Statement from SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on Leadership Changes at U.S. Department of Education

October 2, 2015

"With Arne Duncan’s announcement of his imminent departure as Secretary of Education, America loses a true champion of students and an advocate for the vital role parents and communities play in improving education across the nation. Like SUNY, Secretary Duncan saw education as a door for opportunity and bedrock of citizenship, and pushed us all to keep equity at the forefront of what we do. His leadership ensured innovation was at the forefront of the department’s work and his efforts to regain our foothold as “first in the world” is sure to be looked back on as a hallmark of his tenure.

"We are fortunate that President Obama has chosen John King, Jr. to serve as acting secretary for the remainder of his term. John was a strong partner during his time as education commissioner here in New York and understands the importance of approaching education as a pipeline from cradle through career. He was keenly aware of SUNY’s critical role in preparing our state’s teachers and workforce, and encouraged new approaches to teacher preparation. We look forward to engaging with John to continue Secretary Duncan’s legacy of higher standards to promote college and career-readiness for all students."

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

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications