Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs

Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Secretary of the University

Joseph Porter - updated photo THUMBJoseph Porter joined the State University of New York (SUNY) System Administration as Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel in June 2015. In this position, Mr. Porter serves as chief legal officer of SUNY and principal legal counsel to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, senior officers in system administration and the presidents of the state operated SUNY campuses.  Mr. Porter also provides general legal guidance and assistance to the presidents of the community colleges operating as part of the SUNY system and participates in SUNY administration as a member of the Chancellor’s cabinet. In January 2016, Mr. Porter became Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel and in January 2017, he was appointed Secretary of the University.

Prior to that, Mr. Porter served for ten years as Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel of Excelsior College, one of the most innovative institutions of higher education in the nation offering online degrees and competency-based education.  In that position, he directed Excelsior's legal operations, participated in the administration of the college as a member of the executive staff, and served as secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Immediately prior to joining Excelsior College, Mr. Porter served in the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for 12 years, first as deputy counsel and later as executive director of the New York State Office of Teaching. During his years with NYSED, Mr. Porter authored innovative regulations and legislation on a wide variety of education issues and led a series of teams responsible for implementing the Regents' education reform agenda. He also served as legal advisor to the Board of Regents' Task Force on Teaching as it drafted groundbreaking reforms of New York's standards for the preparation and certification of teachers.

Prior to his work at NYSED, Mr. Porter served as deputy counsel and legislative representative of the New York State School Boards Association, where he advised and represented more than 700 school districts in New York. Mr. Porter began his career as general counsel and legislative representative for the New York State Conference of Mayors, where he advised and represented the mayors of New York's cities and villages.

Mr. Porter has lectured extensively throughout the State over the last 30 years on a variety of education issues and served as adjunct instructor of education law in the Graduate School of Educational Administration of the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, from 1996 to 2010.

A graduate of Albany Law School, Mr. Porter also holds a bachelor's degree in History and American Studies from Manhattan College in New York City.

General Counsel