JOHNSTOWN - Nancy Zimpher, the new State University of New York chancellor, made Fulton-Montgomery Community College one of her first stops on a hectic 64-college tour Tuesday.
Zimpher toured the campus, met with students and faculty and answered questions about her vision for SUNY during her trip. She said she was impressed with FMCC and its students in particular.
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't think community colleges aren't extremely important," Zimpher said. "This is an extremely caring environment. People are supportive. [FMCC] has a lot going for it."
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
From left, Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger looks on as FMCC students James Miles and Jeremy Posluszny speak with State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher during her visit to the college Tuesday.
Zimpher said she feels part of her mission as the new chancellor is to impress upon state politicians the importance of funding the SUNY system. She said doing so would create a great return on the investment.
Funding SUNY schools translates into a better educated and qualified work force, she said. Skilled workers will draw businesses to the state, she said.
"It's in the state's best interest to grow enrollment," she said.
President Dustin Swanger said he found Zimpher's perspective to be a "breath of fresh air."
"We're delighted FMCC is one of her first stops," he said.
Swanger said Zimpher's vision of SUNY as a stronger system is something he supports. He said he found Zimpher to be approachable and friendly with a great sense a humor, characteristics he said are important for a SUNY chancellor.
Board of Trustees Chairman James Landrio agreed with Swanger's observations.
"She's taken her role as chancellor seriously," he said. "It takes dedication to get to know all of the schools."
Landrio said if FMCC needs support or help, he would feel comfortable approaching Zimpher.
"I'm confident we'll be able to go to her for support," he said.
Landrio said one issue at the college is how credits from the school can be transferred to four-year colleges. Zimpher touched on that issue during her talks with school officials, Landrio said.
"It's one of our big concerns," he said. "I think [Zimpher's] common-sense approach will serve us well."
Kayleigh Karutis covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org