A Letter from John Fogarty, Regional Chair of North Atlantic SCUP Regional Council

| February 11, 2019

John Fogarty

This year, the 2019 SCUP North Atlantic Regional Conference (March 10-12) is visiting Rochester, N.Y., where we will explore firsthand how college and university campuses have been the catalysts in rejuvenating and transforming failing industrial cities and communities. In the 19th century, the easy transportation offered by the Erie Canal and the railroads created a string of industrial centers stretching from Albany to Buffalo. When manufacturing declined in this country, this region was especially hard hit, and many of its cities became empty shells, with only their higher education institutions left to carry on.

The city of Rochester, with the demise of Bausch & Lomb, Eastman Kodak, and Xerox is one such city that has suffered much from industrial decay, but it is also a shining success story of renewal. Our conference host, the venerable 168-year-old University of Rochester, and its associated Medical Center, has been the rock upon which Rochester has survived, transformed, and revitalized. The university is now the largest private employer in the region and seventh largest in the state. It has positioned itself as one of the leading higher education and research institutions in the world today.

An academic brain trust of the University of Rochester, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and SUNY Polytechnic, plus other national research institutions, combined to win a multimillion dollar federal and state funding grant for a new National Institute of Photonics. A panel of senior city and regional development leaders will discuss how the city that invented photographic film in the 19th century is transforming itself into the 21st century’s center for optics, imaging, laser technology, and high-speed data transmission. The new institute is already attracting Silicon Valley companies, other start-ups, new housing, and services development to rejuvenate the city’s old industrial core.

One such example featured at the conference is Monroe Community College, which repurposed an abandoned Kodak industrial complex into a vibrant new downtown community college offering workforce training for a new generation of manufacturers.

Other upstate institutions that will be telling their own tales of transformation, innovation, and revitalization upon their surrounding communities. Binghamton University has become a catalyst for transforming and revitalizing an economically challenged community while growing its academic programs and campus. The University at Buffalo will describe how its strategic 2020 master plan provided for a new innovation district.

And on Tuesday, the conference will conclude with senior leaders from Cornell University, the University at Buffalo, SUNY Geneseo, and Monroe Community College, who will discuss how each of their institutions is addressing the educational, business, and economic needs of their respective regions.

Please come join other higher education leaders as they share their planning success stories, approaches, and strategies. We hope you will leave Rochester impressed with the positive force that upstate institutions have had on their communities. I can promise that you will leave refreshed and reinvigorated with a pocketful of good ideas that will strengthen your institution and community. For more information about SCUP and our upcoming regional conferences, please go to www.SCUP.org.


John Fogarty is director of capital planning at Stony Brook University and the regional chair of the SCUP North Atlantic Regional Council.


SCUP NA’s Featured Speakers for the 2019 Regional Conference

Vincent Esposito, executive director, Regional Economic Development Council

Alex Yudlson, chief of staff, City of Rochester Mayor’s Office

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation

Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise

Joanne DeStefano, chief financial officer, Cornell University

Stacey Robertson, provost, SUNY Geneseo

Anne Kress, president, Monroe Community College

Tonga Pham, AVP University Facilities, University at Buffalo

Bruce Bashwiner, senior AVP University Facilities & Services, University of Rochester







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