March 17, 2015

New America’s Amy Laitinen to Deliver Annual Boyer Lecture March 26

New America's Amy Laitinen

New America's Amy Laitinen. Photo/New America

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 20, 2015) Amy Laitinen, deputy director for higher education at New America, will deliver the Boyer Lecture at SUNY Empire State College’s annual All College Conference at noon on March 26 at the Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Her talk, “What the national higher education conversation can learn from Empire State College and Vice Versa,” will be streamed live over the Internet at

“For over four decades, Empire State College has provided a much-needed liberal arts educational opportunity to a too-often-overlooked population of adult students,” said Laitinen. “As the nation now begins to recognize the imperative of better serving adult students, we can and must learn from the pioneering work of Empire State College. I am honored to speak with and learn from this group of innovators.”

"It is an honor to have Amy Laitinen of the New America deliver the 2015 Boyer lecture at this year’s All College Conference. Amy is a leading national voice and advocate for adult and nontraditional students and for innovation in higher education, whose work calls to mind the spirit of Ernie Boyer,” said Merodie Hancock, president of the college.

“The Boyer lecture is a highlight of the annual All College Conference and brings diverse viewpoints that speak to the college community's tradition of innovation in teaching and learning and its mission of access for nontraditional students,” Hancock continued.

About Amy Laitinen

In her role as deputy director for Higher Education at New America, Laitinen is responsible for federal higher-education policy, particularly as it relates to quality, innovation and transparency. As a senior manager, Laitinen helps shape personnel, strategy and development for New America’s higher-education program.

Prior to joining New America, Laitinen served as a senior policy analyst at the nonpartisan think tank Education Sector.

Laitinen previously served as a policy advisor to the undersecretary and assistant secretary for vocational and adult education at the U.S. Department of Education, where she was responsible for developing policy and budget proposals for postsecondary and workforce education. She also served as a policy advisor at the White House on community college issues.

The Chronicle of Higher Education named Laitinen as one of the top 10 innovators of 2013 for her work on competency-based education.

Laitinen is the product of public higher education. She holds an associate degree from Miami-Dade Community College, a bachelor’s from New College of Florida and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley.

About the Boyer Lecture

The annual Boyer Lecture was established in 2004 by Kathryn Boyer ’78 to honor her late husband, Ernest L. Boyer Sr., chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977, who was instrumental in the founding of Empire State College in 1971, as well as their son, Stephen Paul Boyer ’86, a mentor at the college’s Center for Distance Learning, and grandson Gabriel Boyer ’04.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 73,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)