EOP Honored as ‘Example of Excelencia’
The University at Albany’s Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) was honored as a finalist in Excelencia in Education’s 2020 Examples of Excelencia. The program was recognized for strategies that advance equity for Latinx students, and was one of 20 programs nationwide named as finalists.
UAlbany’s EOP program, which began in 1968, served nearly 900 students last year, providing individualized academic support, advisement and mentoring for New York State students from educationally and economically disadvantaged areas. More than 45 percent students in the program are Latinx.
“For more than 50 years UAlbany’s Educational Opportunities Program has set the standard for innovative academic support services and interventions for student success, demonstrating the power of education to change lives and to increase economic opportunity,” said UAlbany Provost Carol Kim. “We congratulate our EOP staff and students on their selection for this signal honor and well-deserved national recognition. Your excellence benefits the entire institution and inspires all of us to higher levels of commitment to equity and inclusion.”
UAlbany’s EOP has a graduation rate of nearly 80 percent and a retention rate in the 90th percentile. EOP graduates have gone on to prestigious graduate programs at colleges including Johns Hopkins, Boston University, Columbia University and Stanford University.
"As first-generation college students who grew up in the same low-income neighborhoods that many of our students come from, our dedicated EOP staff’s primary mission is helping students achieve life changing success,” said Maritza Martinez, director of the EOP program. “The legacy of the program’s achievements is born out of the understanding that no one student and no one program can do this alone. We know that while circumstance created an environment of hardship, the opportunity for a better way of life has, and will, continue to come for our EOP students who do not give up on themselves and who are open to following the guidance of those who came before them.”
Excelencia in Education is a nonprofit educational organization based in Washington, DC, and dedicated to accelerating Latinx student success in higher education by promoting student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. The organization began its Examples of Excelencia awards program in 2005.
“Identifying and advancing what works is central to Excelencia’s tactical plan to accelerate Latino student success,” said Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education. “We look to these evidence-based practices and the leaders working directly with students and community as exemplars of what others can do to ensure our students are served well.”
Since 2005, Excelencia in Education has recognized more than 300 programs for their impact in accelerating Latinx student success, and raised and awarded $2 million to programs making a difference for Latinx students.
This year, Excelencia received nominations for 112 programs in 24 states, DC and Puerto Rico. UAlbany’s EOP program was chosen in the baccalaureate category, competing against other four-year institutions.
UAlbany and 19 other finalists were chosen by a national selection committee of higher education leaders, grantmakers and stakeholders on the basis of the strength of innovative, intentional, culturally relevant, and effective high-impact practices tailored to Latinx students and their communities.
“Being recognized by Excelencia in Higher Education is both an honor and a tribute to over 52 years of never forgetting the mission," Martinez said.