Behind the Scenes: Exploring careers & experiences working in higher education with Laurie Keenan

Have you ever thought about working in higher education? Excelsior Life sat down with Laurie Keenan, who has worked for the College for over 30 years. Keenan shares her experience, memories and reason for considering a career path in higher education.

Excelsior Life: When did you originally start working for the College?

Keenan: I started work at Regents College Degrees and Examinations (RCD&E), now known as Excelsior College, on November 25, 1985.

Laurie K 2015

Excelsior Life: What did your first job at

the College entail?

Keenan: My first position was “typist” working for the alumni office and typing information on a typewriter for a few advisors. Two of the advisors were the first to ever “job share.” In the alumni office, I use to receive the donations and record them in a log book before sending them to the fiscal office for processing.   So that everyone knew where we were in reaching our campaign goal, using a red marker, I would color in a thermometer drawn on a large poster board. Oh, and I can’t forget that everyone was assigned a phone shift where you sat at a central location to answer one of the five lines coming into the College.

Excelsior Life: Explain how your job has transitioned over time.

Anita Laurie Lynn Vintage
Throwback photo with a few other Excelsior vets: (L-R highlighted in color) Anita Burns, Laurie Kennan, Lynn Rossello

Keenan: Following the alumni office, I was promoted to the Provost Office where we began the development of the academic Policy & Procedure “P&P” Manual.   Today, in the President’s Office, I work with our Board of Trustees. Back in 1985, there was no Board of Trustees, under the state umbrella, we reported to the New York State Board of Regents.

Excelsior Life: What is one of the best things about working in higher education and for Excelsior College?

Keenan: Every day Excelsior brings people closer to achieving their educational goals.

Excelsior Life: Do you have any favorite memories that you’d like to share?

Laurie Grad Vintage
Laurie Keenan with Paula Peinovich, at her graduation in 1996

Keenan: One of my favorite memories is packing and moving from the Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany to the 1450 Western Avenue office. Many of us wore shirts with cows on them and sang songs about “moooving.” There must have been 75 boxes of old college catalogs the advisors used to evaluate transfer credit. Another favorite memory is my graduation day. The year I graduated the ceremony was held at the Palace Theater because we had outgrown Chancellors Hall in the Capitol.

Excelsior Life: Do you have any advice you could give to someone who is working toward a career in higher education?

Keenan: Never stop learning.

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