president W. Hubert Keen praised a new SUNY program that will enable New York's four state university centers to compete for up to $140 million in grants, even though SUNY Farmingdale is not eligible.
"SUNY is a large, comprehensive system with many campuses that have distinct missions," Keen said. "By allowing the university centers to develop new opportunities, we create the ability to model this kind of entrepreneurship for other campuses."
SUNY campuses are divided into four categories: university centers/doctoral-granting institutions, university colleges, technology colleges and community colleges. As a technology college, Farmingdale State will not be eligible for these grants.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher unveiled the NYSUNY 2020 initiative, which will pour millions in economic development and construction funds into its campuses at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook. Each school will initially receive capital funding amounting to $20 million from the Empire State Development Corporation and an additional $15 million from SUNY's construction fund.
However, a key component of the initiative is competition based on detailed, long-term academic and economic development plans submitted by each school, which are likely to include ways to to incorporate private sector partnerships.
In a statement released Monday, Stony Brook president Samuel Stanley Jr. called the plan visionary, saying it will "[advance] the role of SUNY’s research institutions and the future of the State’s prospects for economic development."
He said the plan "presents the opportunity for Stony Brook to increase tuition resulting in additional operating revenue while helping us generate the necessary private funding that will enable us to populate new facilities with leading research faculty and staff, and provide opportunities for the most exceptional students."
The four SUNY university centers educate about 86,000 students each year, and have generated more than $600,000 in research revenues each year for the past three years.
Despite being ineligible for the grants, other non-research institutions in the SUNY system besides Farmingdale State are also voicing their support for NYSUNY 2020.
"This program starts with the university centers, but if successful, it can expand to campuses throughout the System," SUNY New Paltz Interim President Donald Christian told The Legislative Gazette.
"This is just the right time and just the right approach to keep SUNY vibrant and innovative," Keen said.