Board of Trustees, Chancellor Zimpher Announce the Appointment of Dr. Alexander N. Cartwright as SUNY Provost

July 31, 2014

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees and Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced the appointment of Alexander N. Cartwright as provost and executive vice chancellor of SUNY. Dr. Cartwright is the current vice president for research and economic development at the University at Buffalo.

“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Alex Cartwright as SUNY’s next provost and executive vice chancellor,” said Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “Alex has been an outstanding steward of the University at Buffalo’s research and economic development portfolio in recent years, and has a long history of leadership with the university as it developed and began to implement UB 2020. We are highly confident that Alex’s tenure as SUNY provost will benefit our students, faculty, and staff across New York State.” 

“At the University at Buffalo and throughout his career in higher education, Alex has shown an excellent ability to lead and to engage all audiences around the university’s massive research enterprise, strategic planning goals, and economic development agenda, and I look forward to our continued work together,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Thank you as well to Beth Bringsjord, whose service as interim provost for the past year has been invaluable. She contributed to several milestone achievements for SUNY, including the rollout of Open SUNY and implementation of the system’s seamless transfer policy, which is one of the most comprehensive in the nation.”

“I am delighted to see Alex receive this well-deserved recognition,” said University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi. “As vice president for research and economic development, he has lifted the entire UB research enterprise to new heights of excellence and, importantly, has worked to more closely integrate our research mission into our undergraduate education mission. At the same time, Alex has built valuable linkages with the university’s partners in science, business, government, and industry, as well as across the global scholarly community. It’s certainly not easy to bid farewell to such a deeply valued university citizen and integral member of our senior leadership team. But the good news for all of us is that Alex’s extraordinary perspective, vision, and energy will now be extended across the SUNY system as a whole. I very much look forward to continuing to work together as he takes on this vital leadership role.”

“Under the leadership of Chancellor Zimpher, SUNY has taken great leaps forward in raising its national reputation and academic profile,” said Cartwright. “I am very excited to join this effort because I have a deep belief in the power of SUNY’s mission to provide the highest quality education to all students, to pursue research that will change the world, and to graduate a talented workforce and educated citizenry who will address the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

The SUNY Office of the Provost coordinates the system’s vast academic enterprise in close collaboration with SUNY’s 64 college and university campuses. This includes a broad and diverse range of responsibilities such as academic program review, data collection, student mobility, and the implementation of technology across the system in order to increase SUNY’s academic distinction and enhance student success.

Dr. Cartwright’s appointment, which is effective on or about September 18, 2014, at an annual salary of $350,000, follows an extensive international search. At today’s meeting, Chairman McCall and Chancellor Zimpher commended the search committee and its chair, Binghamton University President Harvey G. Stenger, for bringing Dr. Cartwright to the post.

About Alexander N. Cartwright
Dr. Cartwright is the vice president for Research & Economic Development and professor of Electrical Engineering and adjunct professor of Physics at the University at Buffalo. As such, he is responsible for the overall management of UB's research enterprise, including funding, administration and compliance, communications, support, university/industry relations, and economic development. He also works with the leadership teams of the UB 2020 strategic strengths to help build the necessary research infrastructure and facilities, and collaborative efforts through the creation of new cross-disciplinary initiatives.

Following a brief postdoctoral appointment at the University of Iowa, Alex was appointed assistant professor of Electrical Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UB in 1995. He was promoted to associate professor in 2000 and full professor in 2005. He served as deputy director (1999-2002) and director (2002-2010) of the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics; director of the UB 2020 Integrated Nanostructured Systems Initiative (2006-2007); vice provost for strategic initiatives at UB (2007-2009); and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and inaugural chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (2009-2010). He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Physics in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Cartwright was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1998 and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2000. During his time at UB, he has attracted more than $40 million in grant support. He currently serves, or has served, as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on research grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research; National Institutes of Health; National Science Foundation; Department of Defense; Office of Naval Research; John R. Oishei Foundation; New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research; and various industrial sponsors. As an active cross-disciplinary research collaborator, Dr. Cartwright’s research emphasizes translating new knowledge to commercial applications. He has six patents issued to date, and his technologies have been licensed by three startup companies. His demonstration of a rainbow-colored polymer, a one-step, low-cost holographic lithography method to fabricate a polymer with extraordinary properties, was named to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) list of 2013 Innovations that Could Change the Way You Manufacture—one of five awardees internationally. He has published more than 160 journal papers and conference proceedings. 

Dr. Cartwright’s interest in combining research and education is demonstrated by his serving as the PI on the NSF IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program in Biophotonics, as co-PI on two undergraduate education grants, and more recently as a co-PI on a prestigious NSF Math and Science Partnership Award to UB and Buffalo Public Schools.  

A 2002 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dr. Cartwright has taught students at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has mentored post-doctoral fellows and Ph.D., masters, and undergraduate students conducting research.

Dr. Cartwright is a Fellow of SPIE – The International Society for Optical Engineering; a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); and a member of American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE); Eta Kappa Nu, the Materials Research Society (MRS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has served the academic community as a referee to federal funding agencies as well as over a dozen scholarly journals.

Dr. Cartwright received his B.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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 country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 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 2023, 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 opportunities, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications