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H. Carl McCall

H. Carl McCall, chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees, speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. The SUNY trustees and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher say they would freeze tuition if the system receives more state money in the budget. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

H. Carl McCall, the first black to serve as state comptroller and a longtime member of the State University of New York Board of Trustees, will retire as the board's chairman in June. 

McCall's retirement was announced Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Cuomo, who unsuccessfully challenged McCall for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2002, recognized the longtime New York public servant for his long career that included stints as a state senator and a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. 

"His accomplishments are numerous but he will long be remembered for his deep commitment to equality, diversity and access to education to ensure New York's students, especially from underserved areas, are provided with a high quality and affordable education," Cuomo said. 

McCall, a Boston native, moved to New York and began his career in public service. He was asked to lead the New York City Commission Against Poverty. He was elected to the state Senate in 1974 and served three times in the state Legislature. 

After serving with the United States' U.N. delegation, McCall ran for lieutenant governor in 1982. He didn't win the Democratic nomination, but then-Gov. Mario Cuomo named him human rights commissioner. 

He left the post for a job with Citicorp, but was appointed to the New York City Board of Education. He was the board's president for two years, from 1991 to 1993. 

In 1993, state lawmakers elected McCall state comptroller after Edward Regan resigned from the post. McCall served as comptroller through the end of 2002 — the same year he was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee. 

McCall challenged Gov. George Pataki, a Republican who was seeking his third term in office. Pataki defeated McCall by 16 points. 

Despite the defeat, McCall continued to serve in public positions. He joined the SUNY board in 2007. He was named chair in 2011 — Cuomo's first year in office. 

"I believe that it is time for me to pursue other interests and allow new vision to take SUNY to even higher heights," McCall said. "I want to thank the governor, trustees, faculty and New York's future leaders — our students — for their endless support as I have served in such a consequential office." 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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