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SUNY appoints Malatras as the next SUNY Chancellor, succeeding Johnson

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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The SUNY board of trustees has appointed Jim Malatras as the 14th Chancellor of the State University of New York, effective Aug. 31. Malatras will succeed Kristina Johnson as the system’s top official. Johnson is moving on to become president of Ohio State University. (Photo credit: SUNY Facebook page)

ALBANY, N.Y. — The State University of New York (SUNY) board of trustees on Friday announced the appointment of Jim Malatras as the 14th chancellor of the SUNY system.

The appointment is effective Aug. 31, SUNY said in a Friday news release.

Malatras — the first SUNY graduate to become the system’s chancellor — has been serving as president of SUNY Empire State College. In recent months, he’s also been seen with Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his COVID-19 television briefings, acting as an advisor to Cuomo through the process.

Malatras succeeds Kristina Johnson, who is set to become the next president of Ohio State University. He brings to the role his “decades of experience solving complex fiscal, operational, and societal issues at the highest levels of government and academia,” SUNY contended.

“Higher education is facing a critical moment in our history amplified by a pandemic that has nearly paralyzed our nation, and now, more than ever, we need a visionary leader and one with deep financial and operational expertise to face our challenges head on and that is exactly what we have with Dr. Malatras,” SUNY Chairman Dr. Merryl Tisch and SUNY Vice Chairman Cesar Perales said in the release. “With his proven experience, deep connection with our campuses as a SUNY graduate, and a strong relationship with Gov. Cuomo and the legislature, Dr. Malatras is ready and well positioned to tackle a wide range of issues impacting our campuses now…”

As president of SUNY Empire State College, Malatras has also led New York State’s new Reimagine Education Advisory Council to assist K-12 schools and colleges adopt technological and other innovations to reopen safely in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUNY campuses are currently reopening with a mix of in-person and remote classes resuming this month.

The appointment also marks the return of Malatras to SUNY system administration. As vice chancellor and chief of staff, Malatras served as COO and a senior advisor to Chancellor Emeritus Nancy Zimpher during her tenure, SUNY said. Malatras served as chief of staff for Zimpher from July 2013 to August 2014.

“It is an incredible honor to lead the largest comprehensive system of public higher education as the next chancellor of the State University of New York,” Malatras said. “I am a proud product of the SUNY system, having earned my undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees from SUNY institutions. 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. Job one is our students who drive and inspire everything we do.”

Malatras has asked the board of trustees for a 25 percent pay cut and will receive a salary of $450,000 and a $60,000 housing allowance. He has asked that the additional $170,000 that he is not paid be directed every year to the SUNY Educational Opportunity Program for “underrepresented” students and PRODiG program to increase faculty diversity across SUNY campuses, per the release.

 

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