News Hartwick College Board of Trustees Announces College Leadership Transition

October 12, 2023

The Hartwick College Board of Trustees has announced that Darren Reisberg will step down as college president at the end of the fall 2023 semester to take a position as Senior Counselor to the Chancellor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. In a message to the Hartwick community, Board Chair David Long ’83, H’14 and Vice Chair Kathy Fallon ’88 also announced the appointment of Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr., to serve as interim president, effective December 16, 2023, while the Board conducts a search for a permanent president.

“Darren approached his role as president with courage and conviction, devoting his undivided time and attention to become familiar with our college, its challenges, and its opportunities,” said Kathy Fallon. “From the moment of his arrival and ever since, he has exceeded our already high expectations of his leadership and commitment. He worked tirelessly to ensure our community could emerge from the challenges of the pandemic, working closely with the faculty, staff, administration, students and our Board of Trustees. Among his greatest contributions was delivering an infusion of energy and momentum.”

As interim leader, Dr. Mullen brings 21 years as a college and university president and over 30 years of experience in leadership positions in public and private higher education to Hartwick College. He served for 11 years as the President of Allegheny College, as well as the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville and the President of the College of our Lady of the Elms. Most recently, he served as transitional president of Saint John’s University.

Dr. Mullen steps into his interim role already intimately familiar with Hartwick’s mission, having served in 2019 as the external liaison in the College’s successful re-accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

In addition to his duties as president, Dr. Mullen has held leadership positions in major national organizations representing higher education, including several board positions. Dr. Mullen received his bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, his master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Mullen as he engages the Hartwick community in maintaining the momentum created during President Reisberg’s tenure,” added Trustee Vice Chair Fallon, who praised these accomplishments in particular: 

  • Increased new enrollment by nearly 10% year-over-year.
  • Stood up five new majors and six new minors in high-demand areas – cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing, game development, sports management and web design – and enrollments are already exceeding expectations. 
  • Elevated our athletics programs and nearly every team made it to the Empire 8 postseason. 
  • Resumed a full January term that offers life-enhancing experiences outside the U.S. 
  • Strengthened our relationship with the region by expanding access to our special Hartwick experience through the Hartland Promise – a program for students from Otsego and its seven contiguous counties. 
  • Partnered with SUNY-Oneonta to develop the One-Hart articulation into Hartwick’s storied nursing program and with SUNY-Oneonta and Bassett Healthcare Network to stand up Bassett CARES, a career development and loan forgiveness program for Hartwick students interested in a range of career paths in Bassett’s healthcare system.
  • Initiated two distinct efforts to engage our students and faculty with government leaders at the local, state, national, and global level.
  • Raised over $7 million in philanthropy – including corporate, foundation, and government support to invest in campus vibrancy and infrastructure, student scholarships, and academic programs.