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SCCC president to retire after 17 years at helm

The longest-serving president in the history of Schenectady County Community College will retire at year's end.

Gabe Basil, who has served as SCCC's president for 17 years, announced his retirement on Tuesday, June 24. He will continue to serve as president through Monday, Dec. 1.

Basil, 67, of Niskayuna, came to SCCC in 1982 when he was appointed dean of academic affairs. He assumed the role of vice president in 1987, was named interim president in 1991 and was appointed president in 1992.

Basil said that he had been considering retirement for several years, but he felt that his departure at the end of 2008 would be a good time for both his family and the college.

The academic year 2008-2009 is an ideal time for transition to a new president, considering the opportunities of the recently completed culinary arts wing and the approved music addition to the Begley Building, potential enrollment growth and new opportunities via student housing, he said.

Basil said he's most proud of increasing college programs and course offerings during his presidency. He said he hopes that in the future, he will see the college realize its student housing needs and expand across Washington Avenue.

During his tenure as president, Basil witnessed SCCC evolve from a few individual buildings to an integrated downtown campus.

Basil also witnessed the dawn of the college's aviation program and a community archaeology program. Along with new programs, Basil helped develop the college's reputation in the culinary arts and assisted in securing partnerships with local businesses.

Robert Ruggeri, outgoing chairman of the board of trustees, called Basil's departure "a great loss for the college."

During Ruggeri's nine years on the board, he said, he watched Basil stand up for the college on several important issues, including the rumored move of the college's music program, which Basil staunchly opposed.

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