(WNY News Now) – During the 2023 SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a landmark five-year collaboration between the State University of New York (SUNY) and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), focusing on shared priorities such as student success, research, sustainability, and social mobility.
Puerto Rico – Governor Kathy Hochul announced a significant milestone in educational collaboration during the 2023 SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference. The State University of New York Chancellor, John B. King, Jr., and University of Puerto Rico Vice President of Academic Affairs and Research, Dr. Oreste Quesada, represented President Luis A. Ferrao Delgado in signing a five-year partnership between SUNY and UPR. This historic agreement builds upon the foundation laid in 2018 and emphasizes joint efforts in areas critical to both regions.
The collaboration encompasses a wide range of shared priorities, including student success and support, collaborative scientific research, disaster management and resilience studies, sustainability initiatives (with a focus on renewable energy), faculty and student mobility, dual diploma programs, applied and service-learning opportunities, and advanced manufacturing.
Governor Hochul expressed the significance of the partnership, stating, “This historic partnership between SUNY and the University of Puerto Rico is a testament to our shared vision for student success and civic engagement. The inextricable link between New York and Puerto Rico is grounded in the stories of young people, and today’s announcement affirms our commitment to the next generation of leaders.”
The signing ceremony included University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez, SUNY ESF President Joanie Mahoney, SUNY ESF students Eva Sideris and Isabel Valentín, as well as UPR students Angel Rodriguez and Daniel Fernández. These representatives from key institutions highlighted the inclusivity and collaborative spirit underlying the agreement.
Specifically, the campuses of University at Albany, SUNY ESF, and SUNY New Paltz are expected to explore collaboration opportunities in environmental, weather, and mental health research. This reflects the commitment to addressing critical issues facing both New York, Puerto Rico, and the wider Caribbean region.
SUNY ESF and UPR are set to collaborate on joint academic and research programs focusing on environmental justice, sustainability, and climate change. This partnership aims to create expanded opportunities for faculty, students, staff, and researchers, with a focus on promoting student success and support, disaster management and mitigation studies, and enhanced applied and service-learning opportunities.
Providing context to the collaboration, the University of Puerto Rico is highlighted as the main public university system in Puerto Rico, consisting of 11 campuses with approximately 45,000 students and 4,500 faculty members. The State University of New York, celebrating its 75th anniversary, is recognized as the largest comprehensive higher education system in the United States, serving over 1.4 million students across 64 colleges and universities. SUNY plays a crucial role in academic research in New York, with research expenditures reaching nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022.