Antonio Bonilla ’87 (Spanish) ’05g (Professional Studies), director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY New Paltz, will be one of five leaders in the local business, education and art communities recognized at a celebration of Hispanic Heritage in Ulster County.
The event will be held at Gaby’s Café in Ellenville, N.Y., beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 19. It is organized by Ulster County Office of Economic Development and the Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center.
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein will be on hand to help celebrate the honorees, who are recognized for their economic and cultural contributions to our communities.
Bonilla has long overseen the Educational Opportunity Program at New Paltz, which has been one of the largest and most effective such programs in the entire SUNY system at helping economically and educationally disadvantaged students come to college and thrive academically and personally.
EOP students at SUNY New Paltz show first-year retention rates (around 90 percent) and six-year graduation rates (around 65 percent) that consistently and significantly exceed the national average for all students attending public colleges and universities in the U.S.
The program’s achievements earned an important validation in 2016, when SUNY awarded funding to expand EOP by 100 students over a four year period.
Bonilla also serves as assistant coach to the SUNY New Paltz Men’s Volleyball team, which captured the Division 3 National Championship in 2016 and was named National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
The other honorees at the Ulster County Celebration of Hispanic Heritage will be:
- Mariel Fiori, Co-Founder and Managing Editor, La Voz
- Marco Ochoa, Kingston Business Owner and Community Leader
- Genaro Garcia, Ellenville Business Owner and Community Leader
- Elisa Pritzker, Artist