MIDDLETOWN– The SUNY Orange Board of Trustees administered the Oath of Office to two new members at the organization’s March meeting, welcoming Maria Bruni and Christopher Robert Warren to the Board.
Bruni, a lifelong resident of Middletown, was appointed to the Board by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo while Warren, also of Middletown, was elected to the Board as the student trustee. The Board is composed of five appointees by the Orange County executive, four members assigned by the governor, and one student trustee who has full voting privileges.
Warren’s term will conclude in June while Bruni’s appointment expires on June 30, 2022, and fulfills the remainder of the unexpired term of the late Gertrude Mokotoff, who passed away in October 2018.
Bruni, currently the economic and community development director for the City of Middletown, administers the city’s annual Community Development Block Grant that is allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She is also responsible for applying for and managing, other state, federal, local grants as well as business development. In her current role, she administers two public authority agencies: the City of Middletown Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and the Community Development Agency.
She has worked for the City of Middletown for 27 years, having begun her career in public service as an intern in 1994 and gradually gaining roles of increasing responsibility. In 1996, the city placed the Historic Paramount Theatre under her direction. In 2000, she was also appointed to lead the newly-created Cultural and Civic Affairs Department before moving to her current role in 2010.
She oversaw the city’s successful application for a New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2016, which awarded the city $10 million for the redevelopment of downtown Middletown. She also oversaw the redevelopment of the Historic Paramount Theatre, which included improvements to the building while ensuring the iconic Middletown theater was placed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places.
She has served on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Middletown Business Improvement District since 2003 and currently serves as board president. She was appointed to the New York State Bridge Authority Board of Commissioners in 2020 and serves as vice-chair. She is also a member of the Middletown Rotary Club, Friends of Middletown Thrall Library, and the HOME Committee for the County of Orange.
Warren, a Middletown High School graduate, is an engineering science student who returned to Middletown following seven years of active duty as a flight engineer in the United States Marine Corps. He continues to serve in the Marines Reserves in Newburgh as an aviation maintenance supervisor and flight engineer systems instructor on the KC-130T aircraft. He is also a certified Federal Aviation Association (FAA) airframe and power plant mechanic. He has earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, along with numerous other commendations and awards for meritorious military service while on active duty.
After attending the Warrior and Scholar Program at Texas A&M University, he decided to conclude his active duty service and continue his education at SUNY Orange. In 2013, for his Eagle Scout project, Warren planned and oversaw the construction of a handicapped-accessible ramp for the United Presbyterian Church in Middletown.
At SUNY Orange, he is president of the Student Veterans of America chapter and recently concluded his tenure as vice president of the Student Senate so that he could assume the role of student trustee. He is a peer tutor in physics and calculus, and is also a member of the SUNY Orange chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for students at two-year colleges.
Warren’s grandmother Anne Kelly was an adjunct chemistry professor at SUNY Orange from 1968-70.