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Havidán Rodríguez Begins as the University’s 4th Leader in 5 Years

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The latest of University at Albany’s presidents, Havidán Rodríguez assumed his position on Monday, Sept. 11.

Rodríguez’s position as the 20th president of the university follows from a summer of traveling between his post at a Texas university and Albany.

In June, Rodríguez was announced to fill this position at a SUNY Board of Trustees meeting. He toured the university over the summer and spoke at convocation in August.

At convocation, Rodríguez joked in an interview that the first thing on his agenda is expressing his relief: “I’m so happy we’ve finished with this back-and-forth!”

The new president expressed that, as he settles into his position, he’ll be receptive to university and community concerns as well as plans for development.

“The first few months is getting me to know the university constituent groups, external constituent groups, and getting them to know me as well,” Rodríguez said.

The plan Rodríguez indicated for this is a listening campaign, which he said he was looking into at the time of convocation.

Among the university community, one concern is parking. During the convocation interview, the new president said, “Parking is an issue every place you go.”

As the university grows, there is the concern for an adequate amount of parking spaces. For instance, there under 80 parking spots on Alumni Quad, which housed over 800 students last year.

Drawn to growth, Rodríguez talked of his interest in the opportunity for growth and expansion in interviews at the BOT meeting in June.

Before coming to UAlbany, Rodríguez helped merge two Texas universities into the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he was founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

UTRGV has over 27,500 students while UAlbany has just over 17,000.

UAlbany has expanded in previous years with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

This year, CEAS added a new environmental department, which is being developed and will need state approval.

Amid the growth in CEAS and CEHC, Rodríguez mentioned UAlbany’s other colleges, saying they are essential to the university’s growth and development.

Communications Specialist Mike Nolan said that there was confusion about Rodríguez’s start date, but that it was on Sept. 11. Nolan said, “The first few days he was just kind of getting his feet on the ground and unpacking.”

In a Twitter video posted on Sept. 14, the day Rodríguez started meeting with the campus community, he said, “Together, collaboratively, we can write the next few chapters in this great institution.”

 

Correction, Sept. 20: An earlier version of this article left out the word “them” in Rodríguez’s quote in the sixth paragraph. Rodríguez also began at the university on Sept. 11 but did not meet with the campus community until Sept. 14. 

 

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Elise Coombs, a Syracuse native, is the editor-in-chief of the Albany Student Press. She is the co-Vice President of the UAlbany Mock Trial team, a member of Presidential Honors Society, and a peer mentor for the pre-law section of Writing and Critical Inquiry. After her time at UAlbany, she plans to go to law school and become a First Amendment lawyer.

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