February 11, 2009

Board of Trustees Names Nancy Zimpher First Female Chancellor of SUNY System

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Yesterday, the State University of New York’s Board of Trustees named Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher as the first woman chancellor of the nation’s largest comprehensive university system. Cornell’s own President David J. Skorton was among the 17 members of the search committee that SUNY established to review all potential candidates.
Zimpher is the current president of the University of Cincinnati, a public research university with over 35,000 students and a $1 billion annual budget. Her term as the 12th SUNY chancellor will begin on June 1, 2009, nearly two years after the previous chancellor, John R. Ryan, stepped down. The search was delayed due to the controversial resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.).
Despite New York’s current fiscal deficit, SUNY’s first woman chancellor has extensive plans to revamp the SUNY system, including locating new funds for research and development, raising the quality of education and improving transfer options for students. Zimpher, however, first plans to visit all 64 SUNY campuses, which collectively educate around 440,000 students.
New York’s Board of Trustees chose Zimpher as SUNY’s newest chancellor due to her strong administrative background, according to the university. Under her leadership, the University of Cincinnati climbed in the nation’s higher education rankings, achieved higher retention rates and raised admissions standards. As a result of Zimpher’s efforts, the university moved closer to becoming a top urban research institution.
The search committee, which was established by SUNY’s Board of Trustees, analyzed the many applicants for the chancellorship before ultimately choosing Zimpher. Among the members of the search committee were Vishakha Desai, president of the Asia Society, Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner of the NFL, and President Skorton.
When discussing the committee’s final decision, President Skorton told SUNY that he was confident in Zimpher’s capabilities.
“Nancy Zimpher’s considerable skills in managing complex institutions of higher education will enable her to advance the SUNY system to new heights,” he said. Skorton went on to congratulate his peer, “SUNY and all of New York are most fortunate to have such a capable leader. I congratulate Nancy on becoming SUNY chancellor and look forward to working with her as we strengthen higher education in the Empire State.”
Other members of the committee agreed with Skorton’s comments, expressing their deep respect for Zimpher and their satisfaction with the choice.
As chancellor of SUNY, Zimpher will receive a salary of $490,000 a year with a retirement benefit of $55,400 per year. She will also gain exclusive use of a state car and driver, SUNY’s apartment in New York City and the chancellor’s apartment on the SUNY Albany campus.