Statement from Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett on today's Upstate Revitalization Initiative award
I am pleased that the Southern Tier is one of three upstate regions awarded $500 million from New York State through Governor Cuomo's Upstate Revitalization Initiative competition. This initiative means Tompkins County and the rest of the Southern Tier will receive $100 million over each of the next five years to support critically needed investments in the economic health of our region.
The winning plan—selected by the state along with plans from our neighbors in Central New York and the Finger Lakes—was carefully developed by the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council and its staff under the leadership of co-chairs Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and Corning Enterprises President Tom Tranter, and I commend them for their hard work. I also want to applaud Cornell Vice President Mary Opperman and her team, who joined with our partners to help secure this new investment, and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Dean Kathryn Boor, a member of the Regional Economic Development Council and a key architect in the Council's winning proposal.
As New York's land-grant university, Cornell is deeply involved in promoting the state's economy and we fully endorse the four focus areas of the plan. By investing in the Binghamton metro area and leveraging the strengths of our partner, Binghamton University, this plan will build a new innovation economy in our region's largest population center. The plan also takes advantage of the Southern Tier's abundant clean water, its location within a day's drive of half the country's population, and of CALS, one of the world's elite agriculture schools. The plan's focus on advanced manufacturing and transportation assets leverages the strengths of engineering programs at Cornell and Binghamton, and builds upon the region's long and storied manufacturing history. And, by focusing on the region's culture of scientific and economic innovation, this plan will bring critically needed seed capital to new ventures, added capital for new discovery and innovation, and will help establish the region as a great place to start and expand new companies, leveraging our college towns and the corridors between them.
This economic development investment will help the Southern Tier become a global leader in new agricultural technology and the breadbasket of the Northeast, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of revitalizing the Southern Tier and for Governor Cuomo's vote of confidence in our region's future.