Stephanie A. Miner, the first female mayor of Syracuse, will deliver the 109th commencement address at KeukaCollege.
Mayor Miner was elected the 53rd Mayor of the City of Syracuse Nov. 3, 2009 in a three-way race. She was re-elected in 2013. Not only is she the first woman elected Mayor of Syracuse, Mayor Miner also has the distinction of being the first woman to lead one of New York state’s ‘Big 5’ cities—the others are New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers.
Though she officially began her political career in 2001—when she was elected to the Syracuse Common Council—her involvement in politics began as a child, when she sat at her grandmother’s kitchen table stuffing envelopes for local candidates in Syracuse’s Eastwood neighborhood.
Re-elected to the Common Council in 2005, Mayor Miner championed, and helped pass legislation, that gave $1 million in initial funding to Say Yes to Education, a program that provides necessary support services for Syracuse City School District students and promises free or reduced tuition to students who graduate from City high schools.
Additionally, she has revamped the Joint Schools Construction Board, where she serves as chair. The board is overseeing a multi-million dollar effort to rebuild and remodel Syracuse City School District buildings. Currently, four schools have been totally renovated, with another $300 million of individual projects at up to an additional 15 schools.
Prior to taking office, Mayor Miner saw the precarious financial situation of the City of Syracuse, and began right-sizing City government and consolidating various services. By taking this leading role in the discussion of municipal finance across New York state, she was named a trailblazing woman in public finance by the Northeast Women in Public Finance in 2013. Two years later, she established the first-ever Mayor’s Office of Innovation using a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The first task of this office will be to examine infrastructure financing.
A member of Rebuild New York Now, the Mayor attended the Clinton Global Initiative America Conference, met with members of Congress, and submitted testimony before the United States Senate and New York state legislature detailing the infrastructure needs of the City of Syracuse, as well as cities across the state.
Mayor Miner worked to create the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation, one of the first Land Banks in New York state, to expedite the sale and redevelopment of vacant and tax delinquent properties. The Land Bank was developed with the assistance of IBM, who named Syracuse one of 100 Smarter Cities. That distinction came with a $400,000 grant in 2011 and institutional support to develop solutions to fixing blighted housing.
Mayor Miner received a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a J.D. from the University at Buffalo Law School. After college, she worked as the assistant Upstate coordinator for Geraldine Ferraro for U.S. Senate, and then as Central New York Regional Representative to then-Gov. Mario Cuomo. After graduating from law school, Mayor Miner was hired at the Syracuse law firm Blitman and King LLP, where she worked until focusing on her mayoral campaign.