Trustees Approve Transformative Merger of SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, SUNY Institute of Technology

March 19, 2014

New Institute Places SUNY at the Pinnacle of High Tech Innovation, Education, Job Training, and Economic Development in the 21st Century Global Innovation Economy


Albany, Utica – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today unanimously approved Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s recommendation to merge the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and the SUNY Institute of Technology.

The SUNY Institute of Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology will have principal physical locations in Albany and Utica/Rome, with additional existing and future university-industry partnerships across the State of New York that focus on enabling innovation, providing education and workforce training, and maximizing technology transfer and economic development.

By formally aligning two institutions with complementary missions and academic programs,
SUNY will position affordable public higher education in New York at the pinnacle of scholarly excellence in high-tech academic instruction and research.

The announcement builds on SUNYIT’s strong existing ties with CNSE, including being partners in Governor Cuomo’s $1.5 billion Nano Utica initiative. Merging with CNSE will help SUNYIT stabilize and expand financially, and continue to grow enrollment and programs.

The new institution will enhance opportunities for Mohawk Valley students, including access to world-class facilities, while creating a career-ready workforce that will help attract and retain high-tech companies in the region and the state. In addition to maintaining all current SUNYIT programs and faculty, the merger will enable SUNYIT to significantly build and expand on its current disciplines and initiatives.

CNSE is a unique within the SUNY system and higher education. Its curriculum and students are on par or superior to any of the top science and engineering institutions in the country. It is also one of the leading economic drivers in the state. CNSE has attracted over $22 billion in private sector investment that has created more than 13,000 jobs in the Capital Region and across upstate New York, including innovation and commercialization hubs in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica, generating billions in private investments and creating an additional 3,000 jobs in upstate, as announced by Governor Cuomo.

“The SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering is unique and innovative in public higher education anywhere in the country, and because of the hard work of so many across SUNY, it will now be part of something even bigger and more groundbreaking,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “This next stage in its growth will bring the combined strengths of two institutions under a single structure, providing an unparalleled experience for students and driving economic development across New York. The Board extends its gratitude to Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Zimpher, as well as Dr. Robert Jones, Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, and Dr. Robert Geer. Their continued leadership and guidance will ensure the newest SUNY campus meets New York’s, and the country’s, need to produce more STEM graduates and more high tech career training.”

“The merger of CNSE and SUNYIT sets a high bar for what a 21st-century entrepreneurial college campus can achieve for the Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, and the entire State of New York,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “We are bringing together two institutions with similar missions and existing partnerships to create a high-tech academic and economic development juggernaut that does not exist anywhere else in public higher education. We will make this process seamless for our students, faculty, and employees while producing what will be an internationally recognized polytechnic institution, and we’ll do it for less money. This is a historic day for SUNY.”

“The SUNYIT-CNSE partnership is a major victory to the faculty, staff, and students of both partners," said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of CNSE. “Governor Cuomo had already recognized the potential of our combined resources when he brought us together to realize his $1.5 billion Nano Utica initiative. The merger will not only guarantee that all faculty and staff will maintain their current positions and portfolios but, more importantly, it will create countless exciting opportunities for growth and expansion. We applaud the SUNY Board of Trustees and Chancellor Zimpher for their vision and leadership, and look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and student stakeholders to establish a globally recognized institution for research and education.”

“Today’s action by the Board builds on the strategic alliance SUNYIT and CNSE have built over the last several years, one that has already expanded opportunities for students even as it lays the groundwork for unprecedented economic growth in the Mohawk Valley and all of New York State,” said SUNYIT Interim President Dr. Robert Geer. “In concert with Governor Cuomo’s Nano Utica initiative, the creation of a new, merged institution will strengthen and grow SUNYIT's academic, research, and outreach programs and will have a profound and positive transformational impact on our region and state.”

“UAlbany will do all we can to ensure a positive and seamless transition for students and faculty in the nanotechnology degree programs and to see that this initiative is a success for students, New York’s citizens, and the SUNY system,” said UAlbany President Dr. Robert Jones. “We will continue our focus on fulfilling the promise of academic excellence for our 17,000 talented and bright undergraduate and graduate students. As the only public research university in the Capital Region, we will continue to increase the range of our degree and non-degree programs, expand academic opportunity for a growing diverse student population, enroll more out-of-state and international students, attract world-class faculty, and deepen our engagement with the Capital Region community.”

The Board of Trustees resolution, which states that Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros will provide executive leadership of the new institution, and a detailed report to the trustees on the merger, prepared by the chairs of the UAlbany/CNSE/SUNYIT Transition Implementation Teams, are available online.

The decision to merge institutions follows a Board resolution in July 2013 directing the Chancellor to develop a new degree-granting structure that would include CNSE. There were extensive deliberations with all stakeholders including UAlbany, CNSE, SUNYIT, the Research Foundation for SUNY, faculty, students, and elected officials. A number of working groups were established, culminating in the determination that merging and creating a unique new SUNY campus would maximize UAlbany’s, CNSE’s, and SUNYIT’s abilities to serve their current and future students, as well as their communities, and to advance SUNY’s public mission across New York State.  

The merger has the support of the UAlbany President and College Council Chair, CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO, SUNYIT Interim President and College Council, who, along with faculty and students, will continue to be actively involved in consultation as the process moves forward.

Through this new institution, CNSE will maintain a mutually beneficial partnership with UAlbany, similar to the long established relationship between SUNY ESF and Syracuse University. CNSE will continue to compensate UAlbany for any services, including student housing, general education courses, access to clubs, activities, dining facilities, and other amenities, as well as provide academic and educational support to UAlbany faculty, staff, and students.

The merger will result in cost savings for the SUNY system through streamlined campus-level administrative functions, shared services, and management efficiencies. There will be no additional costs for students or taxpayers. It is not an expansion of the SUNY system as the number of campuses will remain at 64.

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., said, “Bringing these two institutions together is exactly the type of forward thinking we need here in Upstate New York. Oneida County is becoming a Nanotechnology hub with the creation of Nano Utica and Quad C and the pieces in place at the Marcy Nanocenter Chip Fabrication site. Now, we can add to the list a brand new 21st century entrepreneurial university specializing in the fields of Nano. I want to thank the SUNY Board of Trustees, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, Dr. Robert Geer and everyone involved this decision.  Today is another significant step into the future for Oneida County and the entire region.”

New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, said, "The separation of University of Albany and CNSE provides a great opportunity to reassess the way our state offers education in nanoscience and technology. The merger of CNSE with SUNYIT makes a lot of sense. Both recognize this growing industry needs people in the Mohawk Valley and Capital Region who are educated and trained - and they're doing their best to meet that demand. I see this as a wonderful opportunity for our local university to become more attractive to prospective students, without sacrificing other disciplines that are needed in this area as well. I am pleased to see this merger approved today by the SUNY Board of Trustees."

New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica, said, “The new high tech SUNY campus is poised to put our area – and all of New York State – on the high-tech industry map. By further positioning Utica as a dynamic economic driver for New York, the merger will prime our region to become even more competitive in global markets and further revitalize the local economy. Today’s announcement is another exciting step toward making New York’s Mohawk Valley the vibrant, innovative powerhouse we know it to be.”

SUNY IT College Council Chair Donald Hanson said, “Our campus has always strived to be a magnet of opportunity for our communities, providing a high quality and affordable education and contributing to the vitality of the region. Today, SUNYIT’s ability to deliver on that promise for the entire Mohawk Valley took a giant leap forward. Merging our strengths with the highly regarded College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, with which IT already has significant existing partnerships, is a natural progression and welcome news. The new institution will provide new, unimagined opportunities for students, attract new and innovative companies to the area, and continue to advance the Nano Utica initiative. This is a new era for the campus and I join a chorus of others in thanking the SUNY trustees for endorsing this transformative plan.”

Steve Perta, chair of the SUNYIT Staff Assembly, said, “In concert with members of the Faculty Assembly, representatives of the Staff Assembly at SUNYIT have been involved in an institutional merger working group between SUNYIT and CNSE leading up to the Board of Trustees resolution. Through an ongoing series of meetings with individuals comprising a similar working group at CNSE, discussions regarding governance, academic program integrity, branding, student success, and shared services continue to take place. At each campus location, the respective working group provides a conduit through which information, ideas, suggestions, questions and concerns are exchanged between colleagues at all levels. As this merger process evolves, the working groups will continue to be an integral part of shaping this new educational institution for the students, faculty, staff and researchers of the State University of New York.”

Alain Diebold, chair of the CNSE Faculty, Staff, and Student Council, said, “We have created a unique educational model at CNSE, and are once again delivering new opportunities to faculty and students by providing them access to a wider collection of resources for education and research. Dr. Alain Kaloyeros and Dr. Robert Geer have shown an unwavering commitment to the continued refinement of higher education, making the merger with CNSE a significant growth opportunity. We fully support the fact that no programs will be phased out or cut, and are sure we will witness more public-private partnerships across the state, creating even brighter and more successful futures for our students and graduates. CNSE faculty members embrace the merger with SUNYIT and anticipate continued successes with Dr. Kaloyeros and Dr. Geer at the helm.”

SUNYIT Student Association President Aaron White said, "This is an exciting time for not only the students of both institutions, but the entire state to have a public institution to rival the best polytechnic institutions in the country. Under the leadership of Dr. Robert Geer, working with Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, this merger will open up doors for students from both campuses that we can't even see yet. The opportunities for the students with this merger are endless.”

Christopher Stiles, president of the CNSE Graduate Student Association, said, “The academic and career opportunities that Dr. Alain Kaloyeros and Dr. Robert Geer have made available to students are unmatched, and joining forces to further the evolution of our successful education models is brilliant. Under the leadership of Dr. Kaloyeros and Dr. Geer, the potential of the new institution, its faculty, and corporate partners, is limitless.  It will redefine higher education and provide students with all the tools they need to build exciting careers right here in upstate New York. SUNY CNSE graduate students are looking forward to collaborating with our peers and mentors in Utica.”

James Passarelli, president of the CNSE Undergraduate Student Association, said, “Undergraduates at CNSE are thrilled to be connected with an institution that shares so many of the same values of CNSE, while integrating such an extensive array of opportunities in STEM related disciplines. Dr. Alain Kaloyeros and Dr. Robert Geer have assembled an incredible team, providing students with world class education and training.  Bringing the resources amassed at SUNYIT into concert with our own adds to and diversifies the opportunities available to all of us.”

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

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