Chancellor James B. Milliken

Chancellor James B. Milliken

Appointed to start on June 1, 2014, James B. Milliken serves as Chancellor of The City University of New York. »

CUNY Board Appoints Dr. Robert E. Paaswell Interim President of CCNY

September 29, 2009 | News from the Chancellor

Dr. Robert E. Paaswell, a Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering who came to City College in 1990 as Director of the federally supported University Transportation Research Center (UTRC), has been appointed Interim President of the City College of New York, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced tonight. UTRC is a consortium of 12 major academic institutions that is based at City College and conducts research and projects on surface transportation. Under Dr. Paaswell’s leadership it has become one of the nation’s premier transportation centers.

The appointment was approved by The CUNY Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. Board Chairperson Benno Schmidt appointed CUNY Trustee Charles Shorter to lead a national search for a successor to Dr. Gregory H. Williams, who resigned after eight years in office to accept the presidency of the University of Cincinnati. The search committee will include other trustees, student, faculty and alumni representatives selected consistent with University guidelines, as well as President William Kelly of The CUNY Graduate School and University Center.

Dr. Paaswell, who also heads CUNY’s Institute for Urban Systems which he founded in 2000, is a prominent national leader in the fields of public transportation and urban infrastructure. As Director of the Institute for Urban Systems he led a major university-wide initiative to examine how contemporary infrastructure is impacted by new technology, finance and changing institutional structure. As a former Executive Director of the Chicago Transit Authority, Dr. Paaswell managed one of the largest and most complex urban transportation systems in the nation with a workforce of 13,000 and a budget of $1 billion.

“Buz Paaswell is a distinguished educator who has demonstrated keen leadership and adroit management skills over an extraordinary career of service in higher education and in the public sector,” Chancellor Goldstein said. “He is an outstanding choice to lead City College into a new era and to build upon the many achievements of Gregory Williams.”

Dr. Paaswell said: “For more than a century-and-a-half, the College has been a beacon of opportunity and achievement. I embrace this stewardship with great humility, knowing that with the creative energies of our outstanding faculty and extraordinary students, the greatest days of opportunity and achievement are now within our reach in the 21st Century.”

After completing a three year term at the Chicago Transit Authority, Dr. Paaswell joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago. He arrived at City College in 1990. In addition to teaching and heading the UTRC and the urban systems institute, Dr. Paaswell also serves on a number of CUNY boards including Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College, the CUNY Aviation Institute at York College and the

CUNY School of Professional Studies. He served as a member of the New York State Commission on Higher Education, appointed by the Governor in 2007.

Dr. Paaswell received a B.A. degree, as well as his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering, from Columbia University in 1956 and 1957, respectively. He earned an M.S. in Applied Mechanics from Columbia in 1961, and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University in 1965. Dr. Paaswell received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Transportation of NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy in 2009; and Rutgers University’s Outstanding Civil Engineering Alumnus Award in 2003. He belongs to the editorial boards of the Journal of Transportation, the Journal of Urban Technology and the Journal of Public Transport.

Under Dr. Williams’ presidency, enrollment at City College grew by 50 percent to more than 16,000 students. At the same time the College significantly raised its admissions standards and attracted more academic achievers, while retaining its rich diversity. Last month, the College opened a new building for The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. City College opened its first campus-based student residence hall during Dr. Williams’ tenure. The University is investing nearly $1 billion in new science buildings that are scheduled to open in less than three years.

The City College of New York, the oldest college within the City University of New York, has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Science; The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering; and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit