SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher Among “Top 25 Disruptive Leaders”

September 26, 2016

Living Cities Honors Leaders Who Increase Opportunity for Low-Income Americans

Washington, DC – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher was recently named as one of the "Top 25 Disruptive Leaders" by Living Cities, an organization that works with cross-sector leaders in cities nationally to develop and scale new approaches that aim to produce dramatically better results for low-income Americans.

In naming Chancellor Zimpher to the list, Living Cities President & CEO Ben Hecht said, "Time and time again, Nancy Zimpher has acted urgently and with unrestrained imagination to put educational policies and practices in place that improve the lives of low-income people, especially those of color, in our country. Nancy’s work and leadership embody what is possible when we lead and work collectively toward a more equitable America."

"Day in and day out, we need to shine a bright light on education in the United States – how to educate more Americans and how to educate them better, so that everyone has a chance to make the most of their lives," said Chancellor Zimpher. "In communities throughout this country, Living Cities is making a significant difference by bringing people together to collectively serve our neediest citizens. It is an honor for me personally, and on behalf of The State University of New York, to be among their many partners."

The 25 Disruptive Leaders will be honored tomorrow in Washington, DC at a ceremony at the Living Cities 25th Anniversary convening, which will bring together over 200 public, private, philanthropic and community leaders to discuss ways to close the racial opportunity gaps in America’s cities, including in wealth, income, education and health. 

Living Cities solicited nominations from more than 300 urban policymakers, practitioners, and thought leaders for individuals who demonstrated disruptive leadership in their communities. In addition to Chancellor Zimpher, the Top 25 include: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook; Mayor Michael Nutter, 98th Mayor of Philadelphia; Reshma Saujani, Founder, Girls Who Code; Ta-Nehisi Coates, Journalist, Blogger, and Memoirist; and more.

The complete list is available online.

About Living Cities

Founded in 1991, Living Cities harnesses the collective power of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to build a new type of urban practice that gets dramatically better results for low-income people, faster. For more information, visit:

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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Holly Liapis
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