The tour was led by President Donald P. Christian and included a group of staff and students, who spoke with Heastie and Cahill about the success of student-focused initiatives such as the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the second-largest program supporting economically disadvantaged students among SUNY comprehensive colleges, and about the positive impact of completed and in-progress campus construction projects that continue to reshape the College.
“It was great spending time at SUNY New Paltz,” said Speaker Heastie. “I had some great times visiting as a student at Stony Brook years ago and the views are still majestic. I’m encouraged by all the development and capital projects happening around campus. It’s important that our state universities are comparable to schools across the country. Dedicated legislators, like Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, are committed to improving the lives of students at New Paltz and state universities throughout New York, and I will continue to do my part to support their efforts.”
Speaker Heastie, who represents the 83rd Assembly District (AD) in Bronx, N.Y., came to New Paltz as part of his effort to better know the state by visiting landmarks in every district outside of New York City, following his appointment as speaker in February 2015. His visit to the 103rd AD, represented by Assemblymember Cahill, marked the conclusion of this undertaking.
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome the Speaker of the Assembly and my friend, Carl Heastie, to our vibrant and diverse district,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “Speaker Heastie has shown a strong commitment to the greater Hudson Valley area during his tenure, and this visit allows him to see firsthand the positive impact that recent investments in agriculture, technology, academics and tourism have had on our region.”
The group started from the Atrium, a center of campus culture since its opening in 2010, and went on to observe progress at the renovated Sojourner Truth Library, the new Wooster Building and the new Science Building.
“We were delighted to provide Speaker Heastie with a campus tour during his visit through Assemblymember Cahill’s district,” said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian. “We appreciate Assemblymember Cahill’s long-time advocacy for his alma mater and the decision to showcase SUNY New Paltz as part of today’s visit. The College is a top-performing public university in the Hudson Valley, and with more than 90% of our student enrollment from in-state, a resource for the Hudson Valley and all of New York. We’re grateful for the speaker’s support for public universities and our programs that enhance the success of all students.”
EOP at New Paltz is one such program, providing annual support to hundreds of students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. During the tour, EOP Director Antonio Bonilla spoke with the speaker and Assemblymember Cahill about the value of this work and about the College’s efforts to ensure that EOP can continue to grow.