By Abby Lorch | October 10, 2022
The University at Albany has received Seal of Excelencia Certification.
Photo Credit: UAlbany News Center Website
On Sept. 30, the University at Albany was awarded the Seal of Excelencia, a prestigious designation recognizing the university’s consistent efforts to facilitate Latino student success.
Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization and leading advocate for Latino success in higher education, recently announced their list of 2022 Seal Certified institutions. The national announcement, which took place in Washington, D.C., granted six new and nine previously-certified colleges membership in a diverse community of schools working to serve their Latino student populations. UAlbany is the first SUNY, as well as the first research institution in the Northeast, to join the selective group of 30 Seal Certified colleges and universities nationwide.
“Seal of Excelencia certified institutions have been able to articulate and demonstrate they are modeling the behavior we need to see to accelerate Latino student success,” Excelencia in Education CEO Deborah Santiago said of the designation.
To be honored with the seal, institutions must evidence intentional service to Latino students by excelling in three crucial areas: data, practice and leadership. The certification is built upon a framework of data showing exceptional representation of Latino students, policies reflecting commitment to their success, and directional practices contributing to an inclusive campus culture.
“Seeking the Seal of Excelencia is no small task,” UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez said while accepting the three-year certification. “At the end of the day, what brought us to this moment is the University at Albany’s longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is all part of a multifaceted, holistic, and data-driven approach to student success.”
UAlbany’s enrollment data, programs, and institutional mission all indicate dedication to Latino student success and campus diversity. In August, UAlbany welcomed its most diverse freshman class in history. A record 45% of first-year students from the Class of 2026 come from historically underrepresented groups; 21.4% of this year’s freshmen are Hispanic or Latino, compared to just 13.6% in 2012. The university has also recently seen increased enrollment of Latino students in its Living-Learning Communities and Honors College.
The success of UAlbany’s campaign for the Seal of Excelencia can in part be attributed to its many programs and administrative groups designed to enfranchise minority students and empower their educational achievement. One such group, the President’s Advisory Committee for Latina and Latino Student Success, was responsible for the university’s Seal application. The impact of the university’s Educational Opportunity Program, which was specifically honored by Excelencia in Education in 2020, was similarly vital in securing the Seal.
Despite this prestigious achievement, President Rodríguez emphasized in his acceptance speech that when it comes to Latino student success at UAlbany, the work is far from over.
“The Seal of Excelencia is a tremendous responsibility that we take extremely seriously, and we will be working very hard to continue living up to the designation and building on our success and our excelencia,” Rodríguez said.