Introducing Mark Montgomery as Chief Diversity Officer

Dr. Mark Montgomery joined SUNY Polytechnic Institute July 1, 2020, as its Chief Diversity Officer to deploy strategic and sustained approaches to further advance a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for the institution’s students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Montgomery, who brings decades of DEI initiative implementation experience to his new role, is looking forward to campus-wide respectful exchange and cooperation to enhance the SUNY Poly’s diversity plan. For over 35 years, he has researched and worked on academic motivation and retention for at-risk students and says his most pressing goal is to make positive impacts at SUNY Poly while “moving the social responsibility needle forward.”

“Social responsibility and social change are a result of enhanced dialogue and respectful exchanges through which each member of SUNY Poly values each other’s ideas and experiences in an effort to ensure a campus community that is welcoming and supportive, and also values differences and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff,” Dr. Montgomery said.

Most recently he served as Dean of the School of Public and Human Services for Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC), was named educator of the year in 2008, and was nominated for the SUNY Chancellor’s Award in 2009 for Excellence in Service. He has received the Outstanding Community Service award, Contribution to Black History award, Contribution to Education and Community Service Award, and in 2017, he was named the Friend of Children of the year for his efforts serving children with cancer.

“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Montgomery to SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He brings true depth of knowledge in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, student success, and retention, and we are looking forward to his leadership and efforts to further enhance our culture so that everyone, no matter their background, feels safe, valued, uplifted, and welcome on our campuses,” said SUNY Poly Interim President Dr. Grace Wang. “Dr. Montgomery is recognized in the community—and statewide—as a respected diversity speaker and advocate and his passion and commitment for this work is unparalleled.”

A native of Bridgewater, NY, Dr. Mark Montgomery isn’t shy about sharing how he graduated as a “D” student from Mt. Markham Senior High School and ranked 112th out of 126 students in his class. Along with his poor grades, Dr. Montgomery’s finances were challenged, along with his health and speech.

Poised to overcome his obstacles after graduating from high school, he earned his associate degree in Human Services from MVCC where he received awards for academic excellence. In 2000 he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY Poly. Dr. Montgomery continued his education at the University of New England, Biddeford, Maine, where he earned a master’s degree in education with a focus in academic motivation, specifically related to inmates. He received his Ph.D. in education in February 2014, focusing on how systemic influences impact student motivation and performance.

In 2015, Dr. Montgomery began providing workshops in elementary and high school environments to train teachers, administrators, and others to motivate students across cultural lines. In 2015 received the Outstanding Community Service Award from the Mohawk Valley Frontiers.

A survivor of sarcoidosis, a pulmonary disease, Dr. Montgomery, along with his wife, Lisa, founded, “Joseph’s Experience,” a non-profit which supports children who suffer from diseases, including cancer and leukemia. In August of 2017, he finished a bicycle ride through all 62 counties in New York State in honor of those who suffer. In 2019, he biked across the Edmond Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to honor his parents and African American history. Most recently, in 2019, he received the NYS Commendation for lasting contribution to his community. An author, activist, mentor, and role model, Dr. Montgomery’s life is dedicated to God and making a positive influence on the lives of others.

You Belong at SUNY Poly is a group of student, staff and faculty volunteers that are passionate and enthusiastic about increasing awareness and creating change around the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. We strive to bring SUNY Poly community members of all races, ethnicity, religions, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities and backgrounds together by providing diverse educational opportunities to learn about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). You Belong also focuses on cultivating learning and work spaces that allow everyone to feel included and welcome to share their voices at SUNY Poly.