Published January 5, 2022

Campus News

UB, Stony Brook earn flagship status

Hayes Hall, UB South Campus.


Published January 5, 2022

headshot of Satish Tripathi.
“A flagship university sets the standard to which other institutions aspire, so we all have reason to take great pride in today’s announcement. ”
President Satish K. Tripathi

UB and Stony Brook University have been designated the “flagships” of SUNY by Gov. Kathy Hochul, recognizing the two institutions for their status among the nation’s leading public research universities.

The formal designation was announced today by the governor during the annual State of the State Address. The flagship status for UB and Stony Brook is part of a “vision to make SUNY the best statewide public higher education system in the nation.”

The universities in Buffalo and Long Island have long been recognized by their peers nationwide as de facto flagships of the state’s 64-campus system because of their membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), composed of America’s leading research universities. But the formal designation by the governor carries new weight statewide, nationally and internationally.

“A flagship university sets the standard to which other institutions aspire, so we all have reason to take great pride in today’s announcement,” said President Satish K. Tripathi.

“On behalf of our entire UB community I would like to thank Gov. Hochul for this significant recognition, which underscores UB’s reputation as a premier public research university, recognizing both our vital leadership in public higher education and our steadfast commitment to bringing the benefits of our research, clinical care and education to the region, state, nation and world.”

Borrowing from a naval term for a fleet’s lead ship, higher education uses flagship to describe universities that take the lead on public higher education in their state and set an example for the rest of the state’s higher education system.

Public flagships are typically research-intensive, doctoral-granting institutions and preeminent centers for research and graduate education. They also provide a comprehensive array of professional schools and degree programs, and are proven economic catalysts.

UB and Stony Brook are New York State’s only public universities in the AAU, a prestigious group of 66 leading research universities in North America. UB was invited to join in 1989.

Today, UB is home to more than 150 research centers and institutes, and its annual research expenditures total more than $422 million.

Some of UB’s large-center grants include the landmark Women’s Health Initiative, for which UB has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1993; the $21.7 million Clinical and Translational Science Award, a renewal of the NIH’s original $15 million award; and a $22.5 million Science and Technology Center Award — the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award — which is a renewal of the original $25 million grant.

UB’s cutting-edge research aligns with many of New York State’s priorities, including climate science, infectious diseases, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

With annual revenues that exceed $1.3 billion from all sources, UB and its affiliated entities generate an estimated annual economic impact of $1.7 billion. UB’s total workforce of more than 6,000 full-time equivalent employees makes it one of the region’s largest employers.

More than 2,500 scholars make up UB’s full- and part-time faculty ranks. UB’s faculty have received prestigious awards and recognition, including the Nobel Prize, the MacArthur “genius award,” the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Pulitzer Prize, the Grammy Award and election to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Academies.

As the largest and most comprehensive research university in SUNY, UB annually enrolls more than 32,000 students across 12 decanal units, offering more than 450 degree programs.

For the past four years, UB has been ranked in the top 40 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, including being ranked 38th last year. In the category of best public and private universities, UB has risen 20 spots over the past dozen years.

“As we seek to situate UB among the nation’s top 25 public research universities, this flagship designation serves to further our contributions to the SUNY system and to the economic and cultural vibrancy of the region, state and nation by, in part, enhancing our ability to attract even more federal research funding and recruit the very best faculty and students,” Tripathi said.

“Although UB has been tacitly acknowledged as a flagship of the SUNY system for many years, Gov. Hochul’s formal distinction positions us for even greater success.”


This is great news for UB. In Hochul's State of the State, she also announced $102 million for a new academic building for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This is an important piece of information left out of the report.  Her complete vision can be found here.

Yiqiang Li