December 20, 2017

SUNY Empire State College President Merodie A. Hancock Selected to Lead Thomas Edison State University

SUNY Empire State College Press Release

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Dec. 20, 2017) Merodie A. Hancock, the president of SUNY Empire State College since July 2013, has accepted the presidency of Thomas Edison State University of New Jersey after being unanimously elected by the institution’s Board of Trustees at a special board meeting today. She will take office on March 5, 2018.

“While I am thrilled at the opportunity to join New Jersey’s flagship institution for adult education, leaving Empire State College will be difficult for me. Working closely with the extraordinarily capable people who believe so deeply in the mission of providing access to a broad array of learners across the state has been a high point of my career. The work has been both challenging and rewarding, and would not have met with the success it has without the commitment and efforts of the good people across the college,” Hancock said. She will leave Empire State College on Friday, March 2, 2018.

At its next meeting in January, the SUNY Board of Trustees is expected to appoint an interim president, and a nationwide search will begin thereafter.

“Empire State College has been very well served by President Hancock, and is recognized as a leader in public education for students across the state of New York seeking affordable and flexible, quality degrees. She has expanded access, services and options for students, while establishing a solid financial foundation for the college,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “We are grateful for her service to SUNY, and wish her the very best as she leads Thomas Edison State University.”

Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees H. Carl McCall added his congratulations. “In 2014, I had the pleasure of joining Empire State College for the inauguration of President Hancock. She has been a valued member of the SUNY family, someone who has led our mission of academic excellence, diversity and inclusion, and student support, and has been a true champion for the nontraditional and adult students who pursue their college degree,” said McCall. “On behalf of the board of trustees, I wish Merodie the best as I congratulate her on her new role as president of Thomas Edison State University.”

Before coming to Empire State College and its 35 locations around the state of New York, Hancock previously served as vice president of Central Michigan University Global Campus University. She also held both teaching and administrative leadership positions at the University of Maryland University College and at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She holds a Ph.D. in urban services and education administration from Old Dominion University, an MBA from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Scripps College. Additionally, she has a certificate from the Institute of Educational Management from Harvard University, a certificate from the University Professional Continuing Education Association Leadership Academy at New York University, a certificate in Process Design and Implementation: Reengineering and Change Management from Michael Hammer and Company and a certificate in Nonprofit Board Leadership from the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Hancock, who will be the fourth president of Thomas Edison, replaces Dr. George A. Pruitt, who is retiring after serving as the university’s president for 35 years, one of the longest tenured public university presidents in the nation. Pruitt is widely recognized for his effectiveness as a leader and his role in helping formulate educational policy nationally and in the state of New Jersey.

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system educates nearly 18,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 30 locations across the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The college, which has more than 80,000 alumni, was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. More information about the college is available at