The State University of New York Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Dr. Jim Malatras as the 14th chancellor of SUNY, the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States. Dr. Malatras brings decades of experience with complex fiscal, operational, and societal issues at the highest levels of government and academia.
Dr. Malatras, the first SUNY graduate to become chancellor, emphasized his determination to confront the serious issues spurred by the COVID-19 crisis, while strengthening the SUNY commitment to affordability and increased access for the state’s most underrepresented populations. Dr. Malatras will take up the task of restoring enrollment levels, while building on SUNY’s world-class and nationally ranked reputation.
“I look forward to working with Chancellor Malatras,” said FIT President Joyce F. Brown. “With his wide range of expertise, his long experience in state government and focus on solutions, he is an excellent choice to navigate the fiscal and societal challenges we all face. Moreover, he is a longtime member of the SUNY family, deeply committed to its people and its mission, and I believe that the university will thrive under his leadership.”
SUNY Chairman Merryl H. Tisch and Vice Chairman Cesar Perales praised Dr. Malatras as a visionary leader with deep financial and operational expertise, right for this “critical moment” for higher education. Amid severe fiscal challenges, a worldwide pandemic, and deep racial justice and societal issues, the appointment avoids a long and costly search process.
Chairman Emeritus H. Carl McCall said, “Jim Malatras has been delivering for New Yorkers for a long time, and at some of our biggest moments. By donating a portion of his salary to create opportunities for underrepresented students and to increase faculty diversity, Dr. Malatras is making an immediate and pivotal statement about SUNY’s continued commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campuses.”
“I believe in the power of public education to unlock the doors of opportunity and will work tirelessly to make it accessible to all who seek it,” said Dr. Malatras, who holds undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees from SUNY institutions. He voiced his commitment to students and to working with the “brightest and most dedicated educators in the country” to reinforce the “collaborative, imaginative, and unified SUNY system.”
The appointment marks the return of Dr. Malatras to SUNY System Administration. As vice chancellor and chief of staff, he was chief operating officer and a senior advisor to then-Chancellor Emeritus Nancy L. Zimpher, as SUNY rebounded from the 2008-09 financial crisis. He helped oversee a cost-reduction strategy to return $100 million in administrative costs to academic programming and student services.
Dr. Malatras previously served as SUNY Empire State College president, heading the university’s lead campus in innovative individualized learning with an emphasis on distance learning while expanding student access through pioneering partnerships with SUNY community colleges, the private sector, and labor. Dr. Malatras also directed the college’s inclusivity efforts, leading to the establishment of the Center for Autism Inclusivity, the Shirley Chisholm Center for Equity Studies, and the Empire Opportunity Program, the first-of-its-kind statewide program offering financial aid and specialized academic support for students from historically underserved backgrounds.
Dr. Malatras also led New York State’s new Reimagine Education Advisory Council to assist K-12 schools and colleges in adopting technological and other innovations to reopen safely in the COVID-19 pandemic. SUNY campuses are currently reopening with in-person and remote classes.
Dr. Malatras, who will receive a salary of $450,000 and a $60,000 housing allowance, is taking a 25 percent pay cut, directing that the additional $170,000 be directed every year to the SUNY Educational Opportunity Program for underrepresented students and PRODiG program to increase faculty diversity across SUNY campuses. His appointment as chancellor is effective August 31, 2020.