Close this search box.

SUNY Empire State College names its first director for WNY region

DeWITT, N.Y. — SUNY Empire State College announced it has appointed Cathleen Sheils as executive director for what it calls its Western New York region.

In this newly created position, Sheils is responsible for regional student recruitment and retention programs, along with day-to-day operational management of the college’s 15 Western New York locations, including sites in Central New York. Those locations include the Syracuse–East Syracuse area, Utica, Ithaca, Binghamton, Auburn, and the Corning–Elmira area, Empire State College said in a recent news release.

Sheils’ coverage area also includes locations serving Rochester, Alfred, Batavia, Buffalo–Cheektowaga, Canandaigua, Fredonia, Lakewood–Jamestown, Lockport, and Olean.

Sheils, who started her duties Feb. 8, currently works at the college’s location in DeWitt, Empire State College said in the release.

Her office will eventually move to a new facility in the town of Brighton in Monroe County, which will serve the Rochester area, the school added.

Sheils most recently served as director of admissions for the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.

Empire State College represents a “wonderful personal and professional opportunity,” Sheils said in the release.

“I was attracted to the new position because I believe in SUNY Empire’s mission of providing broad access to a high-quality education for the state’s growing population of nontraditional students,” she said.

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, has students who are mostly working adults. The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

The school says it educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in New York state, and online.

Contact Reinhardt at


Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.