SUNY New Paltz is pleased to announce that Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kyncl ’95 (International Relations) and Psychotherapist Luz Avila Kyncl ’96 (Psychology) have renewed their pledge to the University with an additional five years of scholarship support for underrepresented students pursuing degrees in computer science and engineering.
Established in 2018, The Robert Kyncl ’95 and Luz Avila Kyncl ’96 Computer Science & Engineering Scholarship Fund offsets tuition costs for students, especially women and minorities, seeking careers in STEM. At least six new transfer students or current New Paltz students will receive the award each year. The program’s success has also led to the creation of the University’s Kyncl Scholars, a group of 16 students who, having been supported by the Fund, have achieved their educational goals and are building influential careers in their chosen fields.
"We are pleased to renew our commitment to SUNY New Paltz and funding scholarships for students from underrepresented communities. State education provided us with great opportunities, both professionally and personally, and we want to help more students access those same benefits. In turn, this talented next generation will help drive change and contribute to a more representative workforce in dynamic industries,” said Luz Avila Kyncl and Robert Kyncl.
“The Kyncls’ generosity in this area sends an important message to prospective and current students that people in leadership positions believe in their ability to succeed,” said Erica Marks, Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation. “The University is continually evolving to remain competitive in offering high-quality computer science and engineering education that prepares students for their future. Each year, a powerful new cohort of Kyncl Scholars will be equipped with the training to be effective and collaborative contributors in the community.”
The Kyncl Scholarship will support outstanding students who transfer from SUNY New Paltz’s excellent regional community college partners.
“Everyone has something important to bring to the table, but not everyone has an equal opportunity to do so,” said 2019 recipient Amira Shagan ’21 (Electrical Engineering) of Poughkeepsie, New York, and current electrical engineer at Central Hudson. “This scholarship provides those kinds of opportunities to people who would not normally get the chance and helps create a level playing field so everyone can share their viewpoint.”
The Kyncls’ most recent gift also supports the Fund for New Paltz, which provides unrestricted support for areas of greatest need, and the AMP/CSTEP (AC²) Program Fund, which provides a wide range of additional programs and opportunities to historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students in STEM fields.
“We’re very grateful to the Kyncls for providing support for local students to pursue majors that are in high demand in our region,” said Dan Freedman, dean of the School of Science & Engineering. “We can now count on five years' worth of support for a new, even more accomplished and engaged cohort of Kyncl Scholars with the strong technical education and liberal arts values that we know employers are looking for.”
As SUNY New Paltz alumni, both Luz and Robert are committed to the University and its goals of continuing to provide opportunities that change the lives of its diverse student body.
Robert Kyncl has been CEO of Warner Music Group since January 2023. Previously, he was Chief Business Officer at YouTube, where he played a central role in the company’s strategy and its impact on entertainment and culture. Before that, he held roles at Netflix and HBO. He is the author of “Streampunks: YouTube and the Rebels Remaking Media” and was the SUNY New Paltz Distinguished Speaker for the spring 2016 semester.
Luz Avila Kyncl is a psychology alumna, a licensed psychotherapist, a certified health coach, and a mindfulness teacher. She is also the author of “Liberate Yourself. Your past is not your prison,” and proprietor of Luz Kyncl, Psychotherapy, Mindfulness & Health Coaching, whose mission is to educate and empower individuals and families to improve their health through changes in their diet and lifestyle. She, too, has spoken on campus with New Paltz students, participating in the Women’s Leadership Summit and as a presenter at the 2016 Educational Opportunity Program Conference.
Together, they run the Kyncl Family Foundation, focused on education in traditionally underrepresented communities.