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A close examination of the history, accomplishments, and potential of the State University of New York system. The State University of New York is America’s largest comprehensive public university system, with sixty-four campuses, including community colleges, colleges of technology, university colleges, research universities, medical schools, academic medical centers, and specialized campuses in fields as diverse as optometry, ceramics, horticulture, fashion, forestry, and maritime training. Despite its reputation for wide access, demanding academic programs, vital public services, and cutting-edge research, little has been written about its fascinating history. Originating in a lively conference held in spring 2009 to mark SUNY’s sixtieth anniversary, the book’s authors examine SUNY’s origins, political landscape, evolving mission, institutional variety, international partnerships, leadership, and more. Taking its place alongside studies of state systems such as those in California, Michigan, and Texas, this book is a long overdue effort to return SUNY to the national conversation about public higher education during the last half century. Edited by a former interim chancellor of the system and two SUNY history professors, and with a foreword by current Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the problems and promise of public higher education in New York State, or, indeed, anywhere.