Governor Cuomo Announces Second Class of SUNY Hispanic Leadership Fellows

January 10, 2019

From the office of Governor Cuomo

14 SUNY Leaders from 10 Colleges & Universities Selected

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the second class of Fellows at SUNY’s Hispanic Leadership Institute, which is charged with developing and supporting the next generation of executive-level Hispanic/LatinX leaders across the SUNY System. The HLI offers six and 12-month fellowships to SUNY Hispanic/LatinX faculty and staff in leadership positions throughout SUNY, including provosts, chief academic officers, chief business officers, and others. Over the course of the program, fellows will participate in individualized mentoring and assessment and development programs to support their success.

"New York is strongest when we celebrate our diversity and with programs like the Hispanic Leadership Institute, we can support some of the most dedicated leaders across the SUNY system," Governor Cuomo said. "Congratulations to the incoming class of Fellows who will no doubt take the skills and knowledge they gain through this program to make a positive impact throughout the state."

"Our diversity is what makes us strong and we want to ensure that all New Yorkers have equal opportunities for growth," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The Hispanic Leadership Institute allows SUNY faculty and staff to participate in fellowships to build skills and advance their careers. We are committed to ensuring that minorities and women in New York State have the experience and resources they need to succeed." ‎

In its second year, the 2019 class of HLI Fellows represents the breadth and diversity of SUNY, with over one-third consisting of faculty, one-third serving at community colleges, and more than 60 percent women in the class.

The 2019 HLI Fellows are:

  • Lisa Gonzalez, University at Albany
  • Tibisay Hernandez, University at Albany
  • Oscar Gomez-Duarte, University at Buffalo
  • Justin Read, University at Buffalo
  • Sebastian Purcell, SUNY Cortland
  • Maria Boada, Dutchess Community College
  • Karen Ferrer-Muñiz, Hudson Valley Community College
  • Antonia Custodio, Monroe Community College
  • Denise Valdes, Onondaga Community College
  • Claudia Hernandez-Tarquino, SUNY Office of Global Affairs
  • Lizette Alvarado, SUNY Oswego
  • Christopher Torres, SUNY Potsdam
  • Meylin Andares, SUNY System Administration
  • Hector Graciano, Westchester Community College

SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall said, "The work achieved thus far by the Hispanic Leadership Institute has created a more inclusive landscape for our future Hispanic/LatinX leaders, and we are excited to welcome this year’s class of fellows. One of SUNY’s core values is to continue to build a diverse student body and have that population reflected in our faculty and staff. The Hispanic Leadership Institute, in addition to other system wide initiatives, directly serves this value by encouraging and equipping our Hispanic/LatinX leaders with the tools they need to thrive. Congratulations to all of this year’s fellows on this achievement."

SUNY Chancellor Dr. Kristina Johnson said, "It is of upmost importance that our students feel welcome and represented when they join our campuses, and ensuring that our faculty and staff are as diverse as our student body is a way to achieve that goal. The Hispanic Leadership Institute provides its fellows with the skills to achieve success in their own professional lives, but also how to be a role model to their peers and students. The groundwork laid through the institute is crucial and will have a positive effect on the lives of students and our campuses for generations to come."

Ricardo Azziz, Chief Officer of Academic Health and Hospital Affairs at SUNY, and Director of the SUNY HLI, said, "As the second class of fellows is recognized, there is much enthusiasm surrounding the development of future Hispanic or LatinX leaders. These individuals will go on to greatly impact the higher education landscape, and I welcome them to the institute and am thrilled to begin our work together. I know the 2019 class of HLI fellows will continue the tradition of hard work, passionate dedication, and unwavering focus that was exemplified by our inaugural class of Fellows last year."

Assemblymember Marcos A. Crespo said, "I’m excited about the continued success of the SUNY HIspanic Leadership Institute as it helps to further develop LatinX representation throughout our Higher Education system. The 2019 Fellows represent the best of our communities. Their success also ensures that SUNY is able to deliver the highest quality and culturally appropriate experience for all students."

Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, Chair, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force said, "I applaud the SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellows (HLI) for their dedication to the Hispanic community, exemplifying the need for diversity for those seeking higher educational attainment. They have done such an extraordinary job guiding our future Hispanic/ Latin X leaders into a generation of prosperity. This program serves as an important tool to ensure that our fellows reach their full academic potential as HLI continues to monitor and support their achievements. I look forward to working with HLI as we aim to increase diversity throughout the states."

About HLI

The HLI serves as a resource for those requiring information regarding the challenges and opportunities for Latino leaders in Higher Education in New York State and nationally; and will undertake and sponsor research in the area of Hispanic leadership development, retention, and success.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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