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Murphy to Step Down as President of SUNY-ESF

Will remain in position until successor is named

Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., announced today (Dec. 11, 2012) that he plans to step down as president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

Murphy made the announcement during a campus meeting this morning.

"I have very much enjoyed my service to ESF and its extraordinary faculty, staff and students," he said. "I am confident that the college will continue to enhance our national and international service and commitment to our vision of 'A Better World through Environmental Discovery.'"

Upon leaving the presidency, Dr. Murphy will focus on teaching and special projects at the college. The ESF Board of Trustees has initiated the search process for a new president. Murphy expects to remain in the position until a successor is named, which could take up to a year.

Murphy was named president of ESF in 2000. He led the college through an unprecedented expansion of its physical facilities with the construction of the college's first residence hall, Centennial Hall, and the nearly completed construction of the Gateway Center, designed to LEED Platinum standards and scheduled to open in January. The rehabilitation of Baker Laboratory was completed during his tenure. In addition, ESF has embarked on plans to construct a new academic research building at the western edge of the campus.

During Murphy's presidency, ESF has been widely recognized as one of the best colleges in the nation, garnering solid rankings in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and Washington Monthly. Also under his leadership, the college improved the quality of its student body and increased its enrollment: In 2000, ESF's freshman class included 190 students and the college's total enrollment was about 1,600, including graduate students. By comparison, the 2012 freshman class was a record 327. At the same time, the college's total enrollment has grown to more than 2,300.

The college also expanded its academic offerings, adding programs such as bioprocess engineering and sustainable energy management, and increased to more than 75,000 the number of hours its students devote to community service. Murphy also greatly increased ESF's partnerships with businesses and other educational institutions throughout the Central New York region. ESF has emerged as a leading partner in new economic drivers such as the Syracuse Center of Excellence and the CNY Biotech Accelerator.

Student life was enhanced under Murphy's leadership by the establishment of an intercollegiate athletic program.

Murphy joined ESF after a 30-year career with Syracuse-based O'Brien & Gere, an environmental engineering firm, where he rose to the position of president and chairman of the board. Murphy helped transform the company from a regional engineering firm into a multifaceted international corporation.

Murphy has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Syracuse University, where he was a NASA Fellow, and a B.A. in chemistry from St. Michael's College. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Clarkson University in 1997.

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The SUNY-ESF Board of Trustees has issued the following statement in conjunction with President Murphy's announcement:

Press Release from the Board of Trustees to the SUNY-ESF Community

December 11, 2012

The SUNY-ESF Board of Trustees, in conjunction with the campus governance body and the SUNY Chancellor, has initiated the transition process and national presidential search following the announcement by current ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy to step down as President and serve the College in a different capacity.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for managing the search process in accordance with the Guidelines for the Selection of a President and submitting its recommendations to the Chancellor and trustees of the State University of New York. The Presidential Search Committee includes representatives of SUNY-ESF faculty, staff, students, alumni, the ESF College Foundation, the Board of Trustees, and a representative designated by the SUNY Chancellor.

The Board of Trustees understands that ESF is an extraordinary teaching and research institute that has a unique standing not only in the SUNY community, but in the higher education community at large. We have grown as an institution to top rankings through the visionary leadership of President Murphy who has encouraged us to "dare to dream." We share the College's vision to embrace the challenges and opportunities the future will bring. We know the strong history of exploring and responding to society's needs and environmental issues is what has prepared ESF to respond to the future.

We will seek, together, to find a president who is enthusiastic and dedicated to leading an internationally recognized, non-traditional institution through the next phases of opportunity and growth.

Times of change are times of opportunity and together we will celebrate what we have accomplished with President Murphy and position ourselves with future leadership that will encourage us to continue to create a better world through environmental discovery.