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Black Studies: Building on a Proud Tradition

First World Graduation

Source: First World New Paltz

The Integration and Diversity Movement: Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Minority Recruitment Program (MRP) and Black Studies at SUNY New Paltz

These three vital institutions were founded and evolved during the administrations of Dr. John Jacobson (Acting President); Dr. John Neumaier (President); William H. Sample (Director of Financial Aid and Dean of Student; Joaquin Jimenez (Director of Financial Aid). For nearly 50 years, they have helped support and guide the educational experience of thousands of New Paltz students of underrepresented backgrounds, many of whom became the first in their families to earn a degree.

  • Project A is created to provide financial support to enable students of underrepresented backgrounds to attend SUNY New Paltz. No SUNY funding.
  • Eddie Bell is appointed founding director of Project A, the precursor of the Educational Opportunity Program. 
  • The first class of Project A students brought to campus during summer; the precursor to the EOP Summer Insitute. The first class of Project A students:
1. Angel Alamestica
2. Diane Bailey
3. Carla Ballentine (Deceased)
4. Juliet Byers
5. Robert Connor
6. Gerald Davis
7. Jose Diaz
8. Charles Eggleston
9. Deborah “Debbie” Hayes
10.  David Jefferson
11.  Gerard Loftin
12.  Brenda “Bunny” Lewis  (Deceased)
13.  Thelma Morgan

14.  Valerie Morrison
15.  Susan Peters
16.  Santiago Santana
17.  Wayne Taliaferro (Deceased)
18.  Mylum “Aisha Mike” Turner (Deceased)
19.  Ronald Williams


  • Project A's name changes to Special Admission Process, then eventually to EOP. The program begins receiving SUNY funding and becomes an official SUNY New Paltz program. EOP leadership transferred to newly hired Associate Dean of Students Rufus Newlin.


  • Purnell Kirkland hired as first full-time director of EOP
  • Black Studies Department founded and approved by faculty. Eddie Bell appointed member of Chairman’s Search Committee. Dr. Marjorie Butler appointed Chair by Dr. Neumaier.
  • Black Faculty Association formed. Eddie Bell elected Chairman. Black Student Scholarship Fund established.
  • Eddie Bell becomes Assist. Director of Admissions, and later, Associate Dean. Bell becomes an important voice in the College administration advocating on behalf of students, faculty and community members of color.


  • Minority Recruitment Program (MRP) established as a means of further creating opportunities for students and increasing the diversity of the student body. Eddie Bell is Founding Director.
  • MRP recruited and enrolled black and brown students who exceeded EOP financial guidelines, but with strong high school records (sometimes slightly less competitive than general admission candidates)
  • MRP Scholarship Fund established with transfer of funds from Black Faculty Association Scholarship.
  • During succeeding years funds for MRP Scholarship Fund raised through campus-wide MRP Dinner Dance events, supported by nationally known speakers including Olympian Wilma Rudolph, actor Pam Grier and Yolanda King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Circa 1980s: SUNY New Paltz alumnus Tomas Morales hired as EOP Director. He and Eddie Bell work in close partnership to coordinate greater expansion of black and brown student recruitment.


  • Eddie Bell retired from position as EOP director and hired as assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs and Director of SUNY New York City Office of Student Recruitment. MRP Scholarship fund administration transferred to Dr. Margaret Wade-Lewis.