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April 30, 2020

Adelphi’s First Presidential Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award Recipient: Raysa Amador, PhD

by James Forkan

Raysa AmadorThe Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures web page features the headline “Preparing Students for a Multicultural World.” That seems to sum up department chair Raysa Amador’s career and involvements over the last four decades at Adelphi—and going well beyond the classroom.

Fittingly, Raysa Amador, PhD, is the first recipient of Adelphi’s Presidential Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to be presented annually to an individual who “has demonstrated a commitment to promoting and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and multiculturalism at Adelphi University.”

Jacqueline Jones LaMon, JD, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, said, “Dr. Raysa Amador has been an integral contributor to the visible diversity work on this campus for years. Her determined spirit and tenacious drive have earned the respect of students, staff and faculty, and we are quite fortunate that Dr. Amador is a distinguished leader and committed member of our community.”

Dr. Amador, professor and chair of the languages, literatures and cultures department and also director of Latin American studies in Adelphi’s College of Arts and Sciences, received the majority of votes from all the nominations received, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion noted.

Upon learning of her award, Dr. Amador said, “I am honored and humbled to receive such an accolade after 40 years of service at our Adelphi. To be the first to receive it is more significant and important to me. I am forever grateful for the recognition.”

Dr. Amador—who received a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese in 1977 from New York University, where she also earned a master’s and a bachelor’s degree—started her four-decade career at Adelphi in 1978 as an adjunct professor with the Center for Afro-American Studies (now the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies), teaching Latin American and Caribbean courses; she became full time two years later. She transferred into the languages department in 1983 and became Latin American studies program director in 1987.

In 2006, Dr. Amador also became chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures—“the first Latinx to be a chair at Adelphi,” she added proudly.

Through the years, Dr. Amador has been involved in various multicultural aspects of Adelphi life—from spearheading the annual Foreign Language Fall Film Festival since 2012 and taking part in the periodic Dinner and Dialogue series of informal discussions among faculty, administrators and students (including as a speaker) to belonging to the Diversity Committee and the DACA, International and Immigration Task Force.

Dr. Amador cited the two latter groups as “the most important service [roles] that I have accepted and continue to [perform]. These committees are very close to my heart.”

From 1978 until 1986, Dr. Amador served as the adviser to the student organization, La Unión Latina. During that span, she said, “I helped organize a number of activities guided to empower the Latino students on campus.”

Summing up her 40-plus years at Adelphi, she said, “They are all memorable. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to be part of the Adelphi family.”

As for her own family, she pointed out, “I am proud to say that both my children graduated with a degree from Adelphi. My daughter, Raysana Hurtado [’08], went on to finish her graduate education and MBA at Harvard School of Business, and my son, Rufino Hurtado [’03], received an MBA from George Washington University and an MA in International Policy from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.”

Dr. Amador also praised her students, past and present. “My students are my inspiration and my soul,” she said. “They give me hope because I see in them the possibility of a better future for all.”


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