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Spitzer Promotes Higher Education Endowment Fund

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Governor Eliot Spitzer was in Buffalo Wednesday to promote his plan for higher education. Spitzer wants to create a $4 billion endowment to invest and improve New York's public higher education system.

Governor Sptizer says education is key to the State's future. Spitzer appeared at the former M. Wile Building, now owned by UB. That site will be transformed into UB's Downtown Gateway Building, bringing 8,000 students, faculty and staff into downtown Buffalo. Spitzer used UB's urban plan as an example of the need to invest in higher education to enhance local economies.

Spitzer says his $4 billion endowment fund will allow the state to invest in higher education. Spitzer says the endowment would yield $220 million a year in new funding streams for the state's public colleges and universities. The endowment would be created by privatizing the State Lottery.

The Governor encouraged members of UB and other local leaders to call on the state legislature for their support. UB President John Simpson says he believes the Lottery makes the most sense for funding the endowment.

Simpson also notes that the Governor's plans for higher education align with UB 2020, that will include the hiring of more than 2,000 faculty and staffers, growing enrollment to 40,000, and its downtown expansion. The endowment will allow the state to begin to invest in UB 2020.

The Governor says every part of the SUNY system would benefit from the endowment.

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