Hostos Community College President to Step Down; Ten Years of Service Lauded by CUNY Chancellor

July 7, 2008 | News from the Chancellor

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College President Dolores M. Fernandez announced today that she will be stepping down from the presidency, following the conclusion of a transition process for her successor.

Noting her ten years of service as president in a July 1 letter to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein she said, “Hostos Community College has come a long way from the institution that I inherited in 1998, but I believe that it is ready for a new administration to take it to the next level.”

Chancellor Goldstein responded with “deepest appreciation for all you have done over the past ten years to enhance and elevate Hostos Community College.” He continued, “You proved to be a dedicated partner of progress, lifting this vitally important institution to new heights and opening doors to new opportunities. You deserve our warmest gratitude and we will celebrate the decade of educational achievements attained through your leadership.”

Both President Fernandez’s letter and Chancellor Goldstein’s response are attached below.

During her tenure, President Fernandez led the creation and development of numerous programs, including the Hostos Honors Program and Honors Institute for the Associate Arts degree; the Serrano Scholars Program, and joint degree with Columbia University (named in honor of Congressman Jose Serrano); four engineering dual degree and joint admission programs with The City College of New York; the Collaboration Scholarship Program between CUNY, the Dominican Republic Government, and the Department of Higher Education; the Hostos Academic Learning Center; and the College Enrichment Academy.

Other successful collaborations initiated during her presidency include CUNY in the Heights, a joint venture with Borough of Manhattan Community College to significantly expand educational opportunities in Washington Heights, and CUNY on the Concourse, which provides entry level allied health courses on Fordham Road in a facility operated by the health care workers union. Among her major achievements were a 16.1% increase in full-time faculty and a 22.4% increase in student enrollment, both from Fall 1997 through Fall 2007. Sstudent programs were established with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

President Fernandez has agreed to remain in place during the transition process until her replacement is determined.

Created forty years ago in 1968 by an act of the Board of Higher Education, Hostos opened its doors to a class of 600 in 1970. Today, 5,112 degree-credit students are enrolled. The six-building campus boasts state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, computer facilities and theaters — all located at 149th Street and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

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July 7, 2008

President Dolores M. Fernandez
Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College
The City University of New York
500 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451

Dear President Fernandez:

I received your July 7, 2008 letter and wish to extend to you my deepest appreciation for all you have done over the past ten years to enhance and elevate Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College. I share your pride in your accomplishments, knowing that the true beneficiaries are the students served, even “saved,” by the College in transforming ways that positively changed their lives forever.

You began your tenure at Hostos with a distinguished record of commitment to educational administration, including service as Deputy Chancellor to the New York City public schools, and extensive scholarship in the field of education. You proved to be a dedicated partner of progress, lifting this vitally important institution to new heights and opening doors to new opportunities. You deserve our warmest gratitude and we will celebrate the decade of educational achievements attained through your leadership.

I am pleased that you will be available to remain in place during the transition process. I know that you will work closely with the Chancellery to help assure that the next chapter in the story of the continued growth of Hostos Community College will be in the very best tradition of a great public urban community college.

Thank you and best wishes always.

Sincerely,

Matthew Goldstein

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Monday July 7, 2008

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein
City University of New York
535 East 80 Street
New York, N.Y. 10021

Dear Chancellor Goldstein:

After my ten year tenure as President of Hostos Community College, I have given serious consideration to stepping down at this time. This institution has come a very long way since I assumed this position first as Interim President in 1998 and then appointed permanently by the Board of Trustees in July of 1999.

At one of our very first meetings in 1999 when you assumed the position of Chancellor for the City University system, I shared with you that the task that I faced at Hostos was not merely one of academic achievement for our students although that was what was being reported in the media. Once on campus, I realized that there was a budget deficit that needed to be addressed immediately in order for this college to move forward with any sense of credibility by the community it served as well as by offices and administrators at 80th Street. The majority of our students may have been on public assistance but the institution that was attempting to provide them with the education to lift them out of that quagmire shouldn’t be one that was viewed in the same light. I take great pride in stating publicly, especially to the business sector in the Bronx, that this institution has been in the black for the past eight years.

When I shared my vision with the college community of making Hostos Community College a college of “excellence”, it wasn’t just rhetoric; I meant it with all of my heart and soul. This was important for me as a Latina because this was my opportunity to “pay back” to my community and the only “pay back” that I was prepared to deliver was that of an institution of excellence. We have moved steadily toward that goal every single year and with each academic program initiative that has been added our students now have a myriad of options that will meet their goals and assist them to realize their dreams.

During my tenure we have created, implemented and enhanced many important projects such as: the Serrano Scholars Program: a joint degree program with Columbia University; the Hostos Honors Program and Honors Institute for the A.A. degree; four engineering programs that are dual degree/ joint admission with The City College of New York- CUNY; dual.joint programs in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science with John Jay College of Criminal Justice; an A.A.S. in Digital Music and an A.A.S. in Digital Design and Animation that we are awaiting final approval from the NYSED; the Collaboration Scholarship Program between CUNY and the Department of Higher Education (SEESCYT) and the Dominican Government; the Hostos Academic Learning Center (HALC); the College Enrichment Academy; the Accelerated Study in Associate Program (ASAP); the Teacher Academy; the Hostos Success Academy; CUNY in the Heights; CUNY on the Concourse to name a few. Additionally, during my tenure, we have opened up the world to our Hostos students; not only in the classroom but in exposing them to experiencing other countries, cultures, and languages. Hostos students have traveled to Paris, France; Florence, Italy; Shanghai, China; Puerto Rico, Cuba, and of course, the Dominican Republic. In the area of seeking outside funds, Hostos augmented the amount of money raised, $839,209 an increase of 64.44% since May 2007. This is a challenging area for each of the community colleges within CUNY but, I believe, that each of us will meet this goal that is integral to the goals in the CUNY Master Plan.

As I stated at the beginning of this letter, Hostos Community College has come a long way from the institution that I inherited in 1998 but I believe that it is ready for a new administration to take it to the next level. I offer to remain in place until my replacement is found and look forward to transitioning him/her into their new role as president of this amazing institution in the South Bronx.

Sincerely,

Dolores M. Fernandez, Ph.D.

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