Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Zimpher traversed the far ends of New York over the last 48 hours—visiting Western New York yesterday and Long Island today—to approve NYSUNY 2020 plans submitted by the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University. Each plan promises to maintain affordability and increase access for students while stimulating the regional economy and creating jobs.
At each campus, the Governor and Chancellor reiterated what they have each been saying since first taking their respective offices: The SUNY system is the economic engine that will revitalize New York.
Chancellor Zimpher has been touting SUNY’s potential since her arrival in New York in 2009, and Governor Cuomo has echoed this belief since his first State of the State address last January. Together during that time, they have teamed up to put those words into action.
Earlier this year, when the Governor tasked economic development councils in each region of New York with creating a plan to spur growth and ignite local economies, he put Chancellor Zimpher on the oversight committee and named SUNY campus presidents to serve on the various councils. SUNY was the only institution to be represented across the board. REDC awards were announced by Governor Cuomo last week, and at Stony Brook University today, he said, “For all of these regions, the SUNY system is the heart of the region and the heart of the economic rebirth.”
Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Zimpher first announced the NYSUNY 2020 legislation in May, and it was passed by the State Legislature the following month, on the heels of the release of a report that constitutes the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted on the economic impact that SUNY has on New York, found to be nearly $20 billion in 2008-09 and likely more in years since.
The role of higher education in economic development is the overarching theme of SUNY’s strategic plan, The Power of SUNY, which was launched in April 2010 and provides a roadmap for the system’s development over the next decade. As part of its implementation, SUNY has issued two Report Cards – first-of-their-kind evaluation tools that publicly track SUNY’s work as an educator, job creator, community partner, and generator of research. The most recent report card, which measures progress made since the release of the first in May, was made public at SUNY’s inaugural Critical Issues in Higher Education Conference in Buffalo in September. The conference itself, which will be held annually in different areas of the state, generated approximately $600,000 in economic activity and tourism for Western New York.
SUNY is embedded in every community in New York State—93 percent of New Yorkers live within 15 miles of a SUNY campus, and virtually 100 percent live within 30 miles. In many communities, SUNY is also the region’s largest employer.
SUNY’s commitment to revitalizing New York’s economy is clear, and Governor Cuomo’s leadership paving the way for the system’s success.