Alfred University News

Alfred University students celebrate Arthur O. Eve, the NY assemblyman behind EOP and HEOP

Students Ryan Pye and Melanie Mercedes paint tiles for the Arthur O. Eve mosaic
Students Ryan Pye and Melanie Mercedes paint tiles for the Arthur O. Eve mosaic

Alfred University students affiliated with the University’s HEOP and EOP programs are working on a memorial mural that honors Arthur O. Eve, the former New York State Assemblyman who spearheaded efforts in the 1970’s to establish the state’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP).


Alfred University students affiliated with the University’s HEOP and EOP programs are working on a memorial mural that honors Arthur O. Eve, the former New York State Assemblyman who spearheaded efforts in the 1970’s to establish the state’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP).

Fifty years later, New York’s HEOP program is known formally as the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program; it is a partnership between New York State and independent colleges in the state, providing scholarships to economically and educationally disadvantaged residents.

Alfred University students are honoring Eve’s life by painting canvas tiles that eventually will be assembled to form a mosaic portrait of Eve. The work continues, according to HEOP Counselor Shannon Brown, who notes the project is based on work by Alfred University’s Art Force 5. The idea for the Eve mosaic was generated by Dan Napolitano, Associate Dean of the University’s School of Art and Design and founder of Art Force 5, Brown says.

Brown first heard of Eve while growing up in the Bronx. “I was in high school and that’s when I heard of HEOP. I thought the idea was amazing, making sure people could have access to higher education in spite of economic and educational barriers.”

Born March 23, 1933, Arthur O. Eve was the first Dominican-American elected to public office in the United States. He represented the City of Buffalo and surrounding areas in the New York Assembly from 1967 to 2002 and served as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly from 1979 to 2002.

Eve’s accomplishments in government are inspirational, Brown says. “Learning about Eve and being a part of his vision to provide access to education 50 years later, really inspires me. It gets me excited to do some amazing things of my own someday.”

In addition to Eve’s work jumpstarting New York’s EOP and HEOP programs, he championed numerous progressive causes as a legislator including expanded access to health care services. He was nominated as the Democratic Party’s mayoral candidate in Buffalo in 1977, although a fellow Democrat, Buffalo Mayor Jim Griffin, defeated him in the general election, running on the Conservative ticket.

Eve is the father of attorney and former candidate for New York Lieutenant Governor Leecia Eve.