Finger Lakes Institute Leader Named – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Finger Lakes Institute Leader Named

Hobart and William Smith Colleges select director for new environmental research and education center

(March 16, 2004) Geneva, N.Y.–Marion E. Balyszak was recently named interim director of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The Institute, which was initiated in 2002 with the receipt of a $1 million grant from the State of New York, is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and the surrounding environments. It will be housed in a recently renovated facility at 601 S. Main St. The interim director's position is half-time and funded by a grant from the Triad Foundation in Ithaca, and, through the advocacy of Sen. Michael Nozzolio (R-Fayette), the New York State legislature. Balyszak began her duties in late February.

Balyszak brings more than 20 years of non-profit administrative experience to this new position, seven of those years in the area of water quality issues. She is the executive director of Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Inc. and is the current chair of the Seneca Lake Area Partners in Five Counties. She will retain these positions. Prior to her association with the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association she was a program assistant for the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance. She also has had significant experience in a number of other area non-profit organizations.

As interim director Balyszak will provide leadership for the Institute and initiate and establish a comprehensive, externally-funded program at the Colleges that fosters research, educational outreach and community service concerning the Finger Lakes in New York State. She will work closely with Colleges' administration and faculty as well as regional planners, business leaders, government and water quality officials, and students to support and develop the Institute's mission and activities.

“Through my work at the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association I have worked with and developed relationships with many of the faculty and staff members at the Colleges, and I am confident that I can use my related knowledge and skills to build a strong and lasting environmental resource for this area,” said Balyszak.

The goals of the Finger Lakes Institute are to advance, coordinate and disseminate scientific understanding about the Finger Lakes environment; provide interdisciplinary training for the next generation of environmental researchers, educators and policy makers; serve as a clearinghouse for environmental issues by regional policy makers and the general public; and create and disseminate educational resources and opportunities at all levels.

“Marion's experience makes her a perfect choice to lead this organization,” said John Halfman, professor of geoscience at HWS, who has been directing the establishment of the Institute. “She not only has experience in the administration of programming and fund-raising, but she has the specific skills we were looking for that will aid in building community outreach and program recognition in the field of watershed management and water quality.”

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