Statement from Chancellor Malatras on SUNY Old Westbury’s Commencement

May 26, 2021

"SUNY Old Westbury is known for being one of the most dynamic and diverse colleges throughout New York State, and that continues under the leadership of their new leader, President Sams.

Kalief Metellus, SUNY Old Westbury's Student Association president—and one of the first student leaders I met upon becoming chancellor—is a great example of someone who embodies the values of this institution, and strongly represents the resiliency of every student to excel when afforded a SUNY opportunity. Kalief represents the great diversity, background, and experiences of the SUNY Old Westbury student body. He and other Old Westbury graduates illustrate what can be achieved by having access to an excellent higher education and taking advantage of the resources and support that SUNY offers.

I congratulate Kalief and the entire 2021 graduating class of SUNY Old Westbury for reaching this milestone and pushing forward during what has been a challenging year."

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, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree-granting program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in 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 exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are 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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Holly Liapis
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