabi; was dean and director of the Black Cultural Center at Swarthmore College; and director of the Multicultural Center at Williams College.

He began his career with a focus on access and opportunity programs, where he was a counselor for the Higher Education Opportunity Program, and the Coordinator of Minority Student Services at The College of Saint Rose, in Albany, New York. Dr. Sams' career accomplishments include reaccreditation and two strategic plans, student success, efforts to increase student and staff diversity, and elevating residential college models at three institutions. He helped create the nation's first ROTC Center of Excellence, a campus-based PrEP program, a J-Mester program, a bridge program, an undergraduate completion program, an experiential learning and cultural immersion program in Ghana, West Africa, two major LGBTQ support initiatives, a student emergency resource center, and a $1.5 million federal community intervention grant. He is a student-centered leader, governed by principles of access, excellence, success, and impact.

Dr. Sams is from Syracuse, New York. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and sociology from Union College, a master's in Africana Studies from University at Albany, and a doctorate in African American Studies from Temple University. He is an MSI Aspiring Leaders Fellow and recipient of the 2020 Champions for Student Success Award from American Campus Communities. His appointment is effective on or about January 11, 2021.

About Dr. Mantosh Dewan

Dr. Mantosh Dewan has served as interim president of Upstate Medical University since 2018. Under his leadership, the SUNY campus has been commended by the Board of Trustees for their work of a pooled surveillance testing program that has assisted most SUNY campuses in meeting regular testing requirements of all students, faculty, and staff on campus.

Dr. Dewan is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. He is former chair of the department and has also served as director of Undergraduate Education and director of Residency Training. He was interim dean of the College of Medicine.

Throughout his career, which began at Upstate Medical in 1979 as an assistant professor of psychiatry, he has written 35 books and book chapters and 75 papers, and given hundreds of presentations on topics that range from brain imaging and economics of mental health care to psychotherapy and medical education. His work has been funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Dr. Dewan has an active clinical practice and is listed in The Best Doctors in America. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and has received the Scientific Achievement Award from the Indo-American Psychiatrists Association, the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the 2010 George Tarjan Award from the American Psychiatric Association, and designated an "Exemplary Chair" by SUNY in 2011.

He holds a doctor of medicine from Bombay University (currently Mumbai University). Dr. Dewan conducted his residency at University Hospital, SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse.

About Joanie Mahoney

Joanie Mahoney joined SUNY ESF in November 2018 as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, she has served on the senior leadership team where she has been instrumental in the Discovery Challenge process, expansion of ESF as an instrumental partner with government to address pressing issues like climate change and intrusion of invasive species in our waterways, and functions as point person on COVID-19 matters and preparedness.

Prior to ESF, Ms. Mahoney served as Onondaga County Executive for 11 years and oversaw all aspects of a county government, which served 460,000 residents. During her tenure as county executive, she earned national recognition for her environmentally friendly stewardship.

Before her elective office, Ms. Mahoney worked as an attorney both in private practice with the Harris Beach law firm and for five years as a criminal prosecutor in the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office.

Ms. Mahoney received her bachelor of science degree from Syracuse University's School of Management and her juris doctor from S.U.'s College of Law. Her appointment is effective immediately.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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