SUNY Board of Trustees Welcomes Courtney Burke, Marc Cohen, Robert Duffy, and Edward Spiro As New Members

June 21, 2016

New York City – Beginning the June meetings of the State University of New York Board of Trustees today in New York City, Chairman H. Carl McCall and Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher welcomed the addition of four new Board members. Courtney Eagles Burke, Robert J. Duffy, and Edward M. Spiro were nominated to the Board by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and confirmed last week by the New York State Senate; and Marc J. Cohen was recently elected by his peers as president of the SUNY Student Assembly.

"Our newest members are strong choices by Governor Cuomo and by our students from across the state," said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. "Trustees Burke, Cohen, Duffy, and Spiro will bring a unique mix of experience and perspective to our discussions as well as the policy decisions we make on behalf of SUNY students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to working with each of them as SUNY continues to deliver a quality public higher education that is accessible and affordable for all New Yorkers."

"SUNY has set an ambitious agenda for the coming year as we continue our work toward increasing degree completion as well as expanding our collaboration with K-12 and with the state’s businesses and employers to serve our students from cradle to career while also supporting New York’s economy," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "Our new trustees are certain to help us build upon SUNY’s promises of educational quality and affordability, and I look forward to our work together."

Trustees Burke and Cohen are attending their first meetings this week. Trustees Duffy and Spiro will join the Board when it meets again in September.

About Courtney Eagles Burke

Courtney Eagles Burke is senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Albany Medical Center, where she leads the teams for developing policy, managing strategic planning, and implementing government relations. Burke has previously served as New York State's deputy secretary for health and as commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. An expert in health and disability policy, Burke also served as director of the New York State Health Policy Research Center at the Rockefeller Institute of Government. During her tenure with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, Burke played a significant role in the launch of the New York Health Exchange, the receipt of a multi-billion-dollar Medicaid Waiver to expand services for economically challenged New Yorkers, the opening of the Justice Center for the Protection of People for Special Needs, reforms to improve the quality of care for people in state-run development disabilities centers, and more. A member of the New York State Academy of Public Administration, Burke earned her B.A. in political science and journalism from the University of Connecticut. She holds a master's degree in Health Policy and Management from the State University at Albany, and has published works in peer-reviewed journals. 

About Marc J. Cohen

Marc J. Cohen graduated Summa Cum Laude in the spring of 2016 from the University at Albany with a degree in political science. He is continuing at UAlbany to work toward his master’s degree in Public Administration at Rockefeller College. Prior to being elected as president of the SUNY Student Assembly, Cohen has been involved with the SA for more than three years, most recently serving as chief of staff to former President Tom Mastro. He is also active in the UAlbany Student Association, and sits on a number of boards and committees including the Rockefeller College Dean’s Leadership Council, the University at Albany Auxiliary Services Board of Directors, and Purple and Gold Ambassadors. He is also a research fellow with UAlbany’s provost, an intern for New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, and serves the College Democrats of America as the national Deputy Director of Development.

About Robert J. Duffy

Robert J. Duffy is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, a position he has held since January of last year. Duffy was New York State Lieutenant Governor from January 2011 to December 2014. As lieutenant governor, Duffy chaired the Regional Economic Development Councils aimed at rebuilding New York's economy and positioning the Empire State to be a global economic leader. Duffy also served as chair of the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission. In that role, Duffy oversaw an effort to make New York's government more modern, accountable, and efficient. Duffy previously served as Rochester mayor from January 2006 to January 2011 and as Rochester police chief from March 1998 to April 2005. During his tenure as mayor, Duffy was widely recognized for navigating the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by reducing the cost of government, improving services, lowering tax rates, and attracting millions of dollars in private-sector investments. Duffy is a SUNY alum, with two degrees from Monroe Community College in addition to a B.S. from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a Master of Arts from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Duffy serves on a variety of boards, including the MCC Foundation, Community Preservation Corporation, Business Council of New York State, Iberdrola, and Visit Rochester.

About Edward M. Spiro

Edward M. Spiro is a partner at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC. He is recognized as a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys in the area of General Commercial Litigation. He is also recommended by The Legal 500 United States for Securities: Shareholder Litigation and is regularly listed in Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers. Spiro is co-author of Civil Practice in the Southern District of New York, 2d Ed. (Thomson Reuters 2014), a two-volume treatise updated annually, and co-author of a regular New York Law Journal column on civil practice in the Southern District of New York. He has lectured on professional ethics for the Practicing Law Institute and for the past several years chaired a New York City Bar Association CLE program entitled "Ethics, Discipline and Real World Obligations." Spiro is a member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department. He is a member of the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the New York County Lawyers’ Association. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the American Bar Association (Litigation and Criminal Justice Sections), the New York State Bar Association (Commercial and Federal Litigation Section), and the Federal Bar Council. Spiro graduated cum laude with a B.A. from Colgate University. He graduated cum laude with a J.D. and is a member, Law Review, from Boston University School of Law.

About the SUNY Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is the governing body of SUNY and consists of 18 members, 15 of whom are appointed by the Governor, by and with consent of the New York State Senate. In addition, the president of the Student Assembly serves as student trustee and the presidents of the University Faculty Senate and Faculty Council of Community Colleges serve as ex-officio trustees. SUNY Trustees serve on a voluntary basis without compensation.

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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