College President: SUNY Oswego Powers Economy of County, Region

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley provided numbers to illustrate the past, talked about the vibrancy of the present and looked to a construction-filled future to help explain how the college generates jobs, research, culture and volunteerism to the benefit of a seven-county area, in a report to the community March 25.

Stanley’s report to business and community leaders at the Campus Center included the facts — like the college’s $345 million in economic impact in Central New York — from the detailed study of 2008-09 revenue and spending titled “Prospering Together.”

But she used the occasion to point to tomorrow’s promise, as well, including the estimated 400 construction jobs the campus’s 233,000-square-foot science complex will support, starting with groundbreaking this spring.

“We are thrilled to provide that economic development, to provide jobs for our community,” Stanley said.

In an era when no one takes employment for granted, the report showed that the college provided 1,754 full-time-equivalent jobs directly — making it the largest employer in Oswego County — and spun off 5,306 more for Oswego and the neighboring counties of Onondaga, Cayuga, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison and Oneida.

“I think it’s important to note there are many, many more people behind those numbers,” Stanley said. For example, the report found the college provided employment — full- and part-time — to 4,115 individuals, including students.

The college’s primary mission, the president said, is equipping its students — of all ages – to provide the human, intellectual and cultural capital that society needs to move forward.

“But along the way, we build a great big enterprise,” Stanley told the community leaders.

Among the study’s findings:

– Each $1 million of the $158.4 million in direct college spending regionwide in 2008-09 led to creation of 33.5 jobs in Oswego and neighboring counties.

– College and related payrolls totaled $98.3 million, including fringe benefits and payments to student workers. The report estimates direct spending by SUNY Oswego, its employees, visitors, retirees, students and affiliated agencies at $136.9 million in Oswego County and an additional $50 million in the neighboring counties.

– Internships — 1,790 of them through the college — created a substantial workforce supplement, as did students, faculty and staff’s 158,000 hours of community service locally, around the Central New York region and throughout the state.

– The college’s revenues totaled $214.2 million, with matching expenditures. Capital projects totaled $55 million in 2008-09, the largest piece of the expenditure pie.

Construction will begin soon on the complex for the sciences and engineering that will encompass Piez Hall and replace Snygg Hall. It will cost an estimated $110 million, though Stanley that acknowledged the figure would edge up as plans unfold.

The report goes well beyond numbers and dollars to talk about the educational capital the college generates, and how that has impact on the region and the state:

– Extended learning initiatives like SUNY Oswego Metro Center, Phoenix Center and the many training programs and forums — like Leadership Oswego County of the Office of Business and Community Relations

– The 46,000 (of 71,000) alumni who live and work in New York

– Public-private partnerships like Project SMART, which improves teaching in public schools

– The college’s environmental sustainability initiatives, which include the Environmental Research Center, the Center for Energy Education and Economic Solutions, an upcoming Sustainability Fair and more

“We are proud to play a leading part in the Central Upstate community and look forward to increasing cooperative efforts that will further spur our region’s development and prosperity,” Stanley said.

Those opportunities would multiply, she said, with passage of the proposed state Public Higher Education Empower and Innovation Act. Stanley pledged that SUNY presidents would work tirelessly to support needed changes to the processes for setting tuition, building SUNY/private partnerships and approving expenditures.