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The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council has a new leader. 

SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley has been named co-chair of the panel. She will lead the council with Randy Wolken, president of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, who became co-chair last year. 

Stanley succeeds Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, the former president of SUNY Upstate Medical University. Laraque-Arena was one of the council's co-chairs since 2016. 

"I would like to thank Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and (Gov. Andrew Cuomo) for this exciting opportunity to serve our communities in central New York and I want to thank Dr. Laraque-Arena for her years of dedication to our region," Stanley said in a statement. "I look forward to working alongside Randy Wolken and my fellow council members and I am excited to continue the outstanding work of the council." 

Together with Wolken, Stanley will lead the most successful regional council in the state. The central New York council, which is comprised of Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties, has received $703.6 million in state funding, the most of any other regional council in New York. The funding has supported more than 700 projects in the region. 

The total doesn't include central New York's win in the Upstate Revitalization Initiative contest. In 2015, central New York was one of three regions to win a $500 million grant for economic development projects. 

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Stanley has been president of SUNY Oswego since 1995. She has spearheaded a campus improvement to renovate buildings and construct new facilities, including an on-campus townhouse residential complex. 

Two fundraising campaigns launched by Stanley have generated more than $65 million for the college. She also created the Presidential Scholarship Program to reward top-performing students. The Oswego Guarantee, which she helped establish, ensures classes are available to students committed to completing their degrees in no more than four years. In return, the housing and meal plan costs for these students are frozen. 

Stanley's appointment is the second leadership change for the central New York council since 2018. Last year, Wolken took over for longtime chair Rob Simpson, who is president of CenterState CEO.

The state's regional councils have two co-chairs: one from the business community and another who represents higher education institutions. 

Wolken welcomed Stanley to the council's leadership team. 

"I am very much looking forward to working closely with President Stanley as CNY REDC co-chairs, and know that she brings to the table a wealth of knowledge about regional economy," he said. 

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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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