SUNY Receives National Award Recognizing its Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

September 15, 2015

Buffalo State College Among Institutions Honored

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that SUNY System Administration has – for the fourth consecutive year – received the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, comes one week after the SUNY Board of Trustees adopted a sweeping new policy that aims to make SUNY the most inclusive state system of higher education in the country.

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said, "SUNY is committed to being the most inclusive system of higher education in the country, and we are grateful for this prestigious national recognition of our efforts. This honor from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is a testament to the work System Administration and all of our campuses have accomplished and a positive sign of what is yet to come under our new policy."

Chancellor Zimpher said, "As we implement a sweeping new inclusion policy and a Completion Agenda with the goal of awarding 150,000 SUNY degrees per year by 2020, SUNY’s commitment to diversity is stronger than ever before. Thank you to the many faculty and staff across New York whose leadership has led to SUNY receiving this award for four consecutive years."

"We appreciate this recognition and at the same time, recognize that we have more work to do," said Alexander N. Cartwright, SUNY provost and executive vice chancellor. "SUNY’s new diversity, equity and inclusion policy will place a chief diversity officer on every campus and requires the creation of strategic diversity, equity and inclusion plans for each campus as well as at system administration."

"The HEED award is a significant accomplishment and receiving it for the fourth time is a very proud moment for SUNY," said Carlos Medina, chief diversity officer and senior associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at SUNY. "This is on the heels of our diversity and inclusion policy being passed by the Board of Trustees. I believe SUNY is well on its way on becoming the most inclusive system of higher education in the nation." 

SUNY Buffalo State College also received the award.

"The fact that Buffalo State has been named a HEED recipient for the third year in a row can be attributed to ongoing campus-wide efforts to address diversity in numerous forms and to continue to make Buffalo State the kind of campus in which all students, faculty, and staff feel included," said Karen A. Clinton Jones, Buffalo State’s chief diversity officer and director of the Equity and Campus Diversity Office. "From hosting the unique Anne Frank social justice conference each fall to offering a variety of programs targeted toward first-generation and low-income students, to the research efforts of our faculty, our international and study abroad programs, and collaborative partnerships with community based organizations, Buffalo State always has diversity front of mind."

"The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion. We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across a campus," said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

About INSIGHT Into Diversity
INSIGHT Into Diversity, celebrating its 40th year in 2014, is the largest and oldest diversity publication in higher education today. Known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, this is the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across campuses. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at

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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