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GUEST COLUMN: SUNY Polytechnic Institute poised to become premier public polytechnic

Posted 1/24/23

As we embark on a new semester, I want to share my excitement about the future of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

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GUEST COLUMN: SUNY Polytechnic Institute poised to become premier public polytechnic


MARCY — As we embark on a new semester, I want to share my excitement about the future of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, especially given this institution’s plans to evolve to become New York State’s—and the nation’s— “premier public polytechnic.”

Since it began as Upper Division College at Herkimer/Rome/Utica in 1966, SUNY Poly has grown to offer in-demand, hands-on educational student opportunities.

Over the last decade, we have doubled down on our leadership in multidisciplinary, experiential learning.

We prepare students for the high-tech jobs that are increasing in the region, cultivating their abilities to be versatile, life-long learners and members of our community.

This is especially important given the growth of chip facilities led by Wolfspeed and, soon, Micron.

SUNY Poly continues to evolve, and I want to make it clear that SUNY Poly is, and will remain, part of the Mohawk Valley’s DNA.

Our institution currently consists of five colleges (four in Utica-Rome, one in Albany). SUNY Poly’s four colleges at our Utica campus, the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Engineering, and College of Health Sciences, remain focused on providing an unmatched education.

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which has always been located in Albany across from the University at Albany, will be transferred to UAlbany once a plan is final toward the end of the year. This change is administrative; there are no buildings, labs, or jobs moving from our Marcy campus to Albany.

We see this inflection point as a tremendous opportunity.

My team and I are working closely with our local elected officials, industry and community partners, and our colleagues at SUNY system and New York State government to develop a robust strategic plan strengthening the future of SUNY Poly in Utica-Rome.

In doing so, SUNY Poly will grow our programs while bolstering our position as a destination for economic and workforce development.

While SUNY Poly further builds on our strengths, we will continue to offer an incredible value to students, with affordable tuition and more than 45 world-class academic programs—many of them in high-demand STEM fields that we designed to meet the needs of regional employers.

We can be proud of our international brand and advanced academic and research programs, as well as our growing student body: for the fall 2022 semester, our first-year student enrollment increased 25% compared to last year.

Our growth mindset seeks to facilitate student opportunities for years to come.

In fact, Wolfspeed recently announced a $250,000 gift to SUNY Poly to enable curricular expansion in a number of high-tech areas, with the development of certificates or micro-credentials for each that students will receive upon completion.

This is in addition to Wolfspeed’s earlier commitment to fund a $2,000,000 scholarship program for SUNY Poly students who pursue a career in the semiconductor industry.

It’s no wonder 19 SUNY Poly alumni already work at Wolfspeed—along with thousands more alumni who sustain the competitiveness of our local businesses, the services of our area healthcare providers, and more.

Our SUNY Poly Foundation also recently received gifts of over $2 million from the Francis A. Wilcox Trust. We are grateful these gifts will be used to purchase new, state-of-the-art equipment and assist with renovations to the existing physics lab, to be known as the Francis A. Wilcox Physics Lab, while supporting undergraduate student scholarships and the renovation of four electrical and computer engineering/engineering technology laboratories. 

We hope you will join us and share the good news that SUNY Poly is poised to become the premier public polytechnic. We look forward to working with local, regional, and state leaders, our industrial, academic, and governmental partners, and you. Together, we can chart a course that builds prosperity and provides opportunities for our next generation to thrive, right here in the Mohawk Valley.

Andrew Russell, Ph. D., is currently the officer-in-charge at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He has previously served as SUNY Poly’s dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.


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