State University of New York’s 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education.
When founded in 1948, the University consolidated 29 state-operated but unaffiliated institutions whose varied histories of service dated as far back as 1816.
Today, more than 467,000 students are pursuing traditional study in classrooms and laboratories or are working at home, at their own pace, through such innovative institutions as the SUNY Learning Network and Empire State College. The State University enrolls 40 percent of all New York State high school graduates.
The distinguished faculty is recruited from the finest graduate schools and universities throughout the United States and many countries around the world. Their efforts are regularly recognized in numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize.
State University’s research contributions are helping to solve some of today’s most urgent problems. State University researchers pioneered nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and the supermarket bar code scanner, introduced time-lapse photography of forestry subjects and isolated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
The University’s program for the educationally and economically disadvantaged, consisting of Educational Opportunity Programs and Educational Opportunity Centers, has become a model for delivering better learning opportunities to young people and adults traditionally bypassed by higher education.
The 30 locally-sponsored two-year community colleges offer local citizens programs that are directly and immediately job-related as well as degree programs that serve as job-entry educational experience or a transfer opportunity to a baccalaureate degree at a senior campus.
In 2004, the Governor and the Legislature approved a second multi-year, $1.8 billion capital construction program for the
University. The first plan, adopted in 1998 provided $2 billion in capital investments in the University system. This investment in critical maintenance will protect the University’s infrastructure and enable the University to keep pace with modern technology for the benefit of students and faculty.
In 1995, the Board of Trustees developed the document Rethinking SUNY, in response to a call from the Legislature for a "multi-year, comprehensive system wide plan to increase cost efficiency."
Underlying Rethinking SUNY is the theme of increasing efficiency by empowering campuses to manage directly more of their academic and financial affairs and by eliminating disincentives to the prudent use of campus and system resources.
State University’s involvement in the health science education is extensive. Hundreds of thousands of New York’s citizens are served each year by faculty and students in University hospitals, clinics or affiliated hospitals. The University’s economic development services programs provide research, training and technical assistance to the state’s business and industrial community. State University libraries, which support teaching and research activities, are an important community resource.
State University of New York is governed by a Board of Trustees, appointed by the Governor, which directly determines the policies to be followed by the 34 state-supported campuses. Community colleges have their own local boards of trustees whose relationship to the State University Board is defined by law.
The University’s motto is: "To Learn—To Search—To Serve."