Carl Hayden of Elmira, who is leaving the State University of New York Board of Trustees, said he delivered his resignation letter in person to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office today. Hayden was appointed chairman of the board Oct. 22, 2007. He served in that position until Oct. 17, 2011. Cuomo designated H. Carl McCall of New York City, former state comptroller, as SUNY trustees chairman.
Hayden said his resignation is effective Dec. 31.
Hayden, a lawyer, previously served on the state Board of Regents for 12 years, including as Regents chancellor from March 1995 through March 2002. He is a former president of the Elmira Board of Education. On the Board of Trustees, he led the search committee that recommended hiring SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, and he presided over the 64-campus system during a period of unprecedented cuts in state aid due to the poor economy. He wrote in his letter that SUNY has maintained its commitment to quality and access and has a bright future under Zimpher and McCall’s leadership.
This is a joint statement from Zimpher and McCall:
“As chairman of the Board for four years, Carl Hayden served the State University of New York with the highest level of distinction and a commendable vision for how SUNY could best serve its students and faculty, alumni and friends, local communities, and all of New York State.
“Carl Hayden’s leadership came during some of SUNY’s most challenging financial times and provided the system with a clear path for a better way forward.
“His dedicated engagement with all of SUNY’s stakeholders and his outstanding ability to inspire and to build broad consensus among them contributed to SUNY’s various and numerous achievements over the last four years.
“On behalf of the presidents, faculty, staff, and students across the SUNY system, we commend Carl Hayden on an incredible career and thank him for his tireless advocacy and visionary leadership.”
Hayden said he would not be commenting beyond his resignation letter, which follows.
December 6, 2011
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
State of New York
Dear Governor Cuomo:
Since 2007, I have been privileged to serve the people of our state as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York. Serving in this capacity has been one of the great honors and responsibilities of my life. Today, I submit my resignation as trustee effective December 31, 2011.
Most observers would agree that the last four years have been, for SUNY, the most tumultuous since its founding. A severe economic contraction produced unprecedented cuts in state support, calling into question whether SUNY could remain true to its public purpose of providing a high quality education for all New Yorkers, and particularly those of limited means. SUNY’s presidents, faculty and students responded by rethinking nearly every aspect of the traditional educational experience. I am proud to tell you that through all the triage SUNY succeeded in maintaining both quality and access.
SUNY’s future is bright. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher is the most dynamic leader in American public higher education. The partnership you have struck with her has been transformative. Thanks directly to that collaboration, the seminal question of who owns tuition has been resolved in favor of our students. And New York will at long last leverage SUNY’s intellectual capital as a strategic asset in the urgent work of revitalizing our economy. After a generation of disinvestment, SUNY has finally found a champion.
SUNY’s Board of Trustees is immensely talented. It thinks strategically and acts collaboratively. Chairman H. Carl McCall is a seasoned, distinguished, adept leader. I depart now, not out of any sense of unhappiness or disappointment, but because my personal experience convinces me that it is rarely a good idea for a former chair to hang around. This board is in good hands and you will soon make appointments that will make it even stronger.
It has been my privilege to serve. New York has a great public university. With your help, it will be greater still.
Carl T. Hayden
Hon. Sheldon Silver
Hon. Dean Skelos
Hon. H. Carl McCall