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Rev. Calvin Butts, III, former SUNY Old Westbury president, dies at 73

Rev. Calvin Butts, III, former SUNY Old Westbury president, dies at 73

Calvin O. Butts, III, the president emeritus of the State College at Outdated Westbury and civil rights leader, died Friday.  He was 73.

An influential pastor who thought of former President Invoice Clinton a friend, Butts was also the longest-serving president of SUNY Outdated Westbury. His tenure at the higher education ran from September 1999 by means of August 2020, when he retired. He also invested the very last served as the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where by Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., and later, his son Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., experienced formerly served as pastors.

In a tweet this morning, Abyssinian Baptist  said: “It is with profound sadness, we announce the passing of our beloved pastor, Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, lll, who peacefully transitioned in the early morning of October 28, 2022. The Butts Household & entire Abyssinian Baptist Church membership solicit your prayers.”

Butts is credited with transforming the college, boosting increased admissions standards. Less than his reign, the university grew from a noted enrollment of 2,995 in 2000 to, according to the university in 2019, a current full enrollment of 5,128.

Butts was very pleased of his operate at SUNY Aged Westbury.

“We’ve accomplished a good offer across 20 years,” he informed LIBN on his retirement. He reported his crew “got the college to a put the place it is on par with the very best faculties in the SUNY procedure. We’ve taken absent the idea that it is to start with a college for black folks … We provide accessibility and affordability to all individuals who would not usually be in a position to manage a higher education training. It is open up to all citizens.”

And he took pride in doing work with leaders throughout the political aisle.

“On Lengthy Island, you have acquired to,” he instructed LIBN. “There’s so considerably additional we can do listed here. Continue to keep improving upon on your final advancement.

Below his leadership, SUNY Old Westbury obtained countrywide and intercontinental recognition, including presidential honors for nine consecutive yrs for its academically-embedded civic engagement program for initially-time-to-faculty college students, according to the university. SUNY Previous Westbury was identified each 12 months by U.S. Information and Planet Report for the range of its college student entire body, upholding the campus’ dedication to access and prospect for all customers of culture, and in 2018 earned its 1st Increased Schooling Excellence in Diversity Award from Perception Into Diversity magazine, an honor it has acquired in the four subsequent several years as perfectly.

Butts was energetic with the Lengthy Island small business neighborhood. He served on the leadership boards of this sort of organizations as The Very long Island Association, the Boy Scouts of The us-Theodore Roosevelt Council, The Lengthy Island Housing Partnership and the Neighborhood Enhancement Corporation of Prolonged Island.

He was also a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/Aids, chairman of the Board of the Countrywide Black Leadership Fee on AIDS and a founding member of its Board of Commissioners, co-chair of the African American Gentlemen and Boys Initiative, president of Africare NYC, and as a member of the board of the September 11th Fund.

“I experienced the enjoyment of engaging with Dr. Butts a few times because my arrival on campus,” said Timothy Sams, who succeeded Butts when he assumed the presidency of SUNY Outdated Westbury in January 2021. “I was, and always will keep on being, impressed not only by his love for this establishment and its men and women, but for his perception in the potent job SUNY Aged Westbury need to perform in delivering obtain to a higher-quality schooling and for its historic motivation to social justice.”