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SUNY BLI Establishes Hazel Dukes Fellowship


The State University of New York Black Leadership Institute will establish the Dr. Hazel Dukes Fellowship, naming one exceptional individual from each cohort in honor of Dr. Hazel Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference and former member of the SUNY Board of Trustees. Governor Hochul also announced that the next SUNY portrait competition will be held in honor of Dr. Hazel Dukes, and the winning portrait will be displayed in the H. Carl McCall SUNY building in Albany in honor of her service. Governor Hochul made this announcement during her remarks to the 53rd annual conference of the New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislators (NYSABPRHAL) in Albany.

“For her entire career, Dr. Hazel Dukes has been an unrelenting force in the fight for civil rights and equality in New York State,” Governor Hochul said. “Through this fellowship and portrait, we are honoring the legacy of Dr. Dukes and ensuring her critical work is enshrined for generations to come.”

“Dr. Hazel Dukes has been a tireless champion in the fight for civil and racial justice,” said Lieutenant Governor Delgado. “She has moved mountains in order to further equality and equity in this state. Her achievements will inspire New Yorkers and our SUNY students for generations to come.”

The inaugural Black Leadership Institute (BLI) cohort will begin their program in March 2024. Starting this year, the BLI will honor one exceptional student every cycle as a Dr. Hazel Dukes Fellow who embodies the values, accomplishments, passion, clear thinking, and dedication to the cause of diversity, equity and justice that have defined Dr. Dukes’ career and life. The steering committee will announce their selection at graduation.

The SUNY Black Leadership Institute was established as a part of Governor Hochul’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget to identify, foster, and support the development and retention of current and emerging leaders for an increasingly diverse university system and nation. Additionally, SUNY will hold its next portrait competition for students and alumni in honor of Dr. Dukes, and the winning portrait will be displayed in the H. Carl McCall SUNY building in Albany. SUNY will launch the competition this fall.

Dr. Hazel Dukes currently serves as President of the NAACP New York State Conference and as a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors, a member of the NAACP Executive Committee, and as an active member of various NAACP board sub-committees. Through her service, advocacy, and mentorship, Dr. Dukes has dedicated her life to fighting for equality and improving the quality of life for New Yorkers.


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