February 10, 2009
“Last January, SUNY began searching for a new chancellor. Though it took time to find the right person for the job, it was well worth the wait. SUNY’s thorough and deliberative process led us to a truly outstanding choice to lead our university system.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that Nancy L. Zimpher will serve as the ninth chancellor of the State University of New York. Nancy Zimpher is an impressive candidate and a strong leader. Nancy Zimpher has also been a trailblazer throughout her career. She was the first woman to serve as President of the University of Cincinnati, and she will also be the first woman to serve as SUNY Chancellor. We are thrilled to welcome her to New York where we know she will continue to realize the vision and full potential of our university system.
“During her five years as president of the University of Cincinnati, she emerged as one of the nation’s strongest and most effective university presidents. She raised admissions standards while growing enrollment; strengthened research; introduced state-of-the-art business practices; and enacted academic and management reforms. She also has a reputation as a fair but tough leader, which is what our system needs to compete in the twenty-first century.
“In 1948, after he signed the bill establishing the State University of New York, Governor Thomas E. Dewey said, ‘I think the State University of New York may turn out to be the most important educational advance of our time. I am proud that, in my administration, the foundation has been laid.’
“Sixty years later, we must come together to lay a new foundation—to start a new era for SUNY. As we work to rebuild New York’s economy, we must remember that, in the twenty-first century, jobs will be created where ideas are created. Therefore, if we are to return to prosperity, higher education must be at the center of our agenda.
“Our SUNY system has many great campuses, talented faculty, and excellent students. It serves its 438,000 students well. But it is still, in certain respects, a sleeping giant. SUNY has had five chancellors in the past 10 years. The system is in need of stable leadership and strategic planning. Our goal is to take a very good system and transform it into a preeminent one—a powerful force for knowledge creation and economic revitalization. This is a major task, but I am confident that Nancy Zimpher is up to the challenge.”