SUNY campus leaders react to Chancellor Zimpher's announcement of her final year and resignation at SUNY

June 1, 2016

Many SUNY campus and New York State leaders issued statement in reaction to Chancellor Zimpher announcing her final year at SUNY.

University at Albany President Robert Jones

Chancellor Zimpher’s visionary leadership framed an extraordinary period of improvement for the SUNY system, beginning with a transformational strategic plan and system-wide initiatives focused on expanding access to academic excellence. It has been my great privilege to partner with the Chancellor on system-wide advocacy, as well as on local public engagement efforts—especially as co-conveners of The Albany Promise cradle-to-career partnership. She is truly an exceptional leader who has made a tremendous difference both within and beyond the higher education sector.

SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum

Nancy Zimpher has been an extraordinary Chancellor by anticipating the changing landscape of higher education. She has helped make the SUNY System the envy of the world with “The Power of SUNY” strategic plan. Her vision and numerous initiatives will be long remembered by New York citizens. I wish her the very best in the next phase of her remarkable career.

SUNY Delhi President Candace Vancko

Chancellor Zimpher has been a transformational leader for the State University system. Thanks to her vision and leadership, SUNY has emerged as a national model for addressing the major issues facing higher education today. I was fortunate to be on the search committee that selected Chancellor Zimpher. I will never forget how she wowed the committee with her dynamic energy and enthusiasm for making SUNY great. She is a wonderful friend and mentor who will be remembered as one of SUNY's most exceptional leaders.

Herkimer County Community College President Cathleen McColgin

Chancellor Zimpher has been a stalwart leader who has strengthened the State University of New York and made “systemness” a household word on our campuses. On behalf of Herkimer County Community College, I would like to thank Chancellor Zimpher for her clear and exciting vision, tireless work and outstanding leadership in transforming SUNY over the past seven years.

Monroe Community College Anne Kress

In her seven years leading SUNY, Nancy Zimpher has strengthened New York state’s educational pipeline, building connections between K-12 and college, and college and career. Through her leadership and with her support, Rochester has the Pathways in Technology Early College (P-TECH) Rochester and Early College International High School, both of which support hundreds of students each year in completing high school and bridging to college. There are 52 other such K-12/SUNY partnerships across the state and all provide no-cost college credits to high school students and smooth the pathway for transfer to an affordable SUNY four-year college. Those are life-changing programs for our young people and they wouldn’t have happened without Chancellor Zimpher’s vision and commitment to partnering with K-12 and working as a true SUNY system.

SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski

Chancellor Zimpher uses her considerable knowledge and energy to raise the profile of the system in the minds of decision-makers and the public. One of the aspects of Chancellor Zimpher’s leadership that I appreciate the most is that she understands the individuality of each campus and does not take a cookie-cutter approach to the system.

She knows that the experience we offer students at Oneonta is different from what they would get at a university center, and she respects the missions of the different campuses. It is a pleasure to work with Chancellor Zimpher, and I hope that her successor will be able to continue the considerable momentum she has created for public higher education in New York state.

Onondaga Community College

Onondaga Community College extends its great appreciation to Chancellor Zimpher for her dedication and steadfast leadership of the SUNY system. During the Chancellor’s tenure, thousands of students at OCC and at our 29 sister community colleges throughout the state have benefited tremendously from her undeterred vision and demonstrated leadership, including initiatives such as SUNY seamless transfer, early college high schools, Open SUNY, and NYSUNY 2020. We are extremely grateful for her service and commitment, which will continue to advance student success in New York State for decades to come.

SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine Young

Chancellor Zimpher and I share a passion for higher education and a commitment to the students of today,” says Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “One year ago, Chancellor Zimpher graciously welcomed me into the SUNY family, and I have admired her energy and vision since. She has worked tirelessly to harness the power and diversity of SUNY’s 64 campuses while ambitiously broadening SUNY’s educational and economic impacts nationally, regionally and locally. On behalf of the entire SUNY Orange community, I wish the Chancellor the best of luck in her future endeavors.

SUNY Oswego president Deborah Stanley

Public higher education is all about the students. What is extraordinary about Chancellor Nancy Zimpher is her ability to keep this defining focus front and center in Albany and then nationally as a leader of collaboration with university systems in other states and other countries. She is a master communicator who grasps all the substance, process and theory and can distill it into words and examples that resonate with people. She has championed wide access to higher education but also the importance of rich opportunities for students once they are enrolled. She has heightened attention to degree completion but also to the need for vibrant communities where people can build productive lives after they graduate. She has gathered the power of “systemness” where the 64 campuses of SUNY, the largest university in the world, work now as a coherent whole with a compelling national and international profile. 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Dr. Nancy Zimpher has served as a tremendous leader of the SUNY system for the past seven years. As chancellor of the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the country, Dr. Zimpher spearheaded initiatives that strengthened educational opportunities for SUNY students and helped to drive New York’s economy. I commend Dr. Zimpher for her leadership in combatting campus sexual assault on SUNY campuses and serving as a model for how colleges and universities around the country can tackle this problem. I am grateful for the time Dr. Zimpher has dedicated to serving the State of New York, and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Outgoing SUNYSA President Thomas Mastro

New York State has been lucky to have Nancy Zimpher leading our system of public higher education for the past seven years. Thanks to her leadership, SUNY colleges and universities are more connected with their communities, more integrated with the workforce pipeline, and pursuing a mission of academic excellence more than ever before. Through initiatives like Start-Up NY, TeachNY, Open SUNY, Seamless Transfer, and Applied Learning, the opportunities in higher education for students in the SUNY system have been enhanced under Chancellor Zimpher’s leadership. While she will be difficult to replace, our next Chancellor will inherit a system that is moving in the right direction thanks to Nancy Zimpher. On behalf of the 465,000 students of the State University of New York, I want to thank the Chancellor for all that she has done in making our system of higher education, the greatest in the world.

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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