Visitors to the mayor’s office at Troy City Hall might think they are in an administrative office at Hudson Valley. There is an aerial photo of the campus displayed prominently on the wall next to three Hudson Valley certifications. On the desk, a lamp bears the inscription of the college.
Some of these items were gifts to Mayor Lou Rosamilia after he retired from teaching at Hudson Valley for more than 30 years. Others were earned. The certificates on the wall include his associate’s degree, his Chancellor’s Award for teaching, and his recognition as Professor Emeritus upon retiring.
Rosamilia announced that he would not seek a second term as mayor on Mar. 23, saying that he wanted to spend time focusing on his faith and family. Rosamilia said that he would also be looking into opportunities to volunteer and work part time. When asked if coming back to Hudson Valley might be part of that equation, he said, “At this point I’d like to leave my options open. My focus [during] the next nine months will be on running the city, and during that span of time, if an opportunity arises I’ll definitely entertain it.”
Rosamilia has learned lessons as mayor that he would like to pass on to students. “The city belongs to the residents, and that’s what I’ve tried to emphasize…the importance that the residents take ownership, that they become empowered, and not leave it up to the elected officials,” he said.
Rosamilia also wants to pass on life lessons about government operations, teamwork, decision-making and adjusting to situations. “Now, teaching accounting, you don’t have a lot of time to talk about all of that stuff,” joked the mayor about the applicability of these experiences to the subject he taught at Hudson Valley.
Whether or not Rosamilia finds his way back to Hudson Valley, he acknowledges the big role the college has played in his life.
“Hudson Valley Community College played an integral part of my life. First as a student: the professors I had back as a student at Hudson Valley in the mid-’60s to late ’60s had such an influential impact on my life … It was just such a phenomenal experience for me. It inspired me to continue my education,” said Rosamilia.
After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Albany, Rosamilia started teaching part-time at Hudson Valley in 1973. He became full-time in 1981.
Rosamilia said his experience at Hudson Valley helped prepare him in some ways to be mayor. He said that the presidents and department chairs that he worked under provided him examples of leadership and management skills that he was able to draw from.
Rosamilia believes these skills helped him improve the state of Troy during his term as the city’s executive. The accomplishments he is most proud of include bringing school resource officers back to schools, the economic growth of downtown Troy, the creation of a land bank, major infrastructure projects, and better collaboration with neighboring cities.
He is still known and remembered by many on campus, having retired just a few years ago. Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak often refers to him as “Professor Mayor” Lou Rosamilia.
The next stage of Rosamilia’s life will be living out a philosophy that he also wants to pass on to others.
“You don’t have to be an elected official to serve your community and give back to them,” said Rosamilia.