Governor Cuomo Announces Inaugural Class of SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellows

March 9, 2018

From the office of Governor Cuomo

11 SUNY Leaders from Eight Colleges & Universities Selected for Inaugural Class

Group to Be Recognized at the 31st Annual Bienvenida at the SOMOS El Futuro Conference

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the inaugural 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 group will be recognized in Albany this weekend at The 31st Annual Bienvenida at the SOMOS El Futuro Conference.

"In New York, we know that diversity is our greatest asset and this groundbreaking program will ensure that the leadership at SUNY will reflect the strength of New York's diverse communities," Governor Cuomo said. "This fellowship will give New York's future leaders the tools and training necessary to succeed and lead 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. The SUNY HLI will also work with the SUNY Chief Diversity Officer to help ensure that search committees are trained to successfully recruit top Hispanic candidates to leadership positions within the university system.

The 2018 HLI Fellows are:

  • Jeanette Altarriba, University at Albany
  • Alfredo Medina, University at Albany
  • Marla Lujan, SUNY College of Human Ecology at Cornell University
  • Janice Rivera, Farmingdale State College
  • Carmen S. Rivera, SUNY Fredonia
  • Alfredo Balarin, Hudson Valley Community College
  • Miguel Alonso, Nassau Community College
  • Liz Iglesias, Nassau Community College
  • Genette Alvarez-Ortiz, Nassau Community College
  • Andre Melendez, SUNY Polytechnic Institute
  • Phil Ortiz, SUNY System Administration

SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall said, "There is a considerable amount of excitement in the work that will come forth from the Hispanic Leadership Institute, and we are pleased to celebrate the inaugural class of fellows from across SUNY. SUNY is continuing to build on its diversity of students and faculty, and through the fellowship and other targeted programs, we will support and provide opportunities to more leaders from the Hispanic and LatinX communities. My congratulations to the first class of fellows."

SUNY Chancellor Dr. Kristina Johnson said, "There are mentors and there are role models. All individuals can be mentors, but role models are individuals that look like us - they make it possible for us to see ourselves in their role. The Hispanic Leadership Institute is an example of SUNY's commitment to becoming the most inclusive university in the country by providing Latino role models at the highest levels of leadership."

Ricardo Azziz, Chief Officer of Academic Health and Hospital Affairs at SUNY, and Director of the SUNY HLI, said, "This is an exciting and transformative time to be a Hispanic or LatinX leader in higher education. I look forward to working with our inaugural cohort of fellows to foster the development of emerging leaders for SUNY and the State of New York."

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force said, "Governor Cuomo and I know that diversity is New York's greatest strength and that our institutions, particularly those in leadership positions, should reflect the diverse nature of the rest of the state. These fellows are an important step towards making New York an inclusive state that works for everyone in order to build a better future for all New Yorkers."

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, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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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