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Chancellor Zimpher

What Does SUNY Have to do With President’s Day?

As it turns out, quite a bit! As we honor the past president’s of the United States today, read below for a few interesting facts and pieces of info on U.S. presidential history at SUNY.


Millard Fillmore

President Millard Fillmore co-founded the University at Buffalo in 1846.  He was the thirteenth President of the United States and served from July 1850 to March 1853 following the death of president Zachary Taylor.  He is perhaps best known for accepting California into the Union as a free state, introducing international trade between the U.S. and Eastern nations, and a handful of divisive slavery stances.

The University at Buffalo now honors the prestigious relationship by dedicating the Millard Fillmore Academic Center, which is situated on UB’s North Campus.


Chancellor Zimpher Vice President Biden

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have called SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to the White House multiple times throughout Chancellor Zimpher’s leadership of SUNY.  The nation naturally looks to SUNY as a leader in higher education since it is the largest system.

In 2011, Chancellor Zimpher and other higher education system leaders joined President Obama, Secretary for Education Arne Duncan, and senior White House officials to discuss access and affordability.  The Chancellor presented the group with the SUNY 2020 Plan, which is a successful administration of funds and initiatives throughout the SUNY System to bolster regional strengths and perpetuate systemness throughout.

Chancellor Zimpher returned to Washington, D.C. in 2012 to discuss the transparency of college costs with Vice President Biden, Secretary of Education Duncan, and other university presidents.  The group produced the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, which is an overview of the actual costs of attendance at a school that campuses may opt in to providing.  SUNY was the first in the nation to pledge its utilization in the SUNY Smart Track Campaign.


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President Obama has visited two different SUNY campuses two different times while in office.

In 2011, President Obama went to Hudson Valley Community College.  The President spoke about innovation and sustainable growth, remarking that Hudson Valley Community College is an example of higher education success.  Click here to watch The President’s speech inside the senior automotive laboratory at HVCC.

In 2012, President Obama touted another SUNY success — this time across the Hudson River from Hudson Valley Community College.  While at The University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), President Obama toured the state-of-the-art facilities and said, “I want what’s happening in Albany to happen all across America.”

Maxwell Morgan

Written by Maxwell Morgan

Maxwell was a Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.

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