SUNY Board Appoints Joseph B. Porter As General Counsel

March 11, 2015

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today appointed Joseph B. Porter as SUNY vice chancellor for legal affairs and general counsel, effective June 4, 2015, at an annual salary of $224,415. He has held a similar position at Excelsior College in Albany for the last 10 years.

“Joe Porter comes to SUNY with an impressive and distinctive portfolio, having served as general counsel for Excelsior College in recent years and the State Education Department prior,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “On behalf of the entire Board, I am pleased to welcome Joe to SUNY and I look forward to working with him.”

“With decades of experience in education law and an established expertise as counsel in the higher education sector, it is clear that Joe Porter is ideally suited for our university system,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “I commend the search committee and Board of Trustees for bringing Joe to the SUNY executive team.”

"I would like to thank the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Zimpher for the opportunity to serve as SUNY's next vice chancellor for Legal Affairs and general counsel,” said Porter. “I have devoted my career to extending opportunities for life-long learning and I am deeply honored to have the chance to contribute to SUNY's important educational mission on behalf of the people of the State of New York."  

As vice chancellor for Legal Affairs and general counsel, Porter will provide legal advice and opinions for SUNY and the Board of Trustees, and represent the State University in legal matters. Porter’s appointment was supported by a Search Committee chaired by SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright. Trustee Eric Corngold also served on the committee.

About Joseph B. Porter
Joseph B. Porter is currently the vice president for Legal and Governmental Affairs and general counsel of Excelsior College in Albany, NY, a post he has held for almost 10 years. In this position, he directs Excelsior's legal operations, participates in the administration of the college as a member of the executive staff, and serves as secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Immediately prior to joining Excelsior College, Porter served in the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for 12 years, first as deputy counsel and later as executive director of the New York State Office of Teaching. During his years with NYSED, Porter authored innovative regulations and legislation on a wide variety of education issues and led a series of teams responsible for implementing the Regents' education reform agenda. He also served as legal advisor to the Board of Regents' Task Force on Teaching as it drafted groundbreaking reforms of New York's standards for the preparation and certification of teachers.

Prior to his work at NYSED, Porter served as deputy counsel and legislative representative of the New York State School Boards Association, where he advised and represented more than 700 school districts in New York. Porter began his career as general counsel and legislative representative for the New York State Conference of Mayors, where he advised and represented the mayors of New York's cities and villages.

Porter has lectured extensively throughout the State over the last 25 years on a variety of education issues and served as adjunct instructor of education law in the Graduate School of Educational Administration of the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, from 1996 to 2010.

A graduate of Albany Law School, Porter also holds a bachelor's degree in History and American Studies from Manhattan College in New York City.

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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