Nation’s Largest University Expands
An Interview with Chancellor Robert King
State University of New York is growing! Seeking to attract more
students from the Metropolitan area to its 64 campuses, the State
University of New York (SUNY) recently opened a new Metropolitan
Recruitment Center in midtown Manhattan. The center hopes to better
disseminate information about SUNY to high school students, their
parents and guidance counselors and to better assist them with
the college application process.
New York City metropolitan area is very important to SUNY; we
welcome New York City high school students on our campuses,” said
SUNY Chancellor Robert King.
The Chancellor cited diversity as one of the most important elements
brought to SUNY by students from the metropolitan area, who constitute
approximately 25 percent of the university’s applicants each year.
and the diversity they bring to the university enhance the environment
on our campuses,” said King.
The expansion of facilities is one of many general increases that
are taking place throughout SUNY these days. In the past five
years enrollment has been experiencing a similar trend. In 2001
enrollment stood at 383,153 students, up 2.3 percent since the
fall of 2000. Full-time undergraduate enrollment was the highest
in the university’s history—235, 548—up 4.4 per cent from the
fall of 2000. Selectivity was also on the rise in 2001 with 40
percent of the incoming class having scored above 1,200 on the
SAT and a grade point average above 90 percent.
combination of our growing reputation and focused recruitment
efforts contributed to significant enrollment growth for the fifth
consecutive year,” said King during his annual report to the Board
of Trustees delivered at Hudson Valley Community College recently.
“The record number of students choosing the State University speaks
not only to the University’s capacity to provide a superb education,
but also to the quality of our campuses, thanks to the $2 billion
investment in our building and infrastructure that is being made
under the leadership of Governor Pataki. In short, we are becoming
the institution of choice for New York State’s college-going population,
to an extent unequalled in our history.”
Raising the status of SUNY has been one of King’s main goals,
since December of 1999 when he assumed his position as Chancellor.
“The University is increasing its stature in terms of how the
world views us as a research institution,” said King, citing as
some of the measurements of success the increasing number of patents
generated; Stony Brook’s admittance in the Association of American
Universities; and a recent pledge of $100 million made by IBM
to support the Center for Excellence in Nanoelectronics at the
University at Albany.
have engineered a first rate, best in class public university,”
said King when questioned to describe the present state of SUNY,
which stands as the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher
In 2001, SUNY came a step closer to meeting the Chancellor’s goal
of attracting $5 billion in new resources for the University over
the course of five years.
am pleased to report that funding for sponsored activity, including
research, climbed to almost $594 million last year—almost $100
million more than we had just two years ago,” said King, who has
considered it “important to change the basic culture of the university
as it pertains to fundraising…we have not had a long history of
soliciting philanthropic support.”
The university, however, can boast of having a longstanding relationship
with its Russian counterparts. The 27-year relationship led to
the recent establishment of a unique exchange program that allows
SUNY students to earn a joint degree from their home institution
and Moscow State University.
Arrangements are already underway to establish a similar partnership
with the Istanbul Technical University in Turkey.
view Turkey as an important country strategically to the US,”
said King. “We found the Turks very willing and amenable to this
The faculty participating in the joint degree programs, which
provides students with an option to make use of distance learning,
or to study in Turkey and Moscow for a certain period of time,
have been collaborating to create a joint curriculum that will
meet the program’s needs.
As King noted, among other things, the joint program seeks to
prepare a more international workforce and provide SUNY students
with an advantage when they enter the job market.
of the advantage our graduates will have when they approach a
prospective employer with a resume demonstrating degrees earned
from both SUNY and Moscow State or Istanbul Technical University,”
Students can earn joint degrees in the following disciplines:
Business Administration, Economics, Language, Medicine, Computer
Science, Public Administration and Teaching English as a Foreign
also recognize that as large and comprehensive as we are, we can
extend our effectiveness by collaborating with other entities
that offer important additions to our capacities,” said King.
“Thus, we continue to create and enhance key strategic partnerships
throughout the state and around the world.”
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