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Governor, Chancellor announce "NYSUNY 2020" program

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on Monday unveiled the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program to make SUNY a leading catalyst for job growth throughout the state, strengthen the academic programs of the four University Centers and demonstrate that New York is open for business.

Phase one of the program will initially consist of $35 million in capital funding for each of the four University Centers: Binghamton, Albany, Buffalo and Stony Brook. The Empire State Development Corporation will administer $20 million for each campus and the SUNY Construction Fund will administer the remaining $15 million for each campus, for a total investment of $140 million.

The funding will be integrated with the governor's Regional Economic Development Councils and administered by ESDC to leverage private sector and other source funding to further the goals of job creation and economic development.

"NYSUNY 2020 brings our economic development goals together with the world-class SUNY system in a way that boosts higher learning and creates good paying jobs all over New York," Cuomo said. "We need to put New Yorkers back to work, and this new partnership with SUNY will be a major part of the reinvention of New York."

"This is a really good day for SUNY, and equally for Binghamton University because of the announcement made today," said Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath. "We are elated that the governor is eager to harness the Power of SUNY and, in particular, its four university centers. By leveraging our academic excellence, outstanding students and world-class faculty and researchers, Binghamton University is perfectly positioned to be a major catalyst for economic revitalization of the Southern Tier as well as the rest of New York state."

"Governor Cuomo's vision of reopening New York to business fits perfectly with SUNY's ability to be an economic driver for our state -- a ready-made asset for New York's recovery," Zimpher said. "We have pledged to educate the most adept workforce in the nation, discover innovative solutions to some of the most vexing scientific and socio-economic challenges, improve the business climate in our state, and enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers."

To be eligible for the funding, Binghamton and the other campuses will submit detailed, long-term economic and academic plans that must leverage private sector resources and meet several criteria, including:

-- ways the school will bring the local community and stakeholders together through the Regional Economic Development Councils to spur local economic development and contribute to regional revitalization

-- strategic partnerships, such as public/private partnerships, to increase academic and economic benefits

-- endorsements from surrounding local governments in support of the plan

-- funding mechanisms, such as capital financing, tuition increases and private sector financing

-- details for expansion, including faculty to be hired, property to be purchased and for what purpose

Speaking to the media on Monday in front of the under-construction Science 5 building, Magrath said that Binghamton has a plan that is strong on economic development and what the University can do for New York state overall, and for the Southern Tier. "It's also symbolic that we're standing in front of Science 5, which is intended to highlight our strength as a research intensive university," he said. "This is testimony to what we contribute to economic development and job growth."

Magrath expects NYSUNY 2020 will enable Binghamton to intensify its business relationships with local industry. "We need to have conversations about this," he said. "It's all collaborative."

The SUNY plans will be reviewed by Zimpher and recommended to the ESDC Board for final approval. Some aspects may require legislative approval. The Regional Economic Development Councils will integrate the plans. The first round of approvals will be made by the end of this year.

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