Educational Opportunity Program Director Antonio Bonilla announces plans to retire

Antonio Bonilla ’87 (Spanish) ’05g (Professional Studies), director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY New Paltz, has announced that he plans to retire effective June 21, 2024.

A two-time SUNY New Paltz alumnus, Bonilla has held multiple roles at his alma mater since being hired as head coach of Men’s Volleyball in 1989. He joined the EOP team in 1993 and has led EOP as director since 2008, serving as a principal advocate for EOP students and embodying the Program’s mission to make our university accessible, welcoming and supportive for all, especially those from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

In his time leading the Educational Opportunity Program at New Paltz, it has grown to become one of the largest and most effective such programs in the SUNY system. Our EOP students consistently show first-year retention rates and six-year graduation rates that significantly exceed the national average for all students attending public colleges and universities in the U.S.

Bonilla has contributed to numerous successful initiatives and outcomes over the years. There have been program expansions supported at the state level; fundraising efforts that helped cover expenses that can make the difference between students persisting and stepping away from study; celebrations and other special events bringing program alumni back to their alma mater to meet with students; and external validation and awards for special projects and other programs.

And most importantly, Bonilla and his colleagues have worked closely with thousands of SUNY New Paltz Educational Opportunity Program students to help them progress from first-year students to degree-holding alumni. EOP at New Paltz has a well-earned reputation as a supportive and caring community where each individual student receives personalized resources and guidance to help them achieve their higher education goals, while also feeling included in a cohort that is like a home away from home.

For his efforts, Bonilla has been decorated with honors including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, an alumni Heritage Award, and recognition from a variety of regional agencies.

Beyond his leadership role in EOP, Bonilla is a dedicated member of the campus community who has served on many faculty/staff committees and as an advisor to multiple student groups.

He is also a New Paltz Athletics Hall of Famer: A star volleyball player as a student, who went on to serve a head coach and assistant coach on teams including our 2016 and 2019 Men’s Volleyball NCAA Champions. He was named National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2016.


Antonio Bonilla (center-left, in an orange shirt) with EOP and Scholars’ Mentorship Program members at a 2023 Field Day


We will share information soon about plans for the future leadership of the Educational Opportunity Program.

Please join us in congratulating Antonio Bonilla on his upcoming retirement and his incredible career as a SUNY New Paltz Hawk.