First Hispanic SUNY Four-Year College President Named

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Dr. Havidán Rodríguez

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the appointment of Dr. Havidán Rodríguez as the first Hispanic president of any SUNY four-year college in New York State history. 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. 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,” 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.”

The National Diversity Council 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 Rodríguez was the only academic administrator to make the list.

“I am honored and privileged to have been chosen to serve as the University at Albany’s next president,” 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.”

Rodríguez comes to the University at Albany with more than 25 years of experience in higher education. Prior to that, 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, 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 more than 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.
“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,” said SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall. “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.”

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.

“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,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “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.”

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