Robert L. King
King was born and raised in Brighton, Monroe County, New York and graduated from Brighton High School. He graduated from Trinity College (Connecticut) and earned a Juris Doctor at the Vanderbilt University School of Law.
He began his career as a Deputy District Attorney in California. He returned to Rochester where he served as an Assistant District Attorney, as well as a Special Assistant United States Attorney working for the Organized Crime Strike Force, and ran unsuccessfully for Monroe County District Attorney against Howard M. Relin in 1983.
He was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1987 to 1991, sitting in the 187th, 188th and 189th New York State Legislatures. It was there that he befriended fellow Assemblyman George Pataki, who greatly influenced his later career. In 1991, he unseated Thomas Frey to become Monroe County Executive. In 1995, King resigned his office to join then-Governor Pataki as director of the State Office of Regulatory Reform. He cited his proposals to reform welfare, his introduction of Total Quality Management to county offices, the development of Frontier Field, education reforms, and collaboration with the city as his proudest achievements and his inability to achieve privatization of government services as his biggest disappointment.
In 1998, King became Pataki's budget director. In 1999, after a nearly year-long search, Pataki advanced King as a candidate to fill the shoes of John W. Ryan, the ailing Chancellor of the State University System, a move applauded by fiscal conservatives, but criticized by the SUNY rank and file. King had little experience in higher education and had authorized a SUNY budget freeze only two months prior. Additionally, Pataki had a longstanding desire to reduce the role of the state in the University's funding which already led to one Chancellor's departure. SUNY's board of trustees unanimously approved him and he took office on January 1, 2000.
During his time as Chancellor, King sought to shift funding for the University System from state taxpayers to private hands by limiting the University System's budget, requiring campuses to seek revenue from tuition increases, from outside research grants and contracts, and from outside donations. King also sought to index tuition to inflation for the first time in the University System's history.
Also the system made significant gains in enrollment, average SAT scores, research and fundraising. Total headcount enrollment grew by 40,000 students from 2000 to 2004, and the number of minority students grew 20 percent. SAT scores of incoming freshmen improved at every campus, and the average SAT score for the system was 1150 in 2004, 100 points above the national public mean score. From 2000 to 2005, SUNY research grew from $554.6 million to $918.9 million while fundraising grew $186.9 million in 2000 to $323.6 million in 2003.[verification needed]
After five years on the job, King sought a leave of absence, citing family issues, but the paid sabbatical raised the ire of the New York State Legislature. King publicly rescinded his request, and spent the next few months negotiating an agreement to move from his position into that of Interim President of State University of New York at Potsdam.
- "Relin Defeats King", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1983-11-09: A1
- "130th: King's Win Gives GOP Edge in County", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1986-11-05: 6A
- "130th: Margin Is Decisive for King", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1988-11-09: 6A
- "Votes Cast No Surprise on Outcome", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1990-11-07: 7A
- "King Conquers", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1991-11-06: 1A
- "King Has Ability to Reach His Public", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1995-01-02: 1A
- "King Saying His Farewells", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1995-01-10: 1A
- "The Debate: Robert King as SUNY Chancellor", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1999-12-13: 7A
- Arenson, Karen W. (1999-12-07), "Pataki Aide Is Selected To Lead SUNY", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Perez-Pena, Richard (1999-10-04), "SUNY Faces a $110 Million Budget Gap, and It's Growing", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Arenson, Karen W. (1996-07-29), "What Went Wrong at SUNY? Departed Chancellor Speaks", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- "SUNY Trustees Vote Unanimously to Approve King 14th Chancellor", The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1999-12-15: B1
- Arenson, Karen W. (2001-12-26), "No Budget Increase at SUNY", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Arenson, Karen W. (2003-12-03), "Albany: SUNY Trustees Back Tuition Increase", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Arenson, Karen W. (2000-12-20), "SUNY Chancellor Wants More Aggressive Pursuit of Revenue", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- "SUNY's $3 Billion Campaign", The New York Times, 2004-03-17, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Arenson, Karen W. (2005-01-07), "SUNY Plan Limits Increases in Tuition", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Arenson, Karen W.; Healy, Patrick D. (2005-01-12), "In Surprise Move, SUNY Chancellor Seeks Leave of Absence", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Healy, Patrick D.; Arenson, Karen W. (2005-01-13), "Democrats Move to Scuttle Sabbatical for SUNY Chief", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Arenson, Karen W.; Healy, Patrick D. (2005-01-14), "SUNY's Chief Refuses to Quit, Foiling a Deal", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- Arenson, Karen W. (2005-04-05), "State University Chancellor, a Pataki Friend, to Leave Post", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- "From the President". The Arizona Community Foundation. Retrieved 2008-05-11.[dead link]
- Arenson, Karen W. (2005-10-21), "Albany: Former Chancellor To Head Foundation", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-05-11
- "Former SUNY Chancellor Is Chosen to Lead Kentucky's Postsecondary Council". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
|New York Assembly|
Louise M. Slaughter
|New York State Assembly
David Van Varick
Thomas R. Frey
|County Executive of Monroe County
John D. "Jack" Doyle
John W. Ryan
|Chancellor of the State University of New York
John R. Ryan
John A. Fallon
|President of the State University of New York at Potsdam
John F. Schwaller