SUNY Celebrates the Achievements of 46 EOP Students Honored with the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for Student Excellence

April 17, 2023

Award Recognizes Educational Opportunity Program Students for Academic Excellence and Strength in Overcoming Personal Obstacles

Students Being Recognized are Named in the 2023 EOP Student Excellence Awards Program Found Here

Video From Today’s Event is Available Here

Albany, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today recognized the achievements of 46 students in SUNY's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) who are honored with the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for Student Excellence. The award, now celebrating its fourth class of awardees, recognizes outstanding EOP students for their academic merit and perseverance.

The honor is named in memory of Norman R. McConney, Jr. (1946–2016), a graduate of the University at Albany and former assistant dean for special programs at SUNY. McConney, alongside former Assembly Deputy Speaker Arthur O. Eve, helped create the EOP as a statewide program.

“When SUNY was founded 75 years ago, the mission was to create an educational environment where all are welcome. For over 50 years, SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program has worked to make that a reality by helping students, many of whom are the first in their family to go to college, access higher education and see their degrees to completion," said SUNY Chancellor King. “When I visit our campuses, I am continuously awed and inspired by the dedicated, hardworking EOP students I meet. EOP is a ticket to upward mobility for New York students, which is why I am honored to recognize these students who stand as role models demonstrating what is possible. With the financial support of New York State, and the resources provided at SUNY campuses, New Yorkers have an opportunity to further their education. My congratulations to each awardee for taking that step to go to college and succeed."

The SUNY Board Trustees said, “The success of SUNY’s EOP students is a true testament to the dedication they have to their education. Our EOP students are shining examples of what is possible with a SUNY education thanks in part to the support of high-quality faculty and staff who are dedicated to their success each and every day. With the support of EOP, these students will always have a place at SUNY from the moment they first walk through the door to the time they walk across the graduation stage and beyond. EOP is a critical part of SUNY’s mission to provide an equitable and affordable education to every New Yorker and it continues to break through the barriers holding students back from obtaining a college education which has the potential to change their lives."

In addition to honoring this distinguished group of students, SUNY celebrated Dr. Arthur O. Eve and his life’s work. Dr. Eve is the founder of the Educational Opportunity Program and is this year’s Honorary Norman R. McConney, Jr. EOP Student Excellence Award. Dr. Eve created one of the oldest, largest, and most successful college access programs in the nation. Thanks to his leadership, New Yorkers from underserved communities have a chance to achieve a college education.

Leecia Eve said, “As the proud daughter of one of the visionaries behind EOP, I am thrilled to see the impact that this program has had on more than 80,000 students since its inception. My father believed that one of the most important things we can do as a society is ensure that all students have meaningful educational opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential. The EOP continues to fulfill that promise by providing academic, financial, and personal support to remarkable students who may have otherwise been overlooked. Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees, who will no doubt go on to make positive contributions within and beyond their communities."

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “I would like to extend my congratulations to the 46 EOP students who have received the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for Student Excellence. This award is named after Norman R. McConney, Jr., who worked alongside today’s honorary awardee and EOP founder, Dr. Arthur O. Eve, to establish EOP as a statewide program. Dr. Eve and Mr. McConney spent their lives working to uplift so many New Yorkers from underserved communities, and to turn students’ dreams into a reality. Each of these students embody what Dr. Eve and Mr. McConney set out to accomplish. They have overcome so much to achieve their goals and are so deserving of this recognition. I want to give a special mention to Juan Ortiz and Samuel Rodriguez, the two fantastic awardees from my district. I wish all the honorees continued success in their academic and personal endeavors."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “Congratulations to these exceptional students on their hard work and accomplishments. One of my top priorities since I became speaker is to ensure that every student in New York has the resources necessary to get an education that will set them up for future success—for many New Yorkers, EOP opens that door to higher education. We will continue working to keep that door open so every year we see more students like these awardees celebrated for their academic achievements."

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee said, “The SUNY EOP program provides special opportunities for young men and women who face significant obstacles in pursuing their higher education goals. We must help these students take full advantage of what our SUNY system has to offer. I want to congratulate the 46 students receiving this award for their hard work and commitment. Their success is a shining example of why inclusivity has and always will be a core value of our public higher education system. We must continue to invest in our higher education system"

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee said, “The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) serves more than 10,000 students every year at SUNY campuses throughout New York State. These 46 students represent the promise of the SUNY system; founded on equity, affordability, and uplifting students from a wide swathe of backgrounds as one of our greatest social mobility tools. I congratulate these students and as Higher Education Chair in the Assembly, I look forward to continuing to secure funding that enhances our student experience and builds even more bridges from college to career for our graduates."

Senator Robert Jackson said, “With the support of EOP and New York State, these students can build a better future, transforming their lives and showing what is possible with a SUNY education. The success of SUNY’s EOP students is a testament to their dedication and a reminder of the power of education to unlock opportunities. These students are shining examples of what is possible when we break down the barriers which can limit access to higher education and provide the necessary resources and support to help students reach their dreams. As we celebrate their accomplishments, we also recognize the transformative power of education and the importance of SUNY's Educational Opportunity Program in providing New Yorkers with the opportunity to pursue a college degree."

New York State Senator Robert Jackson is this year’s Norman McConney Awards keynote speaker. Senator Jackson, a Democrat who represents the 31st District in New York City, is a shining example of what is possible with the support of EOP. Senator Jackson attended the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1975 and credits his high school track coach with putting him on the right track and ensuring he attended college. He is also an EOP alumnus.

The student speaker is Joshua Goodwin, an EOP sophomore majoring in Liberal Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Corning Community College. Upon graduation from Corning, Goodwin plans to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a degree in political science. Goodwin seeks to build a career focused on developing policies and programs aimed at reducing poverty and bringing equity to diverse, underrepresented communities.

Since its inception in 1967, the EOP has provided access, academic support, and supplemental financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. In its 56-year history, the EOP has served more than 80,000 students and evolved into one of the country's most successful college access programs.

About Norman R. McConney, Jr.

SUNY awards Educational Opportunity Program students for their academic achievements in honor of Norman R. McConney, Jr. due to his legacy of public service, which encompassed several statewide initiatives to benefit underrepresented New Yorkers, including programs to prepare minority high school students for careers in the sciences and medicine and scholarships for students underrepresented in the licensed professions. Mr. McConney is also credited with helping found the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus, which later became the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. 

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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