SUNYIT in Utica and Albany's nanoscale campus now one college

Mar 20, 2014

New York's public university system is merging two of its campuses. SUNYIT in Utica and the College of Nanoscale, Science and Engineering in Albany will merge in 2015.

The merger comes after the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering broke off from the University at Albany last year. CNSE has been the darling of SUNY system since its creation in 2004. Though small, it’s attracted millions of dollars in private investment.

Starting next year, CNSE will be a combined college with SUNY’s Information and Technology campus. The five-decade old polytechnic and engineering school is undergoing its own expansion to host computer chip fabrication. It has about 3,000 students. The College of Nanoscale serves another 300.

The partnership between the two has been growing for years, said SUNYIT interim president Robert Geer.

"You’re really having two growing institutions that had been working together, partnering together for years. And it’s really a culmination. It’s a really natural step," he said after the SUNY trustees vote.

For now, the new college will be known as the SUNY Institute of Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology, but Geer says that's a working title.

The nano school’s chief, Alain Kaloyeros, will oversee the campuses, which will continue to operate from their current sites.

"What it’s going to do is provide the students of New York state with an affordable version of MIT; it will be New York’s MIT," Geer said. "And that is a technological institute focused on cutting edge science and technology, but is really open to everyone and utilizing a tremendous infrastructure across the state."

"The State University of New York is doing many things to meet the country’s desperate need for STEM - science, technology, engineering and math - education. Making this new college campus, in my opinion, monumental," said trustee Eunice Lewin.

The faculty union at SUNY, United University Professions, expressed some concern over the merger, saying the schools could lose their academic focuses.