Interview with the President/Dennis Craig
January 30, 2019
Written By: Courtney Lykins
I sat down with Dennis Craig, current VP here at Purchase College, to discuss what he does at Purchase. Keep reading if ya want all your questions about being the vice president, whether pineapple belongs on pizza and how is his labradoodle, Beckett.
What do you do here at Purchase College?
I have two roles here at Purchase College, I am Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment, which encompasses many aspects of campus. My job is to make sure we are providing the right experience and continuity for all students, within all departments, and throughout all non-academic activities. Also I am currently acting Officer in Charger in the absence of President Schwarz as he goes on tour in his last year at Purchase, and will not be returning until April. This tour involves a lot of things including a higher commitment to strategic planning on campus, lobbying on behalf of the college to a number of constituents to advance our mission, working with and interfacing with donors to the campus, and tending to personal matters. There’s a lot going on here.
Where is your favorite place on campus?
Well, since I have a dog, I get to see a lot of the campus when walking him. So I go off the beaten path quite a bit. I would say there’s a triangle between the Neuberger, the old cemetery and the Admissions building, I get a very peaceful vibe, and you can feel the history of the campus here. To me it’s like a portal in time. And behind the Admissions building, that old beech tree, and you can see the remnants of the old gardens that were there. But yeah I find it really peaceful over there.
How did you end up working at Purchase College?
When President Shawarz was inaugurated I was attending as a representative of Mont Claire College in New Jersey. At this time Purchase left a very positive impression on me, it was very engaging with lots of artistic performances and I thought it was a very interesting atmosphere. I graduated from another SUNY school, so I appreciate the uniqueness of Purchase. And I thought that the academic programs and mission statement were very relavent. I saw a job and applied for it to make a long story short, and I was hired as Vice President of Enrollment Management in 2006.
What do you think make Purchase college special or unique about Purchase?
First of all, our brand, “Think Wide Open”, those words mean a lot of things that are very healthy emotional triggers for people. I think we’re in a time when there is a lot of turbulent times in the country and around the world and our motto is comforting for a lot of people. And to be able to help young people through the right of passage of higher education, in a way that is comfortable. I feel that our motto encompasses how unique our campus is.
How is your dog?
Beckett is such an interested, curious and joyous animal. The day I got him he was 9 weeks old and he jumped out of the crate as happy as can be. If every living thing could be as, have as little anxiety, and be as loving as him, the world would be a much better place. I think he’s my biggest success story.
In your personal opinion, do you think pineapple belongs on pizza?
No, no, I’m a die hard New Yorker. I kinda get the sweet savory idea, but no I’m not for the idea.