Purchase College is Named 2022
HIS Leader by Fulbright Program

Purchase College, SUNY is proud to be named a Fulbright HSI Leader by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). This designation recognizes the noteworthy engagement that selected Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) have achieved with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. 


Fulbright HSI Leader status has been conferred on 43 HSIs, including Purchase College, because they have demonstrated noteworthy engagement with Fulbright exchange participants during the 2021-2022 academic year and have promoted Fulbright Program opportunities on campus. Purchase College is one of very few undergraduate-focused institutions to receive this status. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs Ethan Rosenzweig, speaking on behalf of ECA, which sponsors the Fulbright Program, announced the Fulbright HSI Leaders on October 10 during an international plenary session at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference in San Diego. 


In his remarks, DAS Rosenzweig noted the strong relationship between HSIs and the Fulbright Program stating, “The Fulbright Program’s success with HSIs is built on real collaboration with you and your institutions.” He thanked HSI leaders for their collaboration and for recognizing the value of the Fulbright Program in deepening campus internationalization efforts; and he recognized Fulbright campus liaisons and advisors for recruiting and advising applicants.  He also commended current Fulbright participants and alumni from and hosted by HSIs for sharing “their expertise, experience, perspective, and enthusiasm with their institutions, their communities, and their societies.” 


Purchase College President Dr. Milagros “Milly” Peña (in photo), received the Fulbright-Hays/Garcia Robles Research Award for her work studying Latina activists in Mexico and Texas. Dr. Peña said, “As a Fulbright recipient, my international research provided me with a whole new outlook and a deep appreciation which enriched me both professionally and personally. I’m proud of the work Purchase is doing to ensure that students and faculty have opportunities for globally focused education and cross-cultural experiences both here on campus and abroad.” 


In the past few years, Purchase College students Caleb Dowden and William Byram were awarded Fulbright awards. Both dance majors, Dowden went to Benin, West Africa to study how movement can reclaim history while linking the African Diaspora with the African Continent.  William Byram is pursuing an MFA in Choreography at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in the United Kingdom. His proposed thesis project will focus on adapting a 1999 Human Rights Watch interview on men’s experiences with sexual assault. 


Professor Laura Ricciardi, who is an Assistant Professor of Arts Management, received a Fulbright Scholar award to spend the 2021-2022 academic year teaching at the University of Messina in Sicily, Italy where she taught a course on comparative intellectual property and cultural heritage law and conducting research on fascist-era monuments throughout Italy, bringing her work on the legal landscape of contested monuments in the United States into a global context. 


Renowned Beninese dancer and choreographer Marcel Gbeffa has been named a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R) for the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance for 2022-23. During his residency, Mr. Gbeffa will teach courses, assist in curriculum development, guest lecture, and choregraph new work for Conservatory of Dance students. 


Purchase College was recently awarded a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Award by the U.S. Department of Education, which will fund six Purchase College faculty members and six New York area K-12 teachers to participate in a four-week curriculum development and immersive foreign language program in Benin, West Africa, to take place in summer 2023. Participants will also explore the intersection of Beninese languages, culture, history, educational systems, politics, and more, and bring back their knowledge in the form of new and revised courses designed for the levels they teach. 


The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program. Since its inception over 75 years ago, the Fulbright Program has given over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad, exchanging ideas, and contributing to finding solutions to complex international challenges.


Each year, the U.S. Congress appropriates funds to the U.S. Department of State to sponsor the Fulbright Program. Many foreign governments contribute substantially as well. Additional funding and in-kind funding is provided by U.S. and foreign host institutions, non-governmental organizations, private organizations, corporate partnerships, and individual donors.


Over many years the Fulbright Program has designed and implemented a wide range of initiatives to increase participant diversity and inclusion. The program strives to ensure that its participants reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. Fulbrighters come from all backgrounds and are selected through an open, merit-based competition, regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Information on the Fulbright Program’s diversity and inclusion initiatives is detailed on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website.