Cazenovia College today has announced the retirement of its president, Dr. Ron Chesbrough, effective January 14, 2022.
Ken Gardiner, chairman of the Cazenovia College Board of Trustees, said that the Board’s Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the full Board, accepted Dr. Chesbrough’s retirement from the office of the presidency. In addition, Gardiner said College Executive Vice President Dr. David Bergh will assume the role of interim president on January 15, 2022, and the Board of Trustees will undertake the process for selecting a permanent president. The announcements follow the Executive Committee’s regularly scheduled meeting this morning.
Dr. Chesbrough began his presidency at the College in July 2016, coming from St. Charles Community College in Missouri. His retirement from Cazenovia comes after 35 years in higher education executive, administrative, and student-facing program capacities at a variety of educational institutions in several states. Dr. Chesbrough’s appointment as president at Cazenovia College capped his professional career in higher education and represented a personal homecoming for the career educator, who is originally from Northern New York.
Gardiner paid tribute to Dr. Chesbrough with this public statement: “The Board of Trustees greatly appreciates the opportunity we’ve had to work with Dr. Chesbrough over the past five-plus years. He has been a productive, positive, innovative presence for the College and has led us capably and unfailingly through difficult times. His leadership through COVID has prepared us well and strengthened the College for its next chapter. While we will miss him, we wish him the best on a deserved and well-earned retirement.”
Dr. Chesbrough added, “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Board, students, faculty, and staff of Cazenovia these past five years plus. As I have said many times, this is a special place with special people. I am confident in a strong future for the college. I am grateful for the support of many and particularly grateful to have someone in Dave Bergh ready and able to step into the role of interim president. Dave and I have worked together for many years; he has my complete confidence, a view that I believe is shared by many.”
David Bergh, Ed.D., has more than 25 years of experience in higher education leadership and administration. He joined Cazenovia College in 2016 as vice president for planning and institutional effectiveness and became executive vice president in 2019. In this role, the Central New York native was charged with revising the College’s governance structure, developing and implementing the institutional strategic plan, and with oversight for admissions, institutional research and assessment, human resources, athletics and recreation, the Equine Education Center, and Catherine Cummings Theatre operations. He is the College’s accreditation officer, co-chairs the College’s self-study process for Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation, and serves on the College’s Commission on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. He also established the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development and earned recognition for the College from NYSERDA for advancing clean energy initiatives. In the community, Bergh is vice president of the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association, a representative to the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce, and co-facilitator for Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees.
Before his position here, Dr. Bergh was dean of student life and college relations and held other student-focused roles at Johnson State College in Vermont. There, he notably established a career/internship center and dedicated Veteran’s Center; launched a capital campaign and athletics plan; and gained external recognition of the College as LGBTQ-friendly. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Allegheny College, a Master of Public Administration degree in Public Management from the State University of New York at Albany, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Vermont.
During President Chesbrough’s term, Cazenovia College: launched the first-ever graduate program in its 197-year history (the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree); managed to keep College operations and financials steady during two years of COVID-related challenges, including securing significant Federal CARES Act funds for students and the College; established the President’s Commission on Equity and Diversity; enhanced and expanded local community relations initiatives; and oversaw several improvements to campus facilities and properties.