ALBANY, N.Y. (March 14, 2023) – The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York (CICU) elected two new members to its Board of Trustees at its 67th annual meeting.

The Board of Trustees for CICU is comprised of presidents of colleges and universities in every region of New York State and highlights the diversity of institution type and size within New York State’s Independent Sector of higher education.

The two newly appointed members to the CICU Board of Trustees are:

– Christopher Ames, Ph.D., Russell Sage College
– James Lentini, Ph.D., Molloy University

“We are proud to have Dr. Ames and Dr. Lentini join the board to lend their expertise, talent, and vision for ensuring higher education here in New York State remains strong,” said Lola W. Brabham, president of CICU. “I look forward to the diversity of perspectives and wealth of experience they bring on higher education issues, including healthcare and educator preparation programs, innovation, workforce development, and social equity,” Brabham said. “Each president on CICU’s Board of Trustees is an invaluable voice at the table and these two new trustees will help to amplify that voice in support of CICU’s advocacy for the independent sector.”

“CICU’s Board of Trustees is honored to welcome Christopher Ames and James Lentini as trustees,” said Dr. David C. Munson Jr., chair of the CICU Board of Trustees and president of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He added, “Both Dr. Ames and Dr. Lentini are leaders in their regions and in higher education. Their institutions shape our world through ideas that inspire, inform, and improve lives. I thank them for their commitment to the higher education community here in New York.”

Presidents Ames and Lentini join 23 existing members of CICU’s board of trustees. The board also voted to extend by one year the terms of both vice chairs, Presidents David Harris of Union College and Laura Sparks of The Cooper Union; Treasurer Joanne Passaro, President of Metropolitan College; and Secretary Lorrie Clemo, President of D’Youville University.

Dr. Christopher Ames is the 10th president of Russell Sage College. He joined Sage in July 2017 from Shepherd University, the public liberal arts university of West Virginia, where he served as provost. He previously served as provost and senior vice president at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and as provost and dean at Washington College in Maryland.

Dr. James Lentini began his tenure as Molloy University’s seventh president in June 2020. Under his leadership, important goals and objectives have been established to expand enrollment and develop new academic programs to meet the needs of students and the greater New York metropolitan area. Milestones achieved include Molloy’s status change from a college to a university in 2022. Building a new vision for the future, Dr. Lentini is leading the development of a new strategic plan that sets a path for Molloy to expand its impact and reach as a comprehensive university that offers top-tier professional and academic programs rooted in the liberal arts.

To learn more about CICU, please visit


About the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York: The CICU is a statewide association representing the public policy interests of the chief executives of more than 100 independent colleges and universities in New York State.

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