Congratulations to alumna Milagros “Milly” Peña ’86, PhD ’90 on becoming the sixth president of Purchase College this past fall. She is the first Hispanic woman to lead a State University of New York college. Previously, she served for five years as dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at University of California at Riverside. Peña earned her master’s and PhD in sociology from Stony Brook University. She also was the first in her family not only to graduate from college, but also to receive a high school diploma, having grown up in Manhattan as the daughter of Dominican immigrants.
Given her experience, she has a deep understanding of the power and importance of education as well as the arts, as they shaped her education and academic career, making her the ideal choice to lead Purchase College. Her personal experience has driven her throughout her career to
determinedly pursue and promote cross-disciplinary scholarship, advance diversity and inclusion, and stress the importance of higher education institutions as community pillars.
Peña has a long history of scholarship and mentoring. Before joining UC Riverside, she spent 16 years at the University of Florida, where she served as faculty — director of the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research and ultimately as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Integral to her role as president, Peña is focusing on connecting with her community and getting to know her students. Follow her journey @PurchasePres.
“While the journey to my success was paved by the love of my parents and grandmother, I also was graced with great mentors at Stony Brook. Professors Michael Schwartz and Judy Tanur in particular inspired me to embrace my potential with their expectations for excellence and their support for students with my background.”
– Milly Peña ’86, PhD ’90, President, Purchase College