Spitzer Appoints Simpson to Higher Education Commission

Release Date: May 31, 2007 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo President John B. Simpson has been named to a newly created state Higher Education Commission charged with identifying ways to improve the quality of higher education in New York.  

The commission was formed Monday by an Executive Order from Governor Eliot Spitzer. According to Spitzer, the new commission will help identify innovative, cutting-edge ideas and necessary improvements that will help improve the quality of education statewide and "make New York's higher-education system a world-class institution."

One of the goals of the commission is to enhance the capacity of the state's university research centers, such as UB, to regain New York's preeminent status in academic research, while providing opportunities for high-value employment.

"Excellence in higher education is a key to our state's future," Spitzer said "The state's network of outstanding public and private colleges and universities are essential to producing the highly skilled work force that will be a major driver of New York's Upstate economy."

Simpson said he is honored to be named to the commission.

"As Gov. Spitzer has emphasized, the future of New York State depends on its ability to compete successfully in the 21st century's knowledge economy," he added. "A first-rate higher education system is pivotal to achieving this goal, and with the convening of this commission, we have the opportunity to make the State University of New York the best public system of higher education in the nation. 

Simpson added: "I look forward to working with my colleagues on the commission to collaborate on solutions that will expand the scope and impact of knowledge, discovery, and innovation fueled by our state's public and private universities and colleges.  And speaking as a SUNY president, I view this as a tremendous opportunity to make a good system of higher education a truly great one.

Under the executive order, the commission will study the state's current higher education system and make recommendations about:

* improving access to the state's public higher-education system

* expanding its degree programs to reflect state and regional economic-development objectives

* preparing community college graduates for a smooth transition to four-year institutions and/or obtain high-value jobs upon graduation

* enhancing the capacity of the state's university research centers

* New York's preeminent status in academic research while providing additional opportunities for high value employment

The commission also will make recommendations that address flexibility on the systems' individual campuses to attract the best and brightest students and faculty and enlisting them in the service of the economic, humanitarian and civic needs of their communities.

The Commission on Higher Education will be chaired by Professor Hunter Rawlings, President Emeritus of both Cornell University and the University of Iowa.

"New York's public and private colleges and universities play a crucial role in educating citizens for the 21st century, in conducting original research that extends the boundaries of human knowledge, driving economic development, and performing vital public services," Rawlings said. "It is essential that the state develop a progressive strategy for strengthening its institutions of higher education and optimizing their effectiveness."

Other members of the commission are: Lee Bollinger, president, Columbia University; Don Boyce, student, Rockefeller School of Public Affairs; Nancy Cantor, chancellor, Syracuse University; John Clark, interim chancellor nominee, State University of New York; Milton Cofield, New York State Board of Regents; Lois DeFleur, president, Binghamton University; John Dyson, chief executive officer, Pebble Ridge Vineyards and Wine Estates; Peter Fishbein, special counsel, Kaye Scholer LLP; Hon. Deborah Glick, chairwoman, Assembly Higher Education Committee; Matt Goldstein, chancellor, CUNY; Carl Hayden, former chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents; Elena Kagan, dean, Harvard Law School; Marcia V. Keizs, president, York College of the City University of New York; Abraham Lackman, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities; Hon. Senator Kenneth LaValle, Chairman, Senate Higher Education Committee; Eduardo Marti, president, Queensborough Community College; Richard Mills, Commissioner of Education; Myron Mitchell, faculty, State University of New York; Robert Paaswell, faculty, City University of New York; Hon. Crystal Peoples, member of New York State Assembly; Bruce Raynor, president, UNITE HERE; William Scheuerman, president, United University Professions; John Sexton, president, New York University; Tom Schwarz, president, Purchase College; Marc Shaw, trustee, City University of New York; Lauren Talerman, student, Queens College; and Adam Urbanski, president, Rochester Teachers Association

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