The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany and the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica are looking to merge in 2015.
A State University of New York Board of Trustees committee voted in favor of a “master plan amendment” to SUNYIT on Tuesday. The resolution establishes an equal merger between the two schools.
Robert Geer, acting president of SUNYIT, said discussions have been ongoing for months about a potential merger. But he stressed it’s up to the full SUNY board to approve the final plan Wednesday.
“The partnership that exists has matured rapidly over the last 10 months or so, and it has been fantastic for not only CNSE but we are seeing the impact here at SUNYIT,” said Geer, who is also vice president for academic affairs at the nanocollege. “It is a dramatic benefit for the Mohawk Valley. Moving that partnership forward is a positive thing.”
The board unanimously voted on a resolution to combine the schools by next year. SUNY trustees will vote on the merger during the board's meeting Wednesday. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said she supports the plan.
SUNY is looking to complete the merger by January 1, 2015. Combining the two schools would build SUNYIT’s nanotechnology programs in Utica. SUNYIT will be renamed as the SUNY Institute of Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology, or SUNY INSET.
“The combination of partnerships between SUNYIT and CNSE should become the affordable education — MIT of New York,” nanocollege CEO Alain Kaloyeros said during the meeting. Kaloyeros will be named as chief executive of the combined institutions.
This comes following the board’s approval in July to split the nanocollege from the University at Albany. As the nanocollege pushed away from its parent, the school’s relationship with SUNYIT has grown.
All registered nanotechnology programs, such as in Nanoscale Science and Nanoscale Engineering, will be transferred from UAlbany to SUNYIT. The administrative authority of CNSE's land, facilities and equipment will also be transferred from UAlbany to SUNYIT.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Kaloyeros spearheaded the development of a $125 million computer chip commercialization center at SUNYIT, which is expected to be up and running by the end of this year.
Six technology companies, including IBM and Tokyo Electron, invested $1.5 billion to partner on research and development at the center. The initiative is expected to create more than 1,000 high-tech jobs.
Kaloyeros touted the hub as an academic mission that supports both CNSE and SUNYIT. Faculty and students would have the opportunity to work with the companies on research and development.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, said he sent a letter to SUNY expressing support for a possible merger. He said it would “go a long way” to further boost economic development in the area.
“This is an idea I support, which will further strengthen the partnership between CNSE and SUNYIT,” Brindisi said. “I think the reason they are doing this is so SUNYIT can expand courses that they are offering with more Ph.D. programs and build a strong faculty here to work on the ‘Nano Utica’ project.”