SUNY Chancellor appoints First Student Advocate, to serve on executive leadership team


Dr. John Graham as SUNY’s first Student Advocate (photo: SUNY)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The State University of New York Chancellor has the position and appointment of SUNY’s first student advocate.

Chancellor Jim Malatras announced that SUNY’s first Student Advocate position will be filled by Dr. John Graham. According to Chancellor Malatras, the senior position was designed to elevate and lead student-centric priorities.

“The new role of Student Advocate was formed, in large part, directly from our students to have a person they could go to who would deliver their concerns and suggestions to me, our leadership team, and the SUNY Board of Trustees—and Dr. John Graham has my trust and full authority to be their person on the ground,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Dr. Graham and I have spoken at length about the strategy we want to put in place—one that focuses first and foremost on our students’ safety and wellbeing—to maximize their opportunity to earn their degree, which has been made more challenging by COVID-19.”

Dr. Graham previously provided oversight for the student affairs and university life department at SUNY. Immediate priorities for Dr. Graham in his new position include appointing a Student Voices Action Committee, which will represent each sector of the education system.

Additionally, as the Student Advocate, Dr. Graham will oversee student mental health and wellness, disability services, veterans and military affairs, childcare services, substance abuse services, chancellor’s student excellence awards and the student assembly.

Dr. John Graham stated the following proceeding Chancellor Malatras’ announcement:

“It is an absolute honor for me to be appointed as SUNY Student Advocate. This role is critical to advancing the mission of our comprehensive system where students are the priority and the core responsibility of our collective efforts. The Chancellor himself is a student advocate, and to recognize the importance of this work in a COVID-19 climate cannot be overstated. Many students and their families are confronting unimaginable challenges. The implementation of support and resources will require renewed imagination while working with and through a wide range of stakeholders that includes campus leaders, chief student affairs officers, residence life professionals, and other colleagues across SUNY.”

Dr. John Graham was officially appointed SUNY’s first Student Advocate on September 30, 2020 and will take on his role effective immediately.

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