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"SUNY" redirects here. For the American historian, see Ronald Grigor Suny. For a detailed list of the institutions that comprise SUNY, see List of State University of New York units. For the City University of New York, see City University of New York (CUNY). For other and similar uses, see University of New York (disambiguation).
State University of New York
Motto To learn, to search, to serve
Established 1948
Type Public University System
Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher
Provost David Lavallee
Vice-Chancellor Brian Hutzley
Secretary William Howard
Academic staff 88,024[1]
Students 467,991
Undergraduates 427,403[1]
Location State-wide, New York, United States
Campus 64 campuses[1]
Colors Blue (PMS287)
Nickname SUNY

The State University of New York (SUNY /ˈsn/) is a system of public institutions of higher education in New York, United States. It is the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the United States,[2] with a total enrollment of 465,000 students, plus 1.1 million adult education students spanning 64 campuses across the state. Led by Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, the SUNY system has 88,000 faculty members and some 7,660 degree and certificate programs overall and a $10.7 billion budget.[3] SUNY includes many institutions and four University Centers: Albany (1844), Buffalo (1846), Binghamton (1946), and Stony Brook (1957). SUNY's administrative offices are in Albany, the state's capital.

The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of recommendations made by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University (1946–1948). The Commission was chaired by Owen D. Young, who was at the time Chairman of the General Electric Company. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

SUNY comprises all institutions of higher education statewide that are state-supported, with the exception of the institutions that are units of the City University of New York (CUNY), which is additionally funded by New York City.


The first colleges were established privately, with some arising from local seminaries. But New York state had a long history of supported higher education prior to the creation of the SUNY system. On May 7, 1844, the State legislature voted to establish New York State Normal School in Albany as the first college for teacher education. In 1865 New York created Cornell University as its land grant college, and it began direct financial support of Cornell's statutory colleges in 1894. From 1889 to 1903, Cornell operated the New York State College of Forestry, until the Governor vetoed its annual appropriation. The school was moved to Syracuse University in 1911. It is now the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. In 1908, the State legislature began the NY State College of Agriculture at Alfred University.

In 1946-48 a Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University, chaired by Owen D. Young, Chairman of the General Electric Company, studied New York's existing higher education institutions and recommended consolidating them into a state university system. The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of the commission's recommendations. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in the design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

On October 8, 1953, SUNY took a historic step of banning national fraternities and sororities that discriminated based on race or religion from its 33 campuses.[4] Various fraternities challenged this rule in court. As a result, national organizations felt pressured to open their membership to students of all races and religions.


SUNY is governed by a Board of Trustees, which consists of eighteen members, fifteen of whom are appointed by the Governor, with consent of the New York State Senate. The sixteenth member is the President of the SUNY Student Assembly. The last two members are the Presidents of the University Faculty Senate and Faculty Council of Community Colleges, both of whom are non-voting. The Board of Trustees appoints the Chancellor who serves as SUNY Chief Executive Officer.

The state of New York assists in financing the SUNY system, which, along with CUNY, provides lower-cost college-level education to residents of the state. SUNY students also come from out-of-state and 171 foreign countries, though tuition is higher for these students. Although tuition is higher for these non-resident students, their tuition is subsidized by New York State taxpayers.

For the 2010-2011 academic year, tuition costs at SUNY schools for an undergraduate degree are less than two-thirds the cost of most public colleges in the United States. For example, tuition at the University at Buffalo for an undergraduate degree is $7,772.75 per semester or $15,545.50 per year for non-resident students.[5] Undergraduate tuition for non-resident students at the University of Maryland is $24,830.44 per year.[6] Non-resident tuition and fees at University of Oregon are $25,830.00 per year.[7]

There is a large variety of colleges in the SUNY system with some overlap in specialties between sites. SUNY divides its campuses into four distinct categories: university centers/doctoral-granting institutions, university colleges, technology colleges, and community colleges. SUNY also has a unique relationship with its statutory colleges which embeds state-funded colleges within other institutions such as Cornell University and Alfred University. Students at the statutory colleges have the benefit of state-subsidized tuition while receiving all of the campus life amenities of the host institutions.

SUNY and the City University of New York (CUNY) are different university systems, both funded by New York State. Also, SUNY is not to be confused with the University of the State of New York (USNY), which is the governmental umbrella organization for most education-related institutions and many education-related personnel (both public and private) in New York State, and which includes, as a component, the New York State Education Department.

Presidents and chancellors

Executive Title Term
Alvin C. Eurich President January 1, 1949 – August 31, 1951
Charles Garside Acting President September 1, 1951 – March 31, 1952
William S. Carlson President April 1, 1952 – September, 1958
Thomas H. Hamilton President August 1, 1959 – December 31, 1962
J. Lawrence Murray Acting Chief Administrative Officer January 1, 1963 – August 31, 1964
Samuel B. Gould President
September 1, 1964 – January 11, 1967
January 12, 1967 – August 30, 1970
Ernest L. Boyer Chancellor September 1, 1970 – March 31, 1977
James F. Kelly Acting Chancellor April 1, 1977 – January 24, 1978
Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. Chancellor January 25, 1978 – January 31, 1987
Jerome B. Komisar Acting Chancellor February 1, 1987 – July 31, 1988
D. Bruce Johnstone Chancellor August 1, 1988 – February 28, 1994
Joseph C. Burke Interim Chancellor March 1, 1994 – November 30, 1994
Thomas A. Bartlett Chancellor December 1, 1994 – June 30, 1996
John W. Ryan Interim Chancellor
July 1, 1996 – April 20, 1997
April 21, 1997 – December 31, 1999
Robert L. King Chancellor January 1, 2000 – May 31, 2005
John R. Ryan Acting Chancellor
June 1, 2005 – December 19, 2005
December 20, 2005 – May 31, 2007
John B. Clark Interim Chancellor June 1, 2007 – December, 2008
John J. O’Connor Officer-in-Charge December 22, 2008 – May 31, 2009
Nancy L. Zimpher Chancellor June 1, 2009–present

Student representation

In the 1970s, students pressed for voting representation on the governing board of SUNY colleges. In 1971, the State Legislature added five student voting members to Cornell's Board of Trustees. However, at that time, all members of a board must be over the age of 21 for a corporation to hold a liquor license, so to allow Cornell to retain its license, the legislature had to go back to amend NYS Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 126(4) to require that half the board must be 21. In 1975, the legislature added a non-voting student seat to the boards of all SUNY units. Two Attorney General of the State of New York opinion letters[8] reduced the parliamentary rights of the student members to participate at meetings and indicated that they were not in fact Public Officers, and arguably subject to personal liability from lawsuits. In 1977, another statutory amendment made student members of SUNY councils and boards subject to the NYS Public Officers Law or NYS General Municipal Law and granted student representatives parliamentary powers of moving or seconding motions and of placing items on the agendas of the bodies. Finally, the legislature gave full voting rights to the student members in 1979, resulting in the students of all SUNY units having voting representatives, except for the NYS College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Finally, in 1986, the legislature gave the student representative of that college voting rights as well.[9]


Location of SUNY campuses within New York state.
Blue: Community colleges.

University centers and doctoral-granting institutions

University centers

Other doctoral-granting institutions

University colleges

Technology colleges

Community colleges

All of these colleges are located in New York State, except that the Jamestown Community College operates its Warren Center in Pennsylvania under a contract with the Warren-Forest Higher Education Council, and the Center is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The Warren Center is 25 miles south of Jamestown, New York on the grounds of Warren State Hospital, in North Warren, Pennsylvania.[74]


Size, financing, rankings

Campus Acreage[75] Founded Enrollment Endowment Operations Athletics Nickname USNews[76] ARWU.[77] NSF R&D Expenditures[78] Wash. Monthly[79] Kiplinger's Best Value[80] Athletics
Albany 586 1844 17,600 US$30 million 548.3 million Great Danes 128 301-400 59 76 64 NCAA Div I America East
Binghamton 887 1946 14,713 US$80 million 456.2 million Bearcats 97 NR 191 NR 12 NCAA Div I America East
Buffalo 1,346 1846 28,601 US$736.3 million N/A Bulls 109 201-300 56 NR 38 NCAA Div I
Stony Brook 1,364 1957 24,594 US$110.2 million 2.09 billion Seawolves 82 151-200 67 75 39 NCAA Div I America East

Selectivity and admission

School Selectivity rating[81] Percent students admitted[82] Middle 50% SAT Students in top 10% of class Middle 90% GPA
Albany 78 47%[83] 1110–1260 15% 88-94
Binghamton 93 33%[84] 1200–1380 50% 92-95
Buffalo 85 51%[85] 1120–1290 34% 90-96
Stony Brook 89 39%[86] 1130–1270 Not reported 87-93

Research funding

School NSF Funding Rank Funding Dollars (USD)[87]
Albany 59 309,221,000
Binghamton 191 35,462,000
Buffalo 56 314,837,000
Brockport 500 1,025,000
Buffalo State 472 1,292,000
Downstate 204 29,809,000
ESF 222 23,854,000
Geneseo 444 1,743,000
Optometry 408 2,231,000
Oswego 490 1,093,000
Plattsburgh 479 1,190,000
Stony Brook 67 268,282,000
Upstate 181 39,699,000
Westbury 447 1,682,000

The SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

The SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence is an annual award given out by the SUNY system to distinguished student leaders across the State of New York. Established in 1997, the system considers the Chancellor's Award to be "the highest honor bestowed upon the student body."[88]


Every school within the SUNY system manages its own athletics program, which greatly varies the level of competition at each institution.


Division I

  • The four university centers all compete at the Division I level for all of their sports. All but Binghamton field football teams, with Buffalo in Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) and Albany and Stony Brook in Division I FCS (formerly Division I-AA). The four Cornell statutory colleges compete as a part of the Ivy League, an FCS conference that chooses not to participate in the FCS postseason tournament.
  • A small number of community colleges compete at the NJCAA Div. 1 level.

Divisions II and III

  • Most SUNY colleges, technical schools and community schools compete at the NCAA or NJCAA Div. II or III level.

Other associations

  • SUNY Delhi is a member of the NAIA.
  • SUNY Canton and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry are members of the USCAA.[89][90]


The most prominent SUNY rivalry is between the Albany Great Danes and Binghamton Bearcats. The two both belong to the America East athletic conference. Frequently referred to as the I-88 Rivalry, Binghamton and Albany sit at either end of Interstate 88 (roughly 2.5 hours apart). Both teams are known to post the highest visitor attendance at either school's athletic events.

SUNY Oswego and SUNY Plattsburgh also share a notable rivalry in Division III Hockey, with that game almost always having the SUNYAC regular season title up for grabs.

SUNY Cobleskill and SUNY Delhi rivalry is mainly involving basketball, cross country, and previously track, although Cobleskill track and field started competing at the NCAA Division III level beginning in spring 2009. They are in fairly close proximity to each other. The SUNY Delhi 2003-2004 basketball season was canceled after a basketball game was called with 48 seconds left after several SUNY Delhi basketball players nearly started a brawl in the Ioro Gymnasium at SUNY Cobleskill on Wednesday February 4, 2004.

SUNY Oneonta has developed a rivalry in almost every sport with SUNY Cortland. They both share the red dragon as a team nickname, and their matchups are known as the "Battle of the Red Dragons".

There is an unusual sports rivalry between SUNY-ESF and Finger Lakes Community College, with both campuses sponsoring nationally-ranked teams in woodsman competitions. Alfred State and SUNY Cobleskill participate in this sport as well.

See also



External links

  • Official website
  • State University of New York Press

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