Statement from SUNY Board of Trustees and Interim Chancellor Stanley on the Passing of Former Chairman of the Board Donald M. Blinken

September 26, 2022

"State University of New York celebrates the life of one of public higher education's greatest champions—former US Ambassador to Hungary and former longtime Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees Donald M. Blinken."

"Mr. Blinken was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 1976 by Governor Hugh Carey, and then Chairman in 1978, the same year SUNY—one of the youngest public higher education systems in the US—turned 30 years old."

"Mr. Blinken's long tenure coincided with the threat of a deep national recession. Through partnership with the Board, each Chancellor, and local and federal elected officials, he made achieving financial stability for students and the academic programs and services promised to them a top priority. As the gap in cost between private and public colleges was widening, former Chairman Blinken made sure that SUNY continued to provide an affordable and top-quality education."

"During his time in office, Mr. Blinken provided support for SUNY campuses to grow academic degrees to meet the changing demands of the state and the student body. He worked with then-Chancellor Clifton R. Wharton, Jr to establish the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Rockefeller School of Public Affairs, to both memorialize the former Governor and create a nationally-recognized source of research on state and federal governments. He donated his time and gifted funds to secure the Institute's future."

"Former Chairman Blinken's dedication, guidance, and direction throughout his years of service continues to impact SUNY as it nears its 75th anniversary. On behalf of our entire campus community and alumni, we extend our condolences to his family and friends as we remember a legend within our history."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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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