Albany – The State University of New York celebrates the 40th
anniversary of its Educational Opportunity Program this month. SUNY’s EOP is
the second oldest program of its type in the nation.
At 84.5 percent, first-year
retention rates for SUNY EOP students outrank the national public average by
11.5 percent and six-year graduation rates for SUNY EOP students, 62.6 percent at
doctoral degree-granting institutions, outpace the national average by more
than seven percent. Additionally, more than 2,200 EOP students maintained a
3.0 cumulative average and received honor certificates in the spring 2007
SUNY’s EOP has been creating
opportunity for educationally and economically disadvantaged students since
October 1967, when Arthur O. Eve, then a first-year assemblyman from Buffalo,
helped launch the program and open SUNY’s first office to 249 students on the Buffalo State campus.
“We are very proud of the
accomplishments of our wonderful EOP students,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor
Dr. John B. Clark. “The support provided to our students by our dedicated EOP
staff on our campuses and here at System Administration is tremendous and we
are very grateful to these outstanding professionals for their work each and
Today, more than 10,000 students
on 43 SUNY campuses are enrolled in the EOP, and since the program began, more
than 50,000 EOP students have earned degrees from SUNY campuses.
“Forty-years ago, with the
support of the New York State African-American and Hispanic Legislators, we launched
EOP with a great deal of hope on behalf of the New York’s disadvantaged”, said
EOP founder and past state Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr. Arthur O. Eve. “Tens of
thousands of students have graduated thanks, in large part, to the dedicated
women and men who staff the EOP. I am grateful to these workers
and very proud of all EOP students and Alumni.”
Westbury President Rev. Calvin O. Butts III said, “A college education is a
transformative experience, giving students the knowledge and skills upon which
lives and careers can be built. Throughout its history, SUNY’s
Educational Opportunity Program has made college possible for those who may
experience educational and financial deficits but possess a will to learn and
the drive to see themselves advance. By empowering students, EOP has
helped tens of thousands of men and women excel and embark on careers and lives
through which they have contributed mightily to the communities in which they
live and work.”
Strong demand by potential
students is another indicator of the strength and value of the program. Last
year, more than 10,700 eligible first-time students applied for EOP and SUNY
was able to enroll only 1,705.
anniversary kick-off event will be held Friday, Nov. 2, 2007 at the Marriot Hotel and Conference Center, Main Ballroom, 189
Wolf Road, Albany, NY.
Share their Successes and Achievements
event marking this occasion will take place at location, date and time to honor
EOP alumni such as Anthony Kendall, vice president of Client Services, Client Services, Mitchell and Titus, LLP, Dr. Helen Suchanick, family and occupational
medicine and Robert Jackson, member, New York City Council.
others doubt you; believe in yourself
Anthony Kendall earned an
accounting degree from Binghamton University in 1983, describes himself as “ill equipped” for the
academic rigors of Binghamton. He credits his summer EOP experience with teaching
him the study habits needed to succeed in the college classroom.
Mr. Kendall said, “Many
times, I relied on the wisdom and advice of the EOP staff. I was once told by
an EOP counselor that “when others doubt you, that’s when you must really
believe in yourself.” That statement resonates with me today.”
Currently Mr. Kendall is vice
president of Client Services, Mitchell and Titus, LLP, in Manhattan.
Overcome your fears
Dr. Helen Suchanick, SUNY
Fredonia, biology, ’89, dreamed of being a physician since she was a little
girl, but was afraid she wouldn’t achieve her goal because she a woman of
Hispanic origin. As Dr. Suchanick tells the story, “Of course, this did not
stop me, especially after learning of the Educational Opportunity Program at Fredonia State. I
realized that all people, no matter what nationality or gender, could achieve
whatever goals they dreamed of, if they put their minds to it.”
Today she owns a building in Dunkirk, where
she practices family and Occupational Medicine.
Expose yourself to new
ideas and experiences
Robert Jackson, SUNY New Paltz
class of ‘75, credits the EOP on campus with keeping him grounded and focused
and instilling a strong work ethic, a sense of responsibilities and leadership
Mr. Jackson says, “I became
the person I am today because I had a real break – I participated in the
Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY New Paltz. For me, the EOP at
SUNY New Paltz opened-up an entire new world, far removed from the inner city
of New York. I was exposed to new ideas and experiences, both in class and on
campus. I met students from all over the globe, including my wife, Faika Rifai
Jackson, who is from Tanzania.”
A co-founder of the Campaign
for Fiscal Equity, Robert Jackson is a member of the New York City Council
representing the northern Manhattan neighborhoods of Morningside Heights, West Harlem, Hamilton
Heights, Washington Heights and Inwood.
He currently chairs the Council’s Education Committee and co-chairs the
Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
“Success stories such as
these demonstrate the transformational impact that SUNY’s EOP has on students,
their families and the communities in which they live,” said SUNY Associate
Provost for Opportunity Programs Robert James, who has directed the program for
18 years. “The positive social and economic benefits of these students moving
from poverty to the middle class cannot be over emphasized.”
Furthering Equity and
SUNY will continue to
advocate for underrepresented students through the newly-created Office of
Diversity and Education Equity, which oversees SUNY’s Office of Opportunity Programs.
Dr. Pedro Cabán, a
nationally-recognized expert in the field, has been chosen to head SUNY’s
efforts in this area. He will assist ongoing system-wide efforts to align
campuses with their respective communities in order to assist underrepresented
high school graduates with access to higher educational opportunities and a
successful college experience through to graduation.
“SUNY’s commitment to
broadening access for economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented
student populations has never been stronger,” said Cabán. “SUNY can take great
pride in the accomplishments of our EOP alumni, while recognizing there is more
work to do in furthering educational equity for disadvantaged students.”
For more information on SUNY’s
EOP, please see the EOP Brochure
and Graduation & Retention Rates.
the State University of New York
The State University of New
York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States,
educating more than 417,500 students in 7,669 degree and certificate programs
on 64 campuses. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu