H. Carl McCall, former chairman of the State University of...

H. Carl McCall, former chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees.  Credit: Steven Sunshine

ALBANY — The central administration building of the State University of New York will be named for H. Carl McCall, a former SUNY board chairman, state comptroller and the first African American to become a major party nominee for state office.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the honor Friday and awarded McCall, 84, the Governor’s Medal for being “one of New York’s greatest trailblazers.”

“Carl McCall is a friend and a true public servant who has graced this great state with more than 50 years of distinguished service and leadership, and all New Yorkers are better off for it,” Cuomo said. “While his achievements are beyond count, his legacy will be as a champion for those in need, and for helping restore faith in the ability of government to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

The announcement was made in the governor’s mansion during the weekend’s annual Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus event.

“It has been my honor to be one of many sources of leadership and influence to provide more for New Yorkers, particularly by expanding opportunities for all students to get a higher education,” McCall said.

He credited some of his accomplishments to feedback from “the people I have served, especially the students I have seen achieve a better life through their own hard work and desire to do more.”

McCall also is a state former senator and Wall Street executive and led the New York City Board of Education.

In 2002, McCall was the Democratic nominee for governor after Cuomo left the race. McCall lost to Republican George Pataki in the general election.

The Governor's Medal reads: “To H. Carl McCall, Pioneer, Public Servant, Humanitarian. Presented with respect and gratitude for the decades of leadership, wisdom, and moral clarity that you have provided to the people of New York, and around the world.”

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