Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute

March 25, 2017

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Institute to Serve as National Model for Developing and Promoting Latino Executives in Higher Education 

New Advisory Council Will Recruit and Prepare Next Generation of Latino Leaders Across SUNY 

Empowering Executive Leadership Programs – Fellowships, Externships, Conferences – To Attract New, High-Quality Hispanic Leaders to SUNY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the State University of New York Hispanic Leadership Institute, charged with developing and supporting the next generation of executive-level Latino leaders across the SUNY system. As the largest comprehensive public system of higher education in the United States, SUNY has boldly committed to become the most inclusive university system in the country. To meet that goal, the university’s Latino Leadership Advisory Council, led by Dr. Ricardo Azziz, SUNY’s Chief Officer of Academic and Hospital Affairs, will work to recruit and train Hispanic leaders for executive positions at the highest levels of the SUNY system.

"In New York we believe our diversity is our greatest strength, and the newly-established Hispanic Leadership Institute will work to cultivate the next generation of Latino leaders at SUNY," Governor Cuomo said. "This initiative will provide the future leaders of tomorrow with the experience, skills and training they need to succeed, and ensure the leadership of the SUNY system reflects the strength of the Empire State’s communities."

The SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute will focus on developing, retaining and promoting Hispanic leaders at SUNY for the positions of university president, provost, chief financial officer, chief business officer, among others. The work of the SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute will be guided by a distinguished Advisory Council, composed of 15 recognized state and national leaders of the Hispanic and higher education communities.

The Institute will offer a year-long fellowship program through which mid- to senior-level Latino managers and executives will shadow presidents at three SUNY campuses, as well executives at SUNY’s System Administration in Albany. The SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute will also offer shorter duration development opportunities for middle-level Hispanic leaders whose next career advancement would be to serve in a SUNY college president’s cabinet. The Institute will also host an annual two-day Latino Leadership Conference for faculty from across SUNY.

The Institute will provide the following targeted programs and supports aimed at drawing high-quality Hispanic leaders to SUNY:

  • Individualized Support. The Institute will develop individualized assessment and development programs for current or emerging Latino leaders, to ensure their progress and success.
  • Awareness and Education Activities. The Institute will sponsor lectures and events with leaders across SUNY, including the SUNY Board of Trustees, to enhance their awareness, understanding and knowledge around issues concerning Latino leadership.
  • Search Committee Training. The Institute will work with the SUNY Chief Diversity Officer to develop guidelines and aids to ensure that search committees are trained and understand how to identify potential quality Hispanic candidates.  
  • Candidate Identification. The Institute will work with the Advisory Board and a broader network of leaders around the country to help identify potential Hispanic candidates for SUNY leadership positions.
  • Resource and Research Activities. The institute will serve 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 strive to  undertake and sponsor research in the area of Hispanic leadership development, retention and success.

"SUNY has seen a steady increase of Hispanic and Latino students coming to our campuses in recent years, reaching nearly 12 percent, or 50,000 students, in the 2015-2016 academic year," H. Carl McCall, SUNY Board Chairman, said. "As part of SUNY’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy, we are committed to ensuring that campus leadership and faculty are a reflection of the students they serve. Governor Cuomo’s Hispanic Leadership Institute will be an excellent complement to efforts underway throughout SUNY to meet the unique needs of our Hispanic students and provide them with the academic programs and support services that we know help them succeed."

"SUNY has established itself as a national leader in the recruitment, retention and promotion of outstanding scholars from all different backgrounds – and the Hispanic Leadership Institute marks another major step forward in that effort," Nancy Zimpher, SUNY Chancellor, said. "This important initiative will build on that good work we have achieved to increase diversity at the highest levels of SUNY. By bringing together leaders across higher education, we can ensure SUNY continues to attract high-quality Latino leaders to our campuses for years to come."

"By continuing to bring together people of all backgrounds and communities, we are raising the bar on academic excellence and ensuring SUNY continues to lead the nation in providing the highest-quality education to our students," Dr. Ricardo Azziz, Chief Officer of Academic and Hospital Affairs at SUNY, said. "The Hispanic Leadership Institute will continue to draw fresh, talented Latino leadership to SUNY and continue our legacy of academic excellence. I applaud the Governor for ensuring New York remains a beacon of hope, inclusion and opportunity and I look forward to ensuring SUNY continues to be a driving force in achieving that mission." ​

"In New York, we know that diversity is our greatest strength, and that by making our institutions more diverse, we make them stronger," Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said.  "The SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute will attract promising leaders, support their ambitions, and cultivate the next generation of leaders. This innovative institute will serve as a national model for the rest of the nation to follow for empowering Hispanic leaders in higher education. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to bring even more diversity to leadership in the SUNY system and throughout the state of New York."

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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