SUNY Board Appoints Dr. Robert J. Jones as University at Albany President

September 12, 2012

New York City – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. Robert J. Jones as the 19th president of the University at Albany, following a national search that attracted candidates from leading research universities across the country. Jones has served as senior vice president for Academic Administration at the University of Minnesota System for the last eight years.

"As one of our elite university centers and home to the globally renowned College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, UAlbany needs the steady, professional leadership Dr. Jones has developed over his distinguished career," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "I want to congratulate him on his appointment to this prestigious position within our State University system and thank George Philip for his invaluable contributions, especially his work on UAlbany's forthcoming NYSUNY 2020 plan. I look forward to working with Dr. Jones and Chancellor Zimpher on continuing our strong efforts to position UAlbany as a premiere economic driver and top academic institution."

“Dr. Jones brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in higher education to UAlbany, where his appointment is certain to benefit the tens of thousands of students that attend this fine institution every year,” said Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “I thank the search committee for their thorough evaluation and commend its members on an outstanding recommendation.”

“As a member of the leadership team at the University of Minnesota for the past eight years, Dr. Jones comes to SUNY with intricate knowledge and critical experience as leader within a system of higher education, something that will serve our own system and our great state very well,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “We are also deeply grateful to George Philip for his impeccable service as president of UAlbany during one of the campus’ most exciting eras of growth and expansion.”

“The University at Albany is a world-class institution of higher education with an innovative research portfolio that serves our nation's highest needs and ensures that New York State is at the forefront of today's technological advances," said Jones. "I thank Chancellor Zimpher and the Board of Trustees for their confidence in my leadership and look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, SUNY, and the faculty, staff, and students at UAlbany." 

Jones’ appointment is effective on January 2, 2013. As president, he will receive an annual State salary of $385,000, with a supplement of $110,000 from the campus’ allocation of research funds through the Research Foundation. He will also receive a $60,000 housing allowance and have access to a campus vehicle.

Jones will succeed George M. Philip as president of UAlbany. Philip served as Interim President of the campus from November 2007 to June 2009, and as President since.

About Dr. Robert J. Jones
Dr. Robert J. Jones has served as senior vice president for academic administration at the University of Minnesota System since 2004. In this position, he was responsible for oversight of a broad portfolio of programs and initiatives that provide core support for academic programs across the University of Minnesota system. Prior, Dr. Jones served more than 15 years in key administrative leadership positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, including vice president and executive vice provost for faculty and academic programs, vice president for campus life and vice provost for faculty and academic personnel, and interim vice president for student development.

A native of Dawson, Georgia, Dr. Jones has more than three decades of higher education leadership experience as well as academic expertise spanning plant physiology and urban and international development. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a Master of Science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After earning the Ph.D., he joined the University of Minnesota faculty as a professor of agronomy and plant genetics. He is an internationally recognized authority on plant physiology and has published numerous scientific papers, manuscripts and abstracts. His research focuses on the role of cytokinins in stabilizing grain yields of maize against environmental stresses and global climate change. Over his career, he has trained many students who have gone on to leading careers in higher education and research.

Dr. Jones is a fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. He has been a visiting professor and featured speaker in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and from 1984 to 1994 served as an academic and scientific consultant for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s South African Education Program. In 2010, he was awarded a University of Minnesota endowed chair in urban and international development; he was also named a recipient of the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

Dr. Jones holds a gubernatorial appointment as a commissioner of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and serves on the boards of directors for the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and the Bush Foundation, among other leadership roles. He is also a member of the Grammy award-winning Sounds of Blackness, a Twin Cities-based choral ensemble.

Dr. Jones and his spouse, Lynn Hassan Jones, M.D., have five children and two grandchildren.

About University at Albany
Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its more than 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. Visit UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts. For more news, subscribe to UAlbany's RSS feed, or follow the University on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

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, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 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 opportunity, visit

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