Empire State University is one of 64 institutions in the State University of New York system. The SUNY system comprises 13 doctoral degree-granting institutions, 13 comprehensive colleges, eight specialized colleges and 30 community colleges. SUNY Empire is one of the 13 comprehensive colleges.
President Lisa Vollendorf, Ph.D., reports to the chancellor of the university system, John B. King Jr., who reports to the SUNY Board of Trustees.
SUNY Empire also has an external University Council appointed by the governor of New York state and chaired by John Maggiore. The council provides wide-ranging advice to the officer in charge, and, in case of a vacancy, provides recommendations for the university presidency.
SUNY Empire is organized into eight operational divisions: the Office of the President, academic affairs, operations, finance, enrollment management, human resources, advancement and communications and government relations. Each division is led by a senior leader who reports to the president of the university, or officer in charge.