The SUNY Board of Trustees named Milagros “Milly” Peña as the next president of SUNY Purchase on May 29. Peña will be the first Hispanic woman to lead a SUNY college. She comes to the position with more than 20 years of higher education leadership. Most recently, she served as dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. She succeeds longtime SUNY Purchase President Thomas Schwarz who retired in 2019.
During her time at UC Riverside, Peña demonstrated a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and community engagement.
“These characteristics define Dr. Peña, who now joins one of the crown jewels of our campuses as the newest President of Purchase College, and I am confident she will bring all her talents to inspire and guide our entire campus community to new heights,” SUNY Board of Trustees Chair Merryl H. Tisch said in a statement.
Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, congratulated the college on Dr. Peña’s selection.
“Welcome to Dr. Peña and congratulations to SUNY Purchase on the selection of such a qualified and inspirational new President,’’ said Gordon. “We are eager to continue working with SUNY Purchase and collaborating with them and with Dr. Peña on future endeavors.”
Peña earned her bachelor’s degree at Iona College, a master’s degree from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate in sociology from Stony Brook University. Before working at UC Riverside, Peña spent 16 years at the University of Florida as the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Peña thanked the SUNY Board of Trustees following her appointment.
“Purchase College is everything a liberal arts education can offer — where excellence and exploration are encouraged as one journey to fulfill one’s potential. I am proud to be able to join my colleagues at Purchase College in joining in that journey,” Peña said.