UAlbany News Center
Facebook Twitter  Youtube  
Watch UAlbany TV
News Release icon

Governor Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Zimpher Unveil Groundbreaking "NYSUNY 2020" Program

UAlbany and Capital Region Applaud Economic Revitalization Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher today unveiled the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. Phase one of the program is worth up to $140 million to the SUNY University Centers in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook.

The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program will initially consist of $35 million in capital funding per school ($20 million administered by Empire State Development Corporation and $15 million from SUNY's construction fund) for the four SUNY University Centers.

The mission of the program is to make SUNY a leading catalyst for job growth throughout the state, strengthen the academic programs of the University Centers and demonstrate that New York is open for business. The funding will be integrated with the Governor's Regional Economic Development Councils and administered by ESDC. The approach will 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," Governor 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."

"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," SUNY Chancellor 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, the four campuses will submit detailed, long term economic and academic plans. The plans 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
  • For example, the University at Buffalo may submit UB 2020 as its plan.

The SUNY plans will be reviewed by the SUNY Chancellor 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.

University at Albany and Capital Region leaders commended Governor Cuomo for the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. The initiative will go far to position UAlbany to build and strengthen its enterprise, as well as to fortify regional economic competitiveness by spurring significant job creation, attracting substantial research funding, creating new capital investment and stimulating increased retail and commercial activity across the Capital Region.

University at Albany President George Philip said, "The University at Albany applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Empire State Development Corporation President and CEO Kenneth Adams for empowering SUNY's University Centers to serve as a driving force in the economic revitalization of New York State. UAlbany is eager to embrace this role and work with our many partners to further strengthen the economic vitality of the Capital Region and beyond."

Senator Neil Breslin said, "I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership in advancing the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program – a vitally important initiative for the University at Albany and Capital Region. NYSUNY 2020 is poised to further enrich the role the University at Albany plays in regional economic competitiveness by unleashing the power of its enterprise to advance new learning and discovery, attract additional research funding, invest in new capital facilities, create new jobs and spur the greater Capital Region economy."

Senator Hugh Farley, a UAlbany alumnus and a retired faculty member who served for thirty-five years, said, "The University at Albany is of the greatest importance to the growth and vitality of the greater Capital Region. I congratulate Governor Cuomo for his leadership in developing the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, which will allow the University at Albany to advance its growth plans.  NYSUNY 2020 is terrific news for all who want to ensure that our Capital Region community has the highest-quality public higher education available and a strong and economically vibrant future."

Senator Roy McDonald said, "Governor Cuomo is to be congratulated for introducing the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, which promises to be a major shot in the arm to the Capital Region’s economy. This groundbreaking initiative will position the University at Albany to build upon its extraordinary track record by positioning the campus to create new jobs, generate new research and development funding, and invest in new construction. It is a big win for the Capital Region that promises to help power our economy into the future."

UAlbany's Entry Plaza with fountain

The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program aims to strengthen the role of the University at Albany and other SUNY University Centers in driving the economic revitalization of New York State.

Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari said, "The Governor is to be congratulated for including the four prestigious University Centers in the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. The University at Albany is well positioned to leverage its success as a SUNY University Center in advancing new learning and education, generating new discovery and innovation, as well as spurring new economic development opportunities across the greater Capital Region."

Assemblymember Jack McEneny said, "I commend the Governor for ensuring that the four University Centers are a part of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. As I have said on many occasions, it is critically important to keep together these major SUNY research universities – the crown jewels of the SUNY System. This will go far to make certain that the University at Albany continues to play a critically important role in the educational, research and economic life of the Capital Region and New York State."

Assemblyman Bob Reilly said, "The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, proposed by Governor Cuomo, will ensure that our limited resources are directed where they will provide the most benefit. I fully support the Program which will continue the State's support of the SUNY system and its University Centers."

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said, "I congratulate Governor Cuomo for unveiling NYSUNY 2020 – a major economic development priority for UAlbany and City of Albany. This initiative will enable the University at Albany to advance its plans to grow its academic enterprise and spur economic development for the City of Albany. Once fully realized, NYSUNY 2020 promises to lead to the creation of new jobs, major capital investment and vital economic development for the All-America City of Albany."

Michael Tucker, President and CEO of The Center for Economic Growth said, "NYSUNY 2020 is a great opportunity for community stakeholders to come together in new ways to spur job creation and economic development. We look forward to working with UAlbany and community partners to realize Governor Cuomo’s vision for this new initiative."

Mark N. Eagan, President and CEO of the Albany Chamber Regional Chamber of Commerce, said, "Governor Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program incentivizes key long-term economic development, planning and implementation for the University at Albany campus and the surrounding region. The Chamber applauds the Governor and looks forward to working with UAlbany in developing and realizing a plan that leads to continued economic growth for the Capital Region."

Michael J. Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU, said, "As an alumnus of UAlbany, I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the unprecedented opportunities before us to create a plan that would make the State University of New York a catalyst for economic growth here in Albany and across the state. I see this as a welcome first step in expanding public/private partnerships that bring stakeholders together from across the region with UAlbany and the SUNY system to reopen New York to business."

For more news, subscribe to UAlbany's RSS headline feeds

Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit