Appointment Follows Governor’s Launch of the SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute Designed to Recruit and Prepare Next Generation of Latino Leaders
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the appointment of Dr. Havidán Rodríguez as the first Hispanic president of any SUNY four-year college in New York State history. Dr. Rodríguez’s appointment as the 20th president of the University at Albany follows the launch of the Governor’s SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute, charged with developing and supporting the next generation of executive-level Latino leaders across the SUNY system. Dr. Rodríguez joins UAlbany following 25 years of experience as a leader in higher education, previously serving as the founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

«Dr. Rodríguez is a proven leader with over 25 years in higher education and will bring the experience, talent and expertise we need to keep the University at Albany moving forward,» Governor Cuomo said. «The SUNY system is one of the crown jewels of New York, and by working with Dr. Rodríguez we will continue to bring it to new heights and ensure the best education possible for our students. I congratulate him on this history-making appointment, and look forward to working together in the future.»

«I am honored and privileged to have been chosen to serve as the University at Albany’s next president,» Dr. Rodríguez said. «UAlbany has an outstanding reputation among the nation’s research universities. I thank Governor Cuomo, Chairman McCall, Chancellor Zimpher, and the Board of Trustees for their confidence in me. I am also very grateful to Michael Castellana and the search committee, and I am looking forward to working with our new Chancellor, Dr. Kristina Johnson.»

The National Diversity Council today released their list of 2017 Top Latino Leaders composed of a cross section of industry experts, including business, education, policy and community leaders. Only two of the 15 recipients selected nationwide were in the field of higher education, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez was the only academic administrator to make the list.

Dr. Rodríguez comes to the University at Albany with over 25 years of experience in higher education, most recently serving as the founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Havidán Rodríguez is the Founding Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and a tenured professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Prior to that, Dr. Rodríguez served as President, Ad Interim, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas – Pan American. Before arriving at UTPA, Dr. Rodríguez served as the Deputy Provost, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and International Programs, and Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware, where he also directed the Disaster Research Center, the oldest and one of the leading social science disaster research centers in the world. Rodríguez held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez for over a decade, and served as Director of the Minority Affairs Program for the American Sociological Association. He also has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan’s Population Fellow’s Program.

Rodríguez received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, his M.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall said, «With experience and expertise in areas that directly parallel the University at Albany’s own strengths and focus, it seems as though Dr. Rodríguez’s esteemed career has been pointing him in SUNY’s direction all along. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire SUNY family, I am honored to welcome him to the Capital District, and I look forward to our work together.»

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “Dr. Rodríguez comes to SUNY and to UAlbany with outstanding credentials, a proven record of academic as well as research excellence, and a portfolio that suits him to the job ideally. I have every confidence that Dr. Rodríguez will foster an inclusive campus environment where students, faculty and staff are inspired to the highest levels of success.»

Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, said, «Dr. Rodríguez is one of the most respected and highly-regarded leaders in higher education, and I know he will continue to build on the University of Albany’s legacy of excellence during his tenure. I congratulate Dr. Rodríguez on this well-deserved appointment, and I am proud to see more prominent Hispanic leaders take on leadership roles in SUNY and across state government. I look forward to working together with him to strengthen the SUNY system and ensure we equip generations of New York’s students with the skills they need to succeed.»

Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, said, «It is said good things come to those who wait. For 70 years New York’s Latino community has waited for executive level leadership in SUNY to mirror its growing strength.  Today with the selection of an accomplished educator and administrator such as Dr. Havidán Rodríguez to head one of our flagship research colleges, history is made.»

About the SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute

The SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute, first announced by the Governor in March, focuses on developing, retaining and promoting Hispanic leaders at SUNY for executive positions at the highest levels of 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. To meet that goal, SUNY’s Latino Leadership Advisory Council, led by Dr. Ricardo Azziz, SUNY’s Chief Officer of Academic and Hospital Affairs, works to recruit and train Hispanic leaders for the positions of university president, provost, chief financial officer, chief business officer, among others.

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 as executives at SUNY’s System Administration in Albany. The SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute also offers 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.