Mohawk Valley Community College President Dr. Randall J. VanWagoner will join a group of Upstate N.Y. higher education leaders in an online conversation titled "Rebuild Upstate: Lessons from Education" at noon on Aug. 6. The panelists will describe their experiences navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and share their views on how their institutions plan to reopen this fall. Registration is free at

Panelists for the Aug. 6 conversation include:

  • Dr. Linda M. LeMura – President, Le Moyne College 
  • Dr. Gerard Rooney – President, St. John Fisher College
  • Dr. Randall J. VanWagoner - President, Mohawk Valley Community College

According to President VanWagoner: “These unprecedented times are testing the strength of our organizational cultures, systems, and creativity to rethink and evolve how we approach our work to find new ways of supporting student success.”

This event is the third Rebuild Upstate leadership conversation organized by Upstate Venture Connect in Syracuse, N.Y. “Higher education institutions are the jewels of Upstate communities,” said UVC CEO Nasir Ali. “They are big drivers of our economy and global brands drawing the best and brightest talent to our region every year. The pandemic has created severe disruptions in the higher ed business model and the Upstate business community is eager to see how they can assist these institutions as they transition to new modes of education.”

The Rochester Beacon, a nonprofit digital news publication, is partnering with UVC on this effort to share a wide selection of leaders’ views from across the region. Beacon publisher and serial healthcare entrepreneur Alex Zapesochny will moderate the discussion. "Higher education institutions have experienced unprecedented challenges from COVID-19," said Zapesochny. "Understanding what these leaders have learned and how they plan to move forward is a big element of our region’s rebound."