Statement from Chancellor Malatras on SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University’s Commencement

May 26, 2021

"Today, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is graduating a broadly diverse class of heroes who have already demonstrated what it takes to care for patients with dignity and respect. They have stepped up in the face many unknowns, and they have remained dedicated to completing their studies. Under the tireless leadership of President Riley, when New York needed the medical university to combat this public health crisis, the team responded with all resources available. For this we are grateful and extremely proud.

As SUNY Downstate sees its first graduates of their Doctorate of Nursing Program receive their degrees, New York State can feel confident knowing the next generation of nurses, and all other Downstate graduates entering into medical professions, have been trained by world-class doctors and leaders. Congratulations to you all on achieving this milestone—we know you will serve as advocates for your patients and will be an asset to wherever this next chapter takes you."

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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Holly Liapis
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