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Herkimer College mourns passing of founding president McLaughlin

By Traci DeLore (


HERKIMER, N.Y. — Herkimer County Community College founding President Robert McLaughlin passed away May 23 in Geneseo at the age of 101.

McLaughlin first served in a leadership role at SUNY Farmingdale before serving as president of Herkimer from 1966 to 1986. As the founding president, he played a pivotal role in shaping the institution’s vision to ensure its future success.

Robert McLaughlin (Photo courtesy of Herkimer College)

Throughout his 20 years at the college, he initiated and oversaw the development of academic programs, student services, and institutional facilities. The college center was named for and dedicated to him in May of 1986.

“President McLaughlin was a true visionary,” Nicholas Laino, SVP for administration & finance/officer-in-charge, said in a press release. “His unwavering dedication to accessible education and bold leadership leaves behind a lasting legacy. We are deeply saddened at his passing, and on behalf of the entire campus community, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to the McLaughlin family.”

Born Dec. 13, 1921, in Queens, McLaughlin was involved in many local and civic organizations over the years including the Rotary Club, HCCC College Foundation, Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority, Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Charities, and the Cogar Foundation.

He is survived by a sister, six children, and six grandchildren. His wife, Grace, passed away in 2017.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Grace McLaughlin Memorial Scholarship at Herkimer, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer, NY 13350.

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