By Janee Law
A prodigy of the Farmingdale State College community, Senior Vice President and CFO George LaRosa announced his retirement on Dec. 7, after participating in major transformations of the campus for four decades.
“I’ve been contemplating retirement for the past year and a half so it’s been honestly a struggle,” LaRosa, 66, of East Northport, said. “It’s probably the most difficult professional decision I’ve ever made.”
After three years in public accounting, LaRosa’s state service began in 1974 when he became college accountant at State University of New York at Old Westbury. In 1977, he then joined Farmingdale State College, which was then known as State University of New York at Farmingdale, and started as the college accountant.
Gravitating quickly to many leadership positions, LaRosa was budget director, assistant vice president and then became vice president in 1984. In 2006, he became officer in charge of the campus for a year while a search was being conducted for a new president.
“I take pride in the fact that not only did I move up the ranks in that regard but to actually reach the pinnacle of being the officer in charge,” he said. “It was wonderful, it gave me a different perspective of how to run the college and I was a better leader in my position as a senior vice president after having served as the officer in charge of the campus.”
LaRosa was named senior vice president and CFO in 2007.
in the position, LaRosa oversees all financial responsibilities and operational departments of the college, including accounting, budget, athletics, financial aid/student accounts, human resources, information technology, internal control, payroll, physical plant, purchasing, use of facilities, all contractual, legal and insurance matters of the college, and University Police. In addition, he also oversees the business and financial affairs of the non-state campus organizations including the Auxiliary Services Corporation, the Children’s Center and the Small Business Development Center.
He said that in his years of serving, he is proud of being part of the transition the college made from a two-year to a four-year institution, and growth to the current undergraduate enrollment of approximately 9,300 students. In addition, LaRosa is also proud of his division’s oversight of $200 million in construction and renovation projects to buildings and grounds, including the Campus Center, the School of Business building, the Nold Hall Athletic Complex, the library, Hale Hall, Lupton Hall, and the re-design of the roadways.
“Another important item is the enviable position that we stand right now with our finances,” he added. “The campus is in very good financial position and certainly the way any CFO would like to leave the college.”
LaRosa will be continuing his position at the college until his predecessor is appointed. Serving the state for 43 years, LaRosa will have served 40 years at Farmingdale until his retirement, slated for spring 2017. He said that he will miss his colleagues, the students and the community.
“It’s just a vibrant environment to be in and it’s an enviable position to be in to work at a college campus,” he said. “There’s a dynamic that resides that is something that you don’t see in many places.”
LaRosa said that although he is leaving, he is still going to remain as chair of the Broad Hollow Bioscience Park board at the college at a volunteer basis.
“Farmingdale has been a significant part of my professional and personal life so there will be some linkage in one form or another but I’ve come to the point in my life where I’ve recognized that it’s time to move on,” he said. “It’s always wonderful to move on at a time when the campus is doing so well and you always want to leave on top.”
LaRosa said that during his retirement he will be boating, traveling and shifting his time to his wife, three children and six grandchildren.
LaRosa has lived in the Town of Huntington for 40 years, with 22 years in Commack and 18 years in East Northport. His children attended and graduated from Commack schools.
He has been a recipient of many awards, three of the most notable are the Institute of Management Accountants’ Financial Executive of the Year Award in 1998, the State University of New York Business Officer of the Year Award in 2012 and Long Island Business News’ Outstanding CFO of the year in 2013.
In regards to his successor, LaRosa said that he “would certainly make sure that the new person that comes in relies on the talent that currently exists and remembers that the individuals currently in place are very strong and committed to the college and were instrumental in the transformation of the campus to the successful institution that we are today.”