Two HVCC employees retire after a combined 100 years of service

Jim LaGatta President Drew Matonak and Joel Fatato.

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When Joel Fatato and Jim LaGatta were students at Hudson Valley Community College, the average cost of a house in America was under $17,000, and fans of the Beatles were still hoping the band would get back together. Now, some 50 years later, the two former students are retiring as two of the longest tenured employees in the college’s history.

Both Fatato and LaGatta, who retire from full-time employment this week after 46 and 48 years of service, respectively, were honored by the Rensselaer County Legislature on July 11 as Hudson Valley’s budget was reviewed for approval.

Fatato, a 1971 graduate, started his career at Hudson Valley as a work study student and went on to become an account clerk, financial analyst, assistant comptroller, comptroller, and chief fiscal officer at the college before being promoted to vice president for finance in 2000.

He has spent his entire professional career at Hudson Valley and earned the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 1993.

LaGatta, who graduated with his associate degree in 1967, began his Hudson Valley career as a chemistry instructor two years later, and eventually rose through the academic ranks: chairperson for the department of chemistry and then dean of the college’s school of health sciences, school of liberal arts and sciences, and school of business.

He also served as interim vice president for academic affairs and deputy to the president before becoming the vice president for administration in 2004. He also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Services in 1992.

“For decades, Joel has been an indispensable part of the college administration. It’s no understatement to say that his fiscal oversight has shaped the college into the strong, vibrant and well-respected institution it is today. Jim has provided positive advice and mentored countless faculty members and college employees during his tenure at the college.” said President Drew Matonak. “These two deserve all the recognition that’s given to them as they enter retirement. In many ways, they’ve given their entire professional lives to the college and the institution is surely richer for their many contributions.”