At SOMOS Conference, Governor Cuomo Announces Appointment of University at Albany President Havidán Rodriguez as Executive Director of the SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute

November 7, 2019

From the office of Governor Cuomo

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

At the SOMOS conference in Puerto Rico, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the appointment of University at Albany President Dr. Havidán Rodríguez to serve as Executive Director of the State University of New York Hispanic Leadership Institute. President Rodríguez, who will start his term on January 1, 2020, will be 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.   

"We created the Hispanic Leadership Institute because in New York we recognize that inclusivity and diversity is our greatest strength and we must leverage that asset in the SUNY system and beyond," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm grateful to President Rodríguez for taking on this additional leadership role and I look forward to the great work he and his colleagues will do to continue empowering the next generation of Hispanic leaders."

President Havidán Rodríguez said, "The Hispanic Leadership Institute is a critical asset for SUNY as it seeks to increase pathways to success for rising stars across the system. I am honored to play a role to help ensure the success of this important initiative to cultivate a new generation of SUNY leaders."

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

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

Individualized Support: The Institute develops individualized assessment and development programs for current or emerging Latino leaders, to ensure their progress and success.

Awareness and Education Activities: The Institute sponsors 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 works 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 works 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 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 strives to undertake and sponsor research in the area of Hispanic leadership development, retention and success.

Chair of the SUNY Board of Trustees Dr. Merryl H. Tisch said, "With President Rodriguez's nearly three decades of experience and leadership in higher education, we are thrilled that he will continue his dedicated work to lead this prestigious organization to uncover opportunities for Hispanic leaders throughout our campuses. As our student body becomes increasingly diverse, we are committed to ensuring that our executive leadership teams across SUNY reflect that change."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "President Rodríguez's lifelong commitment to putting knowledge to work in service of others, particularly his leadership through disaster response efforts across Latin America, makes him a perfect choice to head the SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute. He is an exemplary role model and mentor for Hispanic higher education professionals seeking to grow and advance in their careers. President Rodríguez will have the full support and resources within SUNY's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, under the direction of Senior Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Diversity Officer Teresa Miller."   

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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