SUNY Oswego Names Business School Center for Insurance Industry Leader Lenz

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego has announced the founding of a new endowed educational center, the Gordon A. Lenz Center for Finance, Insurance and Risk Management in the School of Business.

The Lenz Center will support the first dedicated four-year program to focus on insurance and risk management studies in the SUNY system. It will become one of only a handful of college centers for a discipline that has increased in prominence and importance as the nation seeks solutions to current health care issues.

Lenz, a 1958 graduate of SUNY Oswego and a member of the Oswego College Foundation board of directors, is a widely known and respected insurance industry innovator, recognized for having created affordable, comprehensive insurance products for small businesses in New York state.

Lenz serves as chairman and chief executive officer of both Conference Associates Inc., a full-service provider of group health insurance to more than 150,000 small businesses throughout New York state, and its affiliate, the New York State Business Group, a statewide membership association of small-business owners offering insured and other discount benefits, both based in Patchogue, Long Island. He is also a founder and member of the board of directors of Gold Coast Bank, headquartered in Islandia, Long Island. He is a sought-after speaker and has written extensively on health care issues for a variety of publications.

“It is a great privilege to support my alma mater and my profession at the same time,” said Lenz, who has served in numerous leadership positions in the insurance industry, including as president of the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters. “Insurance, and especially health insurance, is a critical issue in this nation at this very moment. By raising the level of expertise of professionals in the field, and training the next generation of financial and insurance leaders, I hope to make a lasting improvement to my industry and everyone who is affected by it.”

SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley expressed the college’s appreciation. “Gordon Lenz’s very generous support for SUNY Oswego in endowing the Gordon Lenz Center for Finance, Insurance and Risk Management in the School of Business is a concrete expression of his commitment to visionary leadership in the industry, now and long into the future,” Stanley said. “Generations of students will be inspired to embark — as he once did — on a meaningful journey to pursue a career in insurance adhering to ethical and socially responsible standards. His name will be an honored legacy at SUNY Oswego.”

Dr. Richard Skolnik, dean of Oswego’s School of Business, said the new Lenz Center will support a wide variety of potential areas, such as student education, continuing professional education, faculty research, diversity initiatives, community outreach, and social responsibility and ethical training in risk management and insurance. The risk management and insurance major at Oswego was established in 2009.

“We are truly grateful not only for Mr. Lenz’s generosity and support for SUNY Oswego’s outstanding business program, but also for his commitment to improving the performance of our students, who are increasingly called on to understand the complexities of insurance in the workplace,” Skolnik said. “We are proud to offer the first baccalaureate program in risk management and insurance in the SUNY system and now the first named center in our highly regarded business school.”

SUNY Oswego was ranked by U.S. News and World Report among “America’s Best Colleges 2010” and named by the publication among a select group of “Top Up-and-Coming Schools.” Only 28 public colleges and universities made the “up-and-coming” list nationally. Princeton Review included SUNY Oswego in its “Best Northeastern Colleges: 2010 Edition.” Princeton Review also named SUNY Oswego School of Business as one of the “Best 301 Business Schools” in the 2010 edition of its graduate school guidebook.

In addition to founding Conference Associates and New York State Business Group, Lenz serves as chairman and CEO of Cue Brokerage Corp., a commercial property and casualty insurance agency. Lenz has been actively involved in many industry groups, including the Professional Insurance Marketing Association and the Long Island Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, which in 2008 recognized him with the prestigious Rudy R. Stegemann Award.

He is on the board of directors of Gold Coast Bank, the Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson Research, the Insignia Insurance Co. and the Digital Stone Fabrication Co. He previously served as president of the Suffolk County Life Underwriters and on the board of the American Medical Insurance Co.