George Philip stepping down as UAlbany president

george philipUAlbany announced Friday afternoon that president George Philip is retiring. He had been in the job since November 2007, first as interim president, then in June 2009 in a permanent role.

UAlbany says Philip will continue in the role until a new president is named.

In school's press release, SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher called Philip "one of the University at Albany's all-time champions." And it notes that the university's endowment increased 26 percent during his tenure, the school exceeded $450 million in research expenditures last year, it added new student housing, broke ground on a new business school building, and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering grew significantly.

Philip had taken the interim top job at UAlbany after retiring as head of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System. UAlbany says Philip postponed his retirement to serve as the school's permanent president after Zimpher asked him stay on following a search. Philip's retirement from NYSTR triggered his pension: $261,037, the biggest of any retired state or local governmental employee in the state at the time. He was also making more than $280k as head of UAlbany (according to SeeThroughNY).

A few other notable parts of Philip's tenure: he's the guy who cancelled Fountain Day as a response to the Kegs 'N Eggs riot. As he said in a press release about that decision this past March: "I regret that this action will punish students who had no role in the disturbing events of March 12. But the need to proactively respond and to uphold our reputation has never been greater."

And Philip was at the wheel when the school decided to discontinue a handful of its humanities programs, including some foreign languages -- a decision that drew criticism from students and faculty. It also prompted national press attention. The cuts were made as part of an effort to cover gaps in the budget created by cuts in state funding. Said Philip at the time: "I understand the importance of having languages on campus I just need to have a plan in place that addresses the fiscal circumstances we are in." [TU] [Fox23]

Philip is a UAlbany alum -- he has both an undergraduate and master's degree from the school. Said Philip in the press release: "I am proud to be a graduate of this outstanding institution and feel deeply honored to have served as its president ... I have personally witnessed the University's growth from a teacher's college to a thriving research University and believe it is poised for even greater success."


Good riddance, G. Phil!

Why the nasty tone, Mike? He doesn't deserve that sort of snideness. George Philip was a terrific and down-to-earth college president who only took the job because he loves the university and wants to see it thrive. He made tough (and sometimes unpopular) decisions but his only concern was strengthening the school's assets and turning it into top-tier caliber.

I loved the guy. He had such enthusiasm for UAlbany, he created a sense of newness and growth here. I hope he gives the same vibrant commitment to whatever he does in the future, and that he succeeds wherever he goes.

All due respect to the previous posters, but his personality was/is irrelevant. Personality is not what UAlbany students paid for, and while being "likable" is great, those who hold positions of power need to be evaluated in terms of the consequences of their actions.

In short, Mr. Philip has either made and/or participated in decisions that have prioritized the business program as well as nanotech at the expense of the humanities, including foreign languages. This will prove to be UAlbany's undoing in the year's to come, as the very idea of (increasingly not-so-) affordable public, higher education which included a liberal component, as in liberating, is eroded.

Instead, as with so many facets of post-industrial American life and culture, we see the instincts and values of the crony capitalist and power-worshipper--the values of the herd-man--in the ascendant at the expense of the very things that could contribute toward critical thought and human liberation. We have here the public higher education section of our very own American Brave New World.

Cincinnatus needs to graduate to a blackboard or webcam to ramble into. That said, his posts are some of the most entertaining things on here.

@Betty Jones: I don't know if that is a backhanded compliment or just a backhand, but I'll take it.

I remember once hearing Marilyn Manson--probably quoting someone else (in spirit at least)--saying something to the effect that he judged his popularity not just by the number of people who liked him but also by the number of people who hated him. Glad to have entertained, at least.

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