The fact that Buffalo State College President Muriel A. Howard reportedly was nearly appointed to head the entire State University of New York system speaks to the quality and character of a woman who has served this community in her present capacity since 1996. It also spotlights the quality of educational leadership at this region's colleges and universities.
University of Cincinnati President Nancy L. Zimpher was appointed last week to the position of SUNY chancellor. She's a good choice, an experienced leader who will face daunting challenges as state cuts to the SUNY budget and raids on tuition increases increase anger and make financial decisions harder on SUNY campuses.
However, it is notable that Howard not only was one of two candidates being considered for the top job, but that she served on the 18-member committee searching for a replacement for John Ryan, who stepped down as chancellor in May 2007. SUNY trustees even asked that she step down from her role on the search committee so she could be considered. Howard herself has been supportive of Zimpher, which should prove beneficial for the college.
Howard, the seventh president of Buffalo State, is an active member of the Association of American State Colleges and Universities and currently holds leadership positions in five national organizations. In her role for the association, she was elected to the Presidential Advisory Committee for a Voluntary System of Accountability, which calls for more openness of reporting information for higher education nationwide.
Among her notable accomplishments as president of Buffalo State is the recently opened Burchfield Penney Art Center. She played an instrumental role in bringing that project to fruition, and in making sure the Art Center functions as a learning resource for the campus as well as the community.
Being one of two finalists for the SUNY chancellor position is a great reflection on Howard and Buffalo State College, both of which have a lot to be proud of, as does this community.