I want to thank all of you for being here, especially our corporate and foundation supporters. This is a difficult time in the United States on many levels and especially in higher education. CUNY, as a university, has taken a lead among our peers to focus public attention on the needs of public higher education in the United States.
There has been, over two decades, an unfortunate regression of support from localities and states in supporting public higher education. I have often referred to this as a national security problem as public colleges educate about 80 percent of the students who study at universities in the United States. Public higher education is a sine qua non of a healthy and vibrant citizenry and of a healthy country.
This University could never aspire to greatness without the strong support of people like yourselves. We cannot continue to tax our students, who more so than not, are vulnerable to financial indicators. The State of New York continues to walk away, not because it has a lack of faith, but because there are so many competing demands on tax dollars that are generated in the state.
CUNY has addressed this problem in part by seeking your support, not for the operating needs of the University but to help us invest in the University, to give these young people an opportunity to study with the very best faculty, to prepare them in science, to have the kind of up-to-date labs they need, for our libraries and technologies to be up to the best levels in the country, to give our students the valued degree they seek to succeed in the workplace.
So I thank you deeply for supporting CUNY and hope that you will stay with us as we get through this rather difficult period.