JAMESTOWN - Dr. Nancy Zimpher has visited a lot of State University of New York campuses in the past few weeks.
Administrators, faculty and trustees of Jamestown Community College filled the school's student union Monday afternoon to welcome the new SUNY chancellor to the 54th stop on her whirlwind tour of the system.
During her visit to JCC on Monday, Dr. Zimpher took a tour of the campus; met with students, faculty and administrators; viewed plans for the school's new science building; and took part in a roundtable discussion with President Greg DeCinque and other administrators about the future of the school and the SUNY system.
Dr. Zimpher became the 12th chancellor of the SUNY system when she took over duties June 1. The new chancellor, who has pledged to visit all 64 SUNY campuses in her first 100 days as chancellor, visited the State University at Fredonia earlier Monday. She said she is on schedule to complete the tour by Labor Day.
Planning and implementing the summerlong tour was a necessary component of taking over the post, Dr. Zimpher said, though she admits she didn't realize how daunting the task would be when she began.
''There isn't a campus president or campus chancellor in the country who wouldn't observe their beginning time on the job as something other than visiting all the colleges and departments that you are going to preside over,'' she said. ''I just had no idea how big New York is and how much effort it would take to visit 64 campuses.''
The tour, designed to give Dr. Zimpher an opportunity to meet with and learn from students, faculty, administrators, community leaders and other stakeholders on the future of New York's public higher education system, is the first step in the creation of a SUNY-wide strategic plan.
''This is not only a get-acquainted tour,'' Dr. Zimpher said. ''It is the building block for the vision of the State University of New York going forward.''
Prior to becoming SUNY chancellor, Dr. Zimpher was president of the University of Cincinnati. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees and a doctorate in teacher education and higher education administration, all from Ohio State University.
During her visit to JCC, Dr. Zimpher said that while she is thinking globally about what SUNY can do for the state, she is remembering how important it is for each campus to act locally and serve its community.
''The elected officials who are here and the commerce and workforce development officials who are here, the members of the board of trustees and the foundation board all are saying what you know - this is a terrific place for students,'' she said. ''This is a terrific place thanks to our high-quality faculty and academic support staff, thanks to (President DeCinque)'s leadership and his leadership team. You are making wonderful things happen in this community.''
Dr. Zimpher's stop in Jamestown was short, as she moved on to visit Alfred University and Alfred State College today. She said, though, that what she saw during her visit has given her great confidence in JCC's role in the SUNY system.
''Given what I've seen, this is just reconnaissance - we hope to be back on a regular basis, and we have plenty of reasons to return,'' she said. ''I will carry back with me many wonderful images of JCC, a great welcoming community.''