Chancellor Johnson Appoints Joseph Rufo as SUNY-ESF Officer in Charge

June 1, 2020

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson appointed Joseph L. Rufo as the officer in charge of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry as Interim President David C. Amberg returns to Upstate Medical University. Mr. Rufo will continue his responsibilities as chief financial officer and vice president for administration, while the search for SUNY ESF's next president progresses.

"Dr. Amberg was an outstanding Interim President at SUNY ESF for the past two years. He built on the college's reputation for research and scholarship through the addition of new academic programs, statewide partnerships, and putting student needs first," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. "I am deeply appreciative of his steady and thoughtful leadership of this storied institution."

As interim president, Dr Amberg implemented the "ESF Discovery Challenge," an effort that brought together faculty, staff, and students to provide recommendations to support the college's human resources, secure a sustainable financial future, and build upon the campus's strengths as related to global issues in environmental science and sustainability.

His leadership also helped the college throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that students, faculty, and staff were made aware of the college's decisions to keep the campus community safe. He also played an integral role in supporting the creation of a food pantry, which was of importance to students in need during the crisis.

Dr. Amberg returns to Upstate Medical University to his position as vice president for research overseeing the clinical, translational, and basic research portfolios of the campus. During his tenure, which began in December 2014, Upstate Medical saw several years of continuous growth in research expenditures.

"It has been a tremendous honor and pleasure to work on behalf of the great students, faculty, staff and alumni of ESF," said Dr. Amberg. "I thank Chancellor Johnson for giving me the opportunity and her strong support during my tenure, it has been a wonderful experience and a high growth time for me personally. Through this experience, I have gained a deep appreciation for how valuable an asset ESF is to Central New York, the state, and the world. I wish the college all the best during these challenging times."

About Joseph L. Rufo

Mr. Rufo is the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Administration at SUNY ESF responsible for providing leadership, management and oversight of the college's business and financial affairs, human resources, legal, information technology, university police, and environmental health and safety. He has been with the College since November 2008.

Prior to coming to ESF Mr. Rufo held the position of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Onondaga Community College, Chief Financial Officer at the Syracuse City School District, Manager of Electric Pricing Evaluation and Design and Director of Business Growth at Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation and Assistant Professor, Economics at SUNY Cortland.

Mr. Rufo has a B.A. in Economics from SUNY Cortland and an M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from Binghamton University.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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