Former Rep. Chris Gibson named new Siena College president

Dr. Chris Gibson speaks with reporters on Friday after being named Siena College's new president. Dr. Chris Gibson speaks with reporters on Friday after being named Siena College's new president. | Photo: WNYT.

WNYT Staff
Updated: February 14, 2020 07:50 PM
Created: February 14, 2020 01:17 PM

LOUDONVILLE - Chris Gibson has served in combat, he has served in Congress, and now he'll serve on campus, as the 12th president at his alma mater, Siena College.


"I'm truly grateful for the twists and turns in life that have brought me here today," Gibson stated.

Twists and turns that Gibson says began with Franciscan teachings that were instilled in him at Siena.

"What we do here at Siena, it really made a difference with me," Gibson said. "I come from a humble upbringing. I come from a working class family. I have about an average, maybe slightly above average intelligence, but I've been able to do well in life because this Franciscan method really helped me develop relationships."

Keeping the Franciscan tradition front and center is priority number one, Gibson insisted. It was his background, interest, and enthusiasm that school officials say made him candidate number one for the job.

"We kept looking at what does Siena need? Where's the vision? In a challenging time in higher ed, where can we truly capitalize on our distinctiveness?" John Murray, chairman of Siena's Board of Trustees, said.

"We have a mission for the future and I think he's willing to accept that mission and to live it," said the Reverend Kevin Mullen, a former Siena College president.

Gibson says what the Franciscan tradition taught him was humility, selflessness, and service to others. Teachings that he believes enabled him to live a successful life, no matter the size of the challenge.

"When I ran for Congress, my three opponents were Ivy League and Siena won every time," Gibson explained. "I didn't lose a race and so on one hand you're taught humility, on the other hand, when you're faced with enormous challenges, you don't panic."

Gibson didn't panic while serving four combat tours in Iraq, collecting four Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and two Legions of Merit.

He also still flashes a keen sense of humor. When asked about other challenging jobs he'd been offered, he half-joked, "If I wanted that headache, I'd have stayed in Congress."

Gibson signed a five-year contract with Siena. His first day on the job will be July 1.

WEB EXTRA: New Siena President Dr. Chris Gibson speaks

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