DEAN BONNER'S RETIREMENT MARKS 20 YEARS OF PROGRESS
Upon the announcement by Dean Hugh Bonner, PhD, that he will retire this summer, the University community reflected on how markedly improved he leaves the College of Health Professions.
“Hugh Bonner was one of my first administrative hires at Upstate when I first became president in 1995, and I have always considered it among my best,” said Interim President Gregory Eastwood, MD. “Dr. Bonner’s imprint on the quality preparation of our graduates will be felt for years to come.”
Dr. Bonner guided the College to become a true upper division and graduate institution, reflecting the increase in professionalism and licensure requirements. He helped lead the College toward licensure standards for both medical laboratory technology and perfusion. The MS Physician Assistant program vaulted to one of the state’s best, and the post-graduate DPT provided licensed Physical Therapists an opportunity to earn their doctorate.
A master’s medical microbiology program and new baccalaureate tracks in medical biotechnology, medical sonography, MRI and CT, were also developed. As a result, the College has grown in numbers and prestige – from 200 full-time students in 1995 to more than 400 today. Dr. Bonner helped to secure $4.5 million in federal, state and local grants as well as numerous equipment donations.
His service in national agencies for health education and specialized accreditation has brought national stature to the College. His offices have included: past president of CAAHEP, board member of NAACLS, representative on the Commission of Accreditation for Respiratory Care; and member of the NYS Respiratory Care Licensing Board (10 years). He is a site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation for PT Education.
To develop a dialogue among academic deans and CEOs of nursing and health professions accreditation societies, Dr. Bonner co-hosted national meetings under the auspices of CAAHEP and the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). He served two ASAHP board terms, and has been an ASAHP Fellow since 2005. In 2010, he received the Darrell Mase Presidential Citation – the society’s most prestigious honor for leadership in allied health education. Dr. Bonner also is a contributing editor for the Journal of Allied Health.
Dr. Bonner’s active role in NY-AHEC (Area Health Education Centers) has strengthened linkages to better meet the needs of rural medically underserved communities. He served on its board since it began in 1997 and was confirmed by Congress to serve on its federal oversight advisory committee. He provided a strong voice for the health professions in regional high schools, colleges and hospitals and he worked to prepare the health professions workforce to serve in these communities.
“Hugh Bonner gave a face to the College of Health Professions and Upstate Medical University,” said Dan Hurley, assistant vice president for Government and Community Relations. For instance, the Dean’s Leadership Coffee receptions for local elected officials and community leaders have been “a valuable conduit to grow relationships and build supporters of the College.”
Dr. Bonner has “walked the walk” in many levels of community engagement, building important relationships on the alumni board and among the over 4,000 CHP alumni along the way. “He has been a staunch supporter and participant at alumni events,” noted Alumni Association President Josie Przepiora: “It has been my pleasure to serve beside him.”
The CHP Alumni Association wishes Dr. Bonner and his wife Lynette all the best as they move to Georgia, closer to their daughter, two sons an dsix grandchildren.