September 19, 2017

SUNY Empire State College Community Contributes to “SUNY Strong”

SUNY Maritime's training vessel, the Empire State VI, being loaded with relief supplies prior to embarking to the Gulf Coast.
SUNY Maritime's training vessel, the Empire State VI, being loaded with relief supplies prior to embarking to the Gulf Coast. Photo/SUNY Maritime College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Sept. 20, 2017) The SUNY Empire State College community has contributed to the “SUNY Strong” fund, the ongoing statewide effort to raise funds for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and for future disaster relief. The SUNY Empire college community quickly surpassed its initial goal of raising $2,500 and, to date, more than $5,000 has been contributed.

“I am never surprised but always inspired by the generosity of SUNY Empire students, faculty and staff from across the state,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “Chancellor Johnson’s leadership with SUNY Strong has leveraged the strengths of all 64 campuses to help with the immediate and ongoing needs of the victims of recent natural disasters. SUNY Empire is proud to provide help for the people who have lost homes, communities and, most tragically, loved ones, to rebuild their lives."

Last week, SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson responded to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a statewide collection for hurricane-related disaster relief by establishing SUNY Strong, which is coordinated and managed by the SUNY Impact Foundation.

“The SUNY Impact Foundation is thrilled to partner with Empire State College in providing relief and support for Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters through the SUNY Strong campaign,” said SUNY Impact Foundation Director of Strategic Development and Executive Director Christine W. Fitzgibbon. “We are grateful to President Hancock and the Empire State College Foundation for their support and dedication to amplifying the power of SUNY.”

Donations and contributions to SUNY Strong relief efforts were delivered to Florida and will be distributed to hurricane victims in partnership with relief organizations. Activated for duty by U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), SUNY Maritime’s training ship, the Empire State VI, embarked to the Gulf of Mexico last week, with food, bottled water and other supplies. The Empire State VI now is berthed at Key West, Fla., and serves as housing for first responders while it is deployed.

About SUNY Empire State College

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 average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college’s more than 80,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college 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. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at