President Harvey Stenger discusses Binghamton University's NYSUNY2020 presentation after returning from Albany on April 25.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Binghamton University presents its NYSUNY 2020 plan to governor, legislative leadersTweet
Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, along with high-profile Southern Tier business and community leaders, presented an in-depth plan today to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and leaders of the New York State Legislature that would increase student access to the University while bolstering the region’s economy and enhancing renewable energy research in New York state.
The presentation and plan received a positive reaction from both Cuomo and Zimpher. Calling it “truly very impressive and well thought out,” Cuomo said, “The leverage that you bring in the plan, I think, is extraordinary—the work you’ve done to identify the private-sector jobs, which to me this is all about, and that you are also in the right area, the growth area.
“This is the challenge for the state, this marriage of our best academic institutions creating products that we can commercialize, and that synapse is what we have to develop. That’s the spot that we’re working on and I think this goes right to that. Well done.”
“I think what was most interesting was that there were no questions—only compliments,” said Stenger. “As they went around the room, (legislators and the lieutenant governor) said positive things. None of them asked any questions. That made me feel good. There wasn’t anything we left out that they needed clarification about.”
NYSUNY 2020 demonstrates what partnerships can do, said Zimpher.
“This plan strikes at a chord that this is really focused on the Southern Tier,” she said. “A great university will be known by its national and international reputation, but the heart of it is what the university can do for its community, its region and its state. This is a very proud moment for the State University of New York at Binghamton.”
Stenger was joined at the presentation by Randall Edouard, director of Binghamton’s Educational Opportunity Program; Bahgat Sammakia, interim vice president for research; Diana Bendz, retired IBM executive and president of the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition (STOC); and James J. McNamara, president and CEO of Endicott Interconnect Technologies.
The plan they presented is the University’s application for Gov. Cuomo’s NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant, an initiative designed to make the State University of New York a leading catalyst for job growth in New York state, while strengthening the academic and research programs at SUNY’s four University Centers: Stony Brook, Buffalo, Albany and Binghamton. The initial phase of the program awards a $35 million capital construction challenge grant to each center upon approval of a detailed, long-term economic development and academic enrichment plan.
The Binghamton Plan rests on two objectives: construction of a $70 million, state-of-the-art Smart Energy Research and Development Facility and the addition of 2,000 students, 150 faculty and 175 professional and support staff to develop new and strengthen existing academic programs.
Stenger called the plan “the capstone” of 10 years of effort to increase campus research facilities and create an infrastructure for them. “The Smart Energy building will support innovative research that will generate new partnerships with business,” Stenger said. “Combined with 2,000 additional students and nearly 400 faculty and staff, the plan will significantly boost the region’s economy, providing both short- and long-term benefits.”
The plan will allow Binghamton to improve its student:faculty ratio from 21:1 to 19:1 and provide students with effective academic and research support. “Students will get better and faster feedback from their professors, a more thorough understanding of subject matter and better preparation for their careers,” Stenger added.
The Smart Energy Research and Development Facility, to be constructed at the Innovative Technologies Complex, will house research programs that build upon Binghamton’s existing strengths in four key areas of alternative energy research:
• Solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting
• Energy storage
• Energy efficiency in electronic systems
• Sensor development for energy resource management
“This critical research will help New York remain a leader in cost-effective, renewable energy production,” Sammakia said. “The investment represented in The Binghamton Plan will open opportunities for growth in this critical discipline and allow us to reduce dependency on foreign energy sources. We estimate that Binghamton’s research in the energy arena will increase by 20 to 30 percent in the first five years after the facility’s completion.”
Binghamton will also commit $700,000 of the additional tuition revenue it receives to ensure affordability for TAP-eligible undergraduates, and an additional $900,000 to graduate student support programs, supplemental scholarships for undergraduate students and expanded support for the Educational Opportunity Program. “Over the next five years, we will assign over $12 million – 25 percent of all revenues from the enacted rational tuition plan – to support student access,” said Stenger.
Partnerships and industry collaborations will also play a key role in the plan. The University’s growing collaborations have been “the catalyst to reinvent and expand the technology focus of the Southern Tier,” said Bendz. “The addition of the Smart Energy Building is essential to add even more important and pertinent research to support our future economic prosperity.”
Calling the EI partnership with Binghamton University “critical to the success of our company,” McNamara said he is “fully confident that the Binghamton Plan will significantly strengthen the partnerships that exist between industries and Binghamton University. This is a very forward-looking plan that will create jobs and brighten the future for the Southern Tier.”
Under the plan, it’s estimated that Binghamton University’s economic impact on the region will increase $77.5 million annually. This will include the possible creation of more than 840 new jobs in the region in the next five years. The University’s overall annual economic impact on New York state will reach $1 billion by 2017.
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