2018 State of the University Address

2018 State of the University Address

October 9, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


Harvey Stenger: Good afternoon. [Clapping] Last year I came out to “Mississippi Queen” by Leslie West. This year, I chose a different approach to it . . . but with a message, as well. First, quiz . . . The second passage. Anybody recognize the second passage? What book is it from? Person from the Audience: “Anne of Green Gables.” Yeah. Who said that? Anne of Green Gables. We have . . . We have a shirt for you. Audience: Laughter and Clapping. Alright. Now. Here’s the tough one. Anybody recognize that one and there’s some people who are disqualified from this. Audience: Laughter. Anyone recognize this? It’s from “House of Dreams,” written by Professor Liz Rosenberg. Our professor of English. Liz recently . . . Is Liz here? Ah. You were disqualified. Audience: Clapping. Thank you, Liz. I read all of Liz’s books and when this one came out, I immediately . . . Well . . . We know what reading means. Right? I listen to it on the radio, as I’m driving to New York and back. But, but . . . I finished this book that Liz has recently read or written . . . And, I really didn’t know who Ellen Montgomery was, when I started the book. I did not know. And, at the end of it, I said, “Oh my gosh, I now have to read, “Anne of Green Gables.” I have to at least listen to it. And, I’m about two-thirds of the way through it right now. And, I’ve learned so much from understanding who Maude Montgomery was . . . And, why she wrote “Anne of Green Gables” which is a story about her life, that perhaps she really wanted it to be. But, it wasn’t because she grew up in a very conservative home in Prince Edward Island. So, it gave you a new perspective and if you get the chance to read Liz’s book . . . you’ll find out that Maude Montgomery suffered from depression. And, died a difficult death. Even though she had a very successful writing career. But, a very difficult childhood. But, everything in Anne of Green Gables is happy and she’s always happy. And, everything is so great! So, it was this contrast. It was a different perspective that she wanted to put on her life for others. What happened to me, was I came home and said to my wife Cathy, who has been telling me for years . . . “Boy, I really want to go to Prince Edward Island. I really want to go to Prince Edward Island. I kept saying, “What is on Prince Edward Island?” Well, it’s where Anne of Green Gables is set. And, I said – “Oh, it’s Anne of Green Gables.” So, she finally now has a partner that understands, we have got to go to Prince Edward Island, as soon as we can . . . and see all of the parts of that story. And, so it’s perspective. That’s what I wanted to talk about today. It’s not always exactly what we see. There’s a perspective that can be brought by understanding what’s behind something. And, Liz has done a great job of bringing that perspective to Ellen Montgomery’s work in Anne of Green Gables. And, maybe at the end I can tie this together with why that’s important to the State of the University this year. Let me talk about growing. Growth. When I got here, there was a proposal . . . a New York SUNY2020 proposal. 2020 proposal . . . to grow. And, the plan was to grow by 20,000 students in five years. And, the plan was really something that we had adopted before I came. The East Campus Housing Project had been started and was almost completed. And, so when I came, I said “Okay”. The campus . . . the University is ready for this. We will do it . . . but we have to do it right. Because getting bigger, doesn’t mean you’re going to get better. Bigger does not mean better. Bigger, gives you more resources. And, so if you invest them properly . . . you can get better. But, it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get better. So, in 2013, I went back and looked at some of the slides where I was trying to say to people, “Hey, getting bigger can mean getting better.” And, some of the things that happen when you get bigger, if you do it right . . . And, we’ve done it in a way that I think has tried to emphasize better. For example: We have hired faculty at twice the rate, that we’ve increased enrollment. So, in the past six years, we’ve increased enrollment, by 15 percent. And, we’ve increased our full-time tenured and tenured track faculty, by 33 percent. Twice the rate of our student growth. We grew our staff at exactly the same rate as our student growth:15 percent . . . Because student’s needs are probably proportional to their population. That then, gives our faculty, more time to develop courses, more time to offer different sections of courses . . . more sections of courses. It builds their ability to balance their time between teaching and research . . . lowering the student to faculty ratio. It also allows us to build critical mass of faculty, in certain areas. And, lastly, which kind of is important to me . . . It helps the community. It really helps the community. I tell people in 2006, I came back to New York after I had been gone since 1979. And, I came back to New York State and I looked around and I said, “What the heck happened, in the last twenty some years that I had been gone?” And, I realized that the loss of the manufacturing jobs across Upstate New York . . . have really devastated our communities. And, so I Iooked at it as an opportunity . . . to use the University’s growth – getting bigger and getting better . . . in order to make our communities even stronger. So, some of the statistics – 2700 students we’ve grown. We’ve increased faculty and staff by 450. Our economic impact is $1.5 billion dollars. And, if you look at our undergraduate enrollment, we are at $13,975, which is exactly almost where we wanted to be, when I started talking about this, in 2013. 14,000 undergraduates. And, then I said something that I probably should have been very careful about . . . saying 20,000 students by 2020. But, maybe I meant 20 something. But, we had a more robust plan . . . of growing our graduate programs, then. And, we haven’t done that yet. And, that’s the challenge. That’s the opportunity that we have to continue to focus on. And, it’s not our fault. It’s hard to grow graduate programs. There’s a lot of competition, in growing graduate programs. And, the economy allows you to get a good job. You don’t have to go on for a masters degree. But it’s going to be something that’s going to be important for us, if we are going to continue to get bigger . . . and get better. And, we did it at the same time, by increasing our student quality. 1,370 average SAT, for our freshman class. U.S. News and World Report just came out and if you look at the ranking of public universities, by average SAT of the freshman class . . . We’re fifth in the country. Above us, UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Virginia and Georgia Tech, then us. And, then everybody else that you can think of. Everybody else . . . is lower than us . . . So, we have done this growth and at the same time, increased the quality of our students. We did it with the help of the state. And, I really want to thank . . . I think I saw Fred Akshar here. Senator Akshar? And, Assemblywoman Lupardo. Thank you for coming today. I really appreciate it. Audience: Clapping I can also recognize our council members; student representative Harry Bittker . . . Kate Madigan, Maureen Wilson and Dennis McCabe. Thank you for coming today. Audience: [Clapping] Oh. And, and . . . does that picture take your breath away a little bit? Where’s Jonathan Cohen? Jonathan’s back there somewhere. There’s Jonathan. Audience: [Clapping] Sunset. Sunset. Beautiful. I don’t know how you capture those Jonathan. But, we want to thank the State of New York for their support of the capital projects that have allowed us to make that growth possible. We couldn’t do it if we were in the same physical campus that we had seven years ago. And, the School of Pharmacy is key to that expansion. It allows us to get into a new community. Johnson City, which desperately needs revitalization. And, it allows us to relieve some of the pressure on the campus by moving cars and people and students and faculty . . . over into Johnson City, rather than on this campus. And, it’s a beautiful building. And, if you haven’t been through it, I’m sure that you could just go up, knock on the door. It’s probably open half the day. And, wander around and take a look at it. Some of the facilities inside of there are state-of-the art. For example: we have a Sterile Compounding Room, in there . . . which is where pharmacists learn how to make sterile preparations. Treatment preparations for patients in hospitals. And, we are pretty sure that we are the only School of Pharmacy that actually has a true Sterile Compounding Room, inside of it. We’ve also partnered with Innovation Associates, the largest manufacturer of robotic pill dispensers. in order to install state-of-the-art robotic dispensers. And, a community pharmacy, as well as a simulator: Patients, that our pharmacy students can go in and interact with . . . in a two-way conversation, as well as taking vitals and applying therapies. But, there’s more to be done in Johnson City. That one is done. We have a lot more to do actually. Probably more to do than what we have already done. This is the Endicott/Johnson Box Factory. It’s right across Willow Street from the School of Pharmacy. We’re looking from the East to the West . . . that tower in the middle and that atrium in the front doesn’t actually exist right now. Those are going to be part of the new building. The designs are completed. The bid documents are going out. We anticipate this project to be about $30 million dollars total. Money coming from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, that we won several years ago, as part of the Southern Tier. It will be able to not just have all of our School of Nursing, with upgraded facilities, including better and newer simulators; simulated patients. It will also have the space necessary to create new programs in physical therapy . . . occupational therapy, speech therapy and audiology therapy. If you were to kind of fly over that building from here, over the top of it — you would land on a grassy area, right next to the School of Pharmacy, which we’ve left empty on purpose. And, that’s where, thanks to our great support last year to the budget process, we got $15.9 million dollars . . . to build a new Research and Development Building that will help our faculty in pharmaceutical sciences . .. develop new therapeutic solutions to diseases, as well as attracting companies that could co-locate there. The building is three stories tall. It will have a second floor that is open and available to company partners . . . that could utilize the facility, alongside of our faculty and students. It also is almost done in design. Bids will go out shortly, and the project is to be completed in 2020. Both of these buildings will be done in 2020, if we stay on track, to our schedule. Along the street, along Corliss Avenue, there’s a street called Jennison Avenue. We purchased through a donor contribution of $1.2 million dollars. That was the donor contribution. 13:21. We purchased the facilities for much less than that and we’re spending money on renovating it. Where we’re going to have an Eldercare Facility, that in partnership with UHS and Lourdes can see real patients . . . that can be treated by our Doctor of Nursing practice students and faculty, as well. As we’ve been doing this, you always watch who else is going to be in your neighborhood. And, so far, probably the biggest project that’s completed is Sunrise Century apartment complex . . . which is right South of the Pharmacy School. We have over $130 million dollars in private investments that are being made right now. And, pending, is a couple of URI projects are supported; another $120 million dollars that would be pending, in the area. Huge investments! Huge investments, over a short period of time. I keep telling people and I wasn’t here before the downtown campus was built. If we improve downtown Binghamton by putting the downtown campus there, which people say we did . . . This will be three times that. Three times as many students, three times as many faculty, three times as much investment. Maybe even more than three times. So, we will see a significant improvement and expansion into Johnson City, over the next 5-10 years. And also, thanks to the State’s support, we have a brand new building for our Chemistry and Physics faculty. The Smart Energy Building, where now Chemistry and Physics are co-located . . . working in facilities that were built for research, as opposed to Science II. And Science I and Science II, which really were built for undergraduate education. And, the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, that opened in June of 2017, on Hawley, Carroll and Lisle Street. A great building, a great place for our entrepreneurs and start-up companies. It’s 90 percent occupied. It has 40 firms associated with it. Twenty of the firms are actual tenants, inside the building. The other 20 firms are participating in programs, in the Incubator, to help improve their chances of becoming a successful start-up company . What’s key to this and why we built this and why the Koffman family has been so generous to support it . . . is because we wanted it to be linked to the University’s research and graduate programs and one of the . . . several of the companies are a direct result of faculty research. But the story that I heard the other day at a forum . . . event. A company that’s in there is now the largest company in there. They’ve grown from two people who are the founders, to 24 employees already. They are called Bandelier. They service the difficult administrative functions of start-up companies. And, they do it across the entire country, from this location. So, if they are a start-up company, I don’t have somebody who does my taxes, I don’t have an HR office . . . I don’t have a marketing office. I don’t have a web design office. They do that for start-up companies. And, because they are in the start-up world, they know how to talk that conversation with those companies. So, 10 full-time employees. 14 part-time employees. All 14 part-time employees are Binghamton University students. And, neither of the co-founders have a connection to Binghamton University . . . but they wanted to be here because of the quality of our students . . . They knew would help with their business. And, Science IV renovations, if you walk around and you take a look at that, maybe you don’t remember what that used to look like, but . . . it was kind of crumbling concrete and brick. We’ve improved it. We’ve actually added some spaces; some of those open areas underneath the building have been closed in, adding more space. We have definitely improved the overall energy conservation of the building. As well as access to the building; a new elevator in there. And, spruce it up. There’s only There’s only so much you can do with critical maintenance. But, I think we’ve done a great job and if there’s anybody here from the Psychology Department . . . I know that they are happy with their new home. And, certainly because of what happened. Well, independent of what happened last year. We knew that we can always make our campus a safer place. And, a place that communications can be done more quickly. And, so we have spent a significant amount of effort over the summer. One of the things that we’ve announced is the B-Alert System is now opt-out, not opt-in. Which means if you have a cell phone in our database, it is now part of the alert system. In the past, you actually had to go in and opt into it. But, we’ve, we’ve turned that around. Students also are now opt out. And, we’ve greatly increased the number of people that we can reach instantaneously. Part of that upgrade is also to create a B-Alert or to purchase a B-alert System. This is actually a physical button next to the dispatcher, in the police office, that when a call comes in . . . You can hit a button and send out an emergency notice right away. No details, because we don’t have the details, but it can say things like, “an incidence has occurred on campus . . . please stay in place.” So, within a minute, you’ll have that information. And, then – twenty minutes later, fifteen minutes later — when we can confirm – exactly what’s happened . . . a confirmation can come out. And, then a third message that could be an all-clear sign. We’ve also added 160 security camera. Almost all in the residence halls that didn’t have security cameras. And, 60 panic buttons in offices across the campus. We’ve also increased the cell phone reception in the basements. We’ve put in repeaters and antennas in the basements of most of the buildings now. So that you can have cell phone reception there. And, because we know we can almost never meet the growing demand for mental health counselors . . . We added three additional counselors, this summer . . . Going from 10 full-time counselors, to 13 full-time counselors. Let me talk a little bit about the new faculty. So many new faculty . . . even though we’re not growing our net faculty . . . at the rate we were for five years, in the beginning, of SUNY2020. We are still adding faculty because faculty retire, faculty leave for other reasons. We actually had 61 faculty searches that were scheduled to hire a faculty member this fall. Not all were successful. Not all were completed. But, many of them were and I am just highlighting a few of them here. Melissa Sutherland whose a professor of nursing, working on global health. Chandiren Valayden, whose assistant professor of human development . . . working on examining racism and human rights in our Human Development program. Fuda Ning, who is a professor in systems science industrial engineering, who works on 3D printing. And, David Sterling Brown, system professor of English, teaching issues of race in Shakespearean literature. Great new people and many, many more. And 160 new full-time staff. Even though we have not grown our staff during that period of time. The turnover on our staff is very high . . . especially in the residence halls where an RD might come in for one or two years. And, so we’ve hired a significant number of new, full-time staff. Some of the research on the funded-side, on the STEM side . . . Our research expenditures grew over the last year, by 19.2 percent. The year before that, they were up almost 20 percent, as well. So, were at $47.5 million dollars of research expenditures in the last academic year. Also, during the ’17-’18 year, our faculty and staff wrote $224 million dollars, in proposals. And, of those proposals that were submitted, it was a high success rate – 57.6 of them have been funded and are now what we call committed funds. It’s almost 1 in 4. That’s a great ratio in terms of a proposal productivity. And, our new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has hit the ground running . . . with only about a 1/2 dozen faculty doing research. The rest of the faculty are doing clinical educational roles. But, they have also received $3.3 million dollars of research funding in the first two years. A couple of big projects Kaiming Ye won a big project in partnership with John Hopkins . . . with a National Institute of Standards program, looking at advances in biofabrication. Kaiming is the guy that talks about printing new internal organs for humans and so . . . the research that he’s working on there has a great boost from this. And, $5 million dollars will be coming to the University. It’s a much larger grant that’s going to John Hopkins. And, then Louis Piper and Wang Chan Lee have a $22 million dollar Department of Defense project, with Georgia Tech . . . to look at again, biological systems in computing. Biological systems in computing. What an interesting idea. And, that’s the large grant again, from the Department of Defense, in this case . . . But going through another partner, and that being Georgia Tech. Our portion of it is $2 million dollars. And, then you know, when you get those newsfeeds, in your e-mail box everyday and a new book comes out . . . or a new article gets published, and it starts getting picked up on the newswires or it’s sited in the Wall Street Journal. And, you click on it and you go, some of this stuff is really cool. And, you really love to read it. Certainly, I think by now everybody has heard about Anne Bailey’s book on the “Weeping Time.” It’s about the largest slave auction in American history. It’s receiving international acclaim for her work that took her a long time to gather the information necessary to put together that very accurate story. And, Lina Begdache. Lina whose working on the connection between diet and emotional well-being. Certainly an important part of our lives with young students around here . . . Not eating well and struggling emotionally, sometimes. How do we coach our students to be better? Better, healthier eaters. And, at the same time improving their mental health? And, then some of the kind of cool stuff that comes out of the School of Management. Scott Bentley, looking at the pay impact: The CEO pay, impacts on employee layoffs. And, I won’t tell you the punch line. You can, like guess. Or, Chou-Yu Tsai, who’s looking at “compassionate” leadership styles . . . that increases worker productivity. Isn’t that a nice thing? Compassion actually makes you work better. And, I . . . maybe I haven’t given enough accolades yet to Liz . . . But Liz’s new book, which you can find on Amazon . . . is a great story that I encourage you to read. And, then also, the 700th Birthday of Mishpacha. Anybody here from CEMERS? A great book put together by all of the presentations that were given at the Pacachia Conference. I think it was three years ago. Has now come out University of Toronto Press Publication. TAE’s: Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence. We talk a lot about this and there’s always been this fear that the TAE; we are going to get TAE’ed. We’re going to get consumed by TAE’s. And, there will be nothing left of the original department structure in Universities. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The TAE’s are a way to enhance the department structures. And, if you look at, how many faculty right now are participating . . . Voluntarily participating, in TAE’s . . . It’s 180 out of our 650 full-time tenured track faculty . . . So, it’s not a huge percentage. It’s not even a majority of our faculty. And again, they are all voluntarily participating in those TAE’s. We have hired 96 TAE faculty. Now you say, okay – it seems like a lot. How many faculty have we actually hired in those six years? More than 300 faculty. We’ve grown by 150, but we’ve actually hired more than 300 faculty . . . Of which about 1/3 are related to TAE areas. We ask TAE faculty to self-report some of the results of their interactions with their TAE groups. And, about $17 million dollars in external And, about $17 million dollars in external funding has been designated by our faculty involved in TAE’s . . . as being a result of some of their interactions in a TAE. And, we’ve given out $950,000 dollars in seed grants . . . to get people ready to submit proposals and those proposals have yielded $4 million dollars, in external funding . . . Or, 4:1k back. We have a new TAE. It was a process of a long, probably 12-month process of evaluating TAE proposals. And, we selected data science . . . as our sixth and probably final for now, TAE. I’m going to talk a little bit about the data science initiative that’s part of our renewal . . . And, connect it to TAE’s, in a bit. We have a great opportunity. We have a sense of urgency at our door right now. I talked to people about the fact that we have not had a raise for our faculty and staff . . . For almost five years. We’ve gone at zeros. And, then we went without a contract for two years. Finally, thank you Sean. Thank you, UUP. I’m sure you were helpful along the way. But, getting the UUP Contract signed with healthy; we believe healthy strong components . . . certainly around salary and benefits, is going to help us retain and attract new faculty, in the future. Well, all isn’t rosy, right? It’s not like the state gave us the money to give the raises. So, our job now is to find the money to give those raises. But, that’s an opportunity. Because that means, we need to work a little bit harder, in order to generate some of this revenue. The cost to the campus and Michael McGoff is here. He is the keeper of all the numbers. The cost to the campus is $10 million dollars, right now. We need to pay $10 million dollars to catch up for the two years that we did not give raises. So, you’ll be getting increases in this year and increases in next year’s salaries . . . in order to pay the two years that we did not get raises, but now the contract gives us retroactive 2 percent raises. And, after this year . . . we need a $4 million dollar per year increase . . . in our revenues in order to sustain the current faculty and staff, that we have. Not hiring anybody new. Just $4 million dollars a year, in order to Just $4 million dollars a year, in order to maintain everybody, to give them those 2 percent and slightly higher raises, in the out-years of the contract. Well. We have saved some money. I got here after the Downtown Center flooded. And, as you know, the Downtown Center was a disaster. And, we had luckily, a great fiscal practice of maintaining a healthy balance, in our reserves. And, we were able to renovate the Downtown Center, using our own cash of more than $5 1/2 million dollars . . . to get the CCPA faculty back into their building. It’s kind of what you use money for — right? The rainy day. Literally, the rainy day. So, we have reserves and the decision was, let’s pay off the two years, with our reserves. How many reserves do we have? I don’t like to guess, but these are called IFR balances. If you look at everybody’s IFR balance, across the entire University, Well. We don’t have access to them . . . And, they’re departments and faculty members and different people. It’s $150 million dollars, in reserves that people have held. Centrally, under control – about $50 million dollars. So, we’re not spending the bank. We’re not emptying the piggy bank, but we are going to use $10 million dollars of those reserves, in order to catch up, the first two years of the contract. But then, we’re on our own. Then we’re on our own. Then we’ve got to find the $4 million dollars a year. And, that means well, how do you get more revenue? You could have more students. That doesn’t always make us happy, because that lowers the student (or raises the student:faculty ratio). We could have students at different tuition rates. We could have more out-of-state students, then in-state students. But, we always worry about quality. We worry about the New York State mission. We can have graduate students. Graduate students pay a higher tuition rate than undergraduate students. And, graduate students are good. Remember, that’s where we’re kind of short in enrollment. That’s where we want to be. We want to be a bigger university that creates Masters Programs and PhD programs . . . that get people careers after they leave Binghamton. So, that’s a big opportunity. And, certainly international students, is a big opportunity, especially at the Graduate level. So, we know how to do it. We know how to do it. We know how we can find $4 million dollars a year. Right now, we get about $150-$160 million dollars a year in tuition, from our students. To find $4 million dollars a year in new revenue doesn’t sound like a hard task to me. But, we have to work harder. Alternatively, we could lower our costs by $4 million dollars a year. Right? That’s kind of the chicken way out though. You know, that’s, that’s, that’s not the way Maude would want Ann to approach the problem. We’re going to grow our way out of it. We’re going to make our way out of this. We’re not going to cut our way back, into this problem. And, we have University initiatives. Remember, last year at this State-of-the-University, I talked about four University initiatives that we were going to launch. We formed some committees, they came up with great plans and ideas. Business plans. Financial plans for each one of them and we’re launching them. Again, we’re not going to sit back and wait for Albany to send us some money in order to solve this problem. We’re going to move forward on these ideas. The Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowships. This is to bring a more diverse faculty to the campus. We’ve hired our first two this year. One in Anthropology and one in Pharmaceutical Sciences. And, we anticipate to hire two or three each year, for the next several years. And, there are two-year appointments with a third year, optional. The Data Science initiative. Well, now we have a TAE initiative around data science. So, we have a process for hiring faculty, through the TAE hiring process . . . that can add expertise, especially in areas where data science isn’t being used: The Social Sciences and Humanities . . . would certainly be two areas. We’re going to authorize expenditures for equipment, for the data science initiative. And our new CIO, Niyazi Bodur and our Vice President for Research, Bagat Sammakia . . . will be working together to decide where and what kind of computational equipment we need to purchase and where we would locating that. The Health Sciences Campus was also one of our renewal projects. Oh. For those of you who are new; we have a process here that when we try to come up with new ideas . . . We do not sit in a small room, with a few people. This had over 300 volunteers, that worked for an entire semester to come up with these ideas. Then there was a voting and a ranking process that we went through. These came through a process that was very inclusive and I think were selected for the right reasons. Because people would be behind them if we chose them. The Health Sciences Campus, certainly the construction of the new Nursing Building. The R&D Building and some other opportunities along Corliss Avenue, is going to help our Health Sciences Campus. And, we’ve also been submitting new proposals for programs: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. Then, the fourth one was improving our Health Sciences Core Research Facilities; specifically a big one was we do not have an FMRI . . . a full-body FMRI, that can do scans, that can look at specifically brain functions for our psychology faculty. And, that is an area that we are lacking in. And, what we did, what we came up with is a solution to this is actually to partner with our local health providers, so that we all can win. So, that the community can win, perhaps getting a new MRI, that’s a better MRI, than our community has right now. But, one that can be shared, between the hospitals, as well as the faculty on campus. They are all going to take a small amount of investments. But they all have business plans, that recover those investments over a reasonable four, five, six-year timeframe. And, they will make us better, as we get bigger. And, (shhh!) we’re in the silent phase of the campaign. You know, these campaigns that universities run, they are seven years long and the first two years, you’re not supposed to talk about it. As if, you’ll be able to raise more money because it’s secret. I never really understood that. You’ve got to tell people you’re in a campaign and then they’ll feel a sense of urgency and they’ll give you more. Well. We have set a goal of $150 million dollars. We actually had a consultant who came in and assessed where we were. And, that’s a lot of money for us because when I got here, we were raising about $5 million dollars a year. That would take a long time to raise $150 dollars a year. But, over the past several years, by adding some development staff and by increasing our involvement and engagement with our alumni . . . We’re now raising around $13 million dollars a year. In fact, we had a very high year in ’16/’17. We raised almost $17 million dollars. That gives us a feeling that we can reach $150 million dollars. We’ve already counted $32 million dollars, towards the goal of $150 million dollars. And, we have some great prospects that could make us get there, perhaps even ahead of the 7-year timeframe. And, rankings. Why not end on rankings? You know, we struggle looking at these rankings because there’s the big factor in U.S. News and World Report: is your reputation . . . as measured by other university Presidents. Other university presidents can’t even spell Binghamton. We don’t have a football team on television every Saturday afternoon. So, we are not a household term, in university presidents across the country. But, we moved up this year from 87th to 80th. In “Public Universities” from 37th to 32nd. Big moves because U.S. News and World Report finally listened to some people, lowered the emphasis on those peer reputational scores . . . and increased the emphasis on creating a new emphasis on social mobility. But, they now actually calculate the percentage of students who are Pell eligible . . . And, their graduation rate in six years and that now is a factor, in your U.S. News and World Report ranking. That was one of the reasons; one of the biggest reasons why we jumped from 87th to 80. So, what did the book have to do with this State of the University Address? I keep trying to think, “Well, how do I explain this?” So, I went to the TedX talks last year. People here probably went to TedX last year. The student speaker last year at TedX, talked about the 1/2 glass; the glass 1/2 full or the glass 1/2 empty. And, we all think the optimist says that the glass is half full. He said, “No”. If your life is the part that’s empty; think of all the opportunities that you have to fill, that glass. The half empty part is the exciting part. The challenge of finding the right things you are going to put in the empty part of your life or the empty part of that glass . . . That’s the exciting thing. The stuff in the glass already; you know what you’ve got. You’ve got that. And, so again – kind of back to perspective. If we think the perspective is, “Ah, you know, we have this financial problem we’ve got to solve.” It’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to look at that part of the glass that’s 1/2 empty. And, then decide how we want to fill it. And, again, I’m still struggling, but Liz, you and I will have a therapy session later on and try to figure out how this really did connect to Ella Montgomery. Thank you. Audience: Clapping And, we don’t have time today to have questions, but I’m going to hang around for a little while. I’ve got to be in Albany for a meeting tomorrow morning, so I’m getting in my car. But, if you want to chat with me, stick around or if you want to send me an e-mail [email protected] Thank you very much. Audience: Clapping.