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‘The Future is Bright’

Incoming President Havidán Rodríguez's Address to the SUNY Board

Havidán Rodríguez addresses the SUNY board after being appointed UAlbany's 20th president. (Photos by Carlo de Jesus)

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 26, 2017) — Last week the State University of New York’s Board of Trustees appointed Havidán Rodríguez as the 20th president of the University at Albany, effective in September.
Here are Rodríguez’s remarks to the board:

Good afternoon to everybody. Muy buenas tardes. It’s certainly buenas tardes.

It’s a great pleasure to be here with you this afternoon and truly it’s amazing to be back in the great state of New York where I spent a part of my youth growing up. You know, I wanted to be sure that I provided the correct information, so I actually called my mother this morning and I said “Mom” — or how we say in Spanish — “Mami, I want to make sure that I get this information correct. I lived in the Bronx for about 10 years?”

Sí, hijo — yes, son — from when you were about 5 to when you were about 15.”


Rodríguez speaks to the news media on June 21.

I lived primarily in a single-mother household. My mother was a hard worker — taxi driver in Manhattan, you can’t get any better than that, right? And my mother, although she did not complete an education, she showed us the value of education.

And so today, by being honored with this very prestigious position, the board is honoring all those hardworking men and women throughout our country who sacrifice day in and day out, and they tell their sons and daughters, “¡Sí se puede! — yes you can do it.”

And so I am very delighted to be here with you. I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected as the 20th president of the University at Albany. It is also with a great deal of pride and enthusiasm that I welcome the opportunity to serve in the premier university system of the State University of New York.

I certainly ascribe very strongly to SUNY’s five priority areas: access, completion, success, inquiry and engagement.

These need to be the driving force of everything that we do throughout the SUNY system. We need to provide the very best education, the very best academic experiences for our students, and to ensure that we graduate knowledgeable, successful, engaged and contributing global citizens.

The University at Albany is an outstanding institution of higher education, recognized nationally and globally as an excellent university. The future is bright at the University at Albany and it is certainly a university on the move. And it will continue to grow, strengthen its academic and research programs, and increase educational access and opportunities for all our students.

One of our goals is to increase the visibility, the reach, the impact of the University at Albany, not only at the local, but at the state, the national and the global levels as well. Community engagement will be a critical component for the success of the University at Albany, with a focus on building partnerships and creating communities throughout the state and beyond.

Collaboration, communication and coordination at all levels will be a key feature of the University at Albany. Excellence, diversity and inclusion will continue to be critical elements that will guide us and impact every decision that we make at our institution.

Transformation, impact, growth and success will drive the University at Albany into its new and great future.

I look forward to working with our faculty, our staff, students, alumni and community members to ensure that we continue to make significant and positive progress as one of the premier institutions of higher education in this country.

I am truly excited about the possibilities at the University at Albany. The future is promising. The future is bright.

Yes, there are challenges but the possibilities are also great and they are exciting. I know that everyone in this room and those watching via webcast share the sense of enthusiasm, excitement and commitment. And thus I will count on your support. I will count on your active engagement to ensure the continued success of our institution, the University at Albany.

I would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Chairman McCall, the members of the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Zimpher for your confidence. It is truly and greatly appreciated. I am also grateful to the chair of the search committee [Michael Castellana]. And to all the members of the search committee: I sincerely appreciate your work and I am very thankful for your decision. Thank you very much.

I am also looking forward to working with our chancellor-elect, Dr. Kristina Johnson.

In concluding, I would not be here without the outstanding work, strong commitment, amazing support and tremendous success of my dear friends and colleagues at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. It is only through their relentless work, their active engagement, their commitment and their inspiration that today is possible.

I also want to thank my amazing wife, and just FYI, you’ve hired two for the price of one. Rosy [Lopez] is actively engaged in the university community. She is a strong supporter. She will be someone that you will also be amazed with, as I have been for the past 33 years. And I can tell you that Rosy and I are very enthusiastic about becoming part of this vibrant, growing and excellent community.

It is great to be part of the SUNY and University at Albany family.

Once again, thank you very much. Muchísimas gracias.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.