She also stressed the importance of building community service into courses, as did keynote speaker Ira Harkavy, associate vice president and founding director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania.
"The future of Plattsburgh and the future of Plattsburgh State are intertwined," Harkavy said. "No other institutions can make such significant contributions to quality of place than colleges and universities."
But he cautioned that there is strong discontent with higher-education's product. Most Americans today believe colleges operate like businesses, Harkavy said.
He touted academically based community service as a form of problem-solving service learning and said universities should be involved in economic development in their communities and in tackling issues such as reducing poverty.
Students can learn by focusing on a real problem in the community surrounding their university.
"You need to have some victories on the ground that show real progress and that the benefit is not just for the higher-education institution," Harkavy said.
"If they see your campus doing something to help people and educate students simultaneously, that is a powerful draw to get funding.
"Build it into the curriculum and be there, be there, be there."
Plattsburgh City Mayor Donald Kasprzak agreed the importance of Plattsburgh State to the community is immense.
And Zimpher doesn't plan to slow down until SUNY's value to New York state is clear.
"We are an engine for economic revitalization and quality of life for New York state."
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