April 3, 2012 Helen Klein
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Dr. Roy Blash, President of Adelphi Academy

Guiding Philosophy – An educator for most of his adult life, Dr. Roy Blash cites something he once read in a fortune cookie as motivating him in his career. “One keeps young when one is forever in the presence of young people,” he quotes, musing, “It must have struck a chord with me. I love to be with young people. I love the idea that they have new and fresh approaches to all the stimuli that are out there. I think young people are different in how they access information and how they learn. They have grown up with technology. I love to see their thought patterns.”

Career – Blash has been the president of Adelphi for four years; previously, about 16 years ago, he held the position for about five years. But, his career in education spans decades and levels. He was a New York City public school principal for 25 years on the elementary school level, and he taught at the graduate division of Pace University’s School of Education for about 36 years. He came to his career from a stint in the military. “I was a troop information and education officer,” Blash recalled, adding, “Spending time in that capacity turned me on to the whole process of education and I began to pursue it in earnest because I could see the difference it made in individuals.” He is particularly committed to helping students with their college search, spending about 150 hours with each Adelphi student between the junior and senior years, to make sure that each selects a school which is suited to his or her interests and abilities, and where he or she can not only gain admittance, but also thrive. “The greatest part of my job is working with young people so they can move on to the next phase,” he said.

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Family – Blash has been married for 45 years to his wife, Elinor, who was an educator as well before her retirement. They have two sons, Heath, a computer hardware designer and Justin, a trial attorney, and one granddaughter, Helen, who is poised to graduate from Adelphi this spring, and will be moving on to SUNY Purchase in the fall. “She’s the light of our lives,” he remarked.

Leisure Activities – Not surprisingly, as an educator, Blash counts reading among his passions. “I am a vociferous reader,” he admits, adding that the books that draw him are, “One hundred percent non-fiction.” Blash’s favorite subject matter includes history, sociology, anthropology and the study of culture. He is also an art aficionado, who enjoys collecting original artworks as well as visiting museums on a regular basis.

Fondest hope — Blash said that he would like to see a return to civility in society. To that end, Adelphi has instituted the Civility Project which, he said, he hopes will become a model that other educational institutions can adopt. “People have to learn to respect the earth, the environment and each other,” he stressed.

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