Message from President Robert J. Jones

In January, I celebrated my one-year anniversary as President of the University at Albany and a resident of New York's Capital Region. I am gratified by the warm welcome I have received and the many opportunities to create new linkages between UAlbany and regional organizations. I view public engagement as an essential part of my role as the leader of a 21st century public research university. As people have recognized this commitment and see the potential for powerful university-community partnerships, they have been reaching out in new and exciting ways. As a result, my engagement portfolio has an emphasis on several issues about which I care deeply, including economic development, education, and community revitalization.

I was deeply honored to serve as one of the four lead chairs of Mayor Kathy Sheehan's Transition Team, working with a diverse network of community leaders to ensure a successful start to the Mayor's administration. The recommendations of seven subcommittees, released in January, detail a wide range of important strategies in priority areas. They include community engagement and empowerment, neighborhood and economic development, and intergovernmental cooperation. UAlbany will use this report as a guide for identifying where we can best collaborate to help achieve key community goals.

Upon arriving in Albany last year, I immediately joined the leadership team of The Albany Promise Cradle-to-Career Partnership, co-convened by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, City School District of Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, and Mark Bobb-Semple of the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region. I look forward to working with the Superintendent in co-leading a new action team on College and Career Readiness to advance career and education pathways for all of Albany High School's students.

I was also privileged to be appointed by Governor Cuomo as co-chair of the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) with Albany Medical Center President and CEO James Barba. I am very proud that the Capital Region was named a Top Performer this year and awarded over $82.8 million to fund 100 different economic development projects. These projects will spark investment and job growth throughout our region. My focus on regional economic development has also extended to participation on the boards of the Capitalize Albany Corporation, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Center for Economic Growth, three organizations that have had a significant impact on strengthening and diversifying our regional economy.

I firmly believe that strong communities are built on a foundation of hard work and cooperation by all key sectors.  Our schools, businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, civic associations, and universities all have a role in the continued and long-term success of our region.  As I lead the UAlbany community to build on our existing work throughout the region and state, so too do I encourage you to reach out to us.  Together, we can ensure a bright, prosperous, and sustainable future for our Capital District communities.

Dr. Robert J. Jones
University at Albany