Vice Chancellor Ernesto Malave, 1958-2009

November 25, 2009 | News from the Chancellor

Ernesto Malave, Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance of The City University of New York, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, November 22, 2009, after becoming ill, while representing CUNY at a conference in Puerto Rico. He was 51 years old.

As the University’s chief financial officer for six years, Malave oversaw and managed the finances of CUNY’s 23 campuses and the central administration, including budget, treasury, procurement and controller’s offices, CUNY’s investment portfolio and preparation of budgets and financial statements.

Regarded as a creative administrator gifted at navigating the University’s financial complexities and challenges, Malave was also a mentor to CUNY administrators, students and others, a colleague who rose through the ranks of the University in diverse administrative roles before entering the CUNY budget arena in 1989. His distinguished career traced its roots to his student years at Borough of Manhattan Community College, where he served in student government and represented students at the CUNY Board of Trustees.

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said: “The entire community of The City University of New York deeply mourns the passing of our beloved Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance Ernesto Malave. He was an extraordinarily gifted colleague and friend, devoted to his family and to his University in every conceivable way.

“For over a quarter of a century, CUNY and all of its constituent colleges benefited enormously from his creativity and dedication, and his deep and abiding passion to advance the very best educational interests of our student body. He was a trusted individual of exemplary integrity and ability, who refused to be distracted from managing the most complex University budget issues with the greatest of success.

“Ernesto was a joy to be with, at ease with giving major presentations on fiscal matters as well as speeches before student and faculty groups. He handled both with the unique perspective of someone who achieved success the old fashioned way – he earned it. He will be sorely missed. I extend our deepest and most profound condolences and sympathies for this great loss to his beloved family and friends,” Chancellor Goldstein said.

At CUNY’s Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Goldstein credited Malave with being the architect of the CUNY Compact, the unique financing vehicle that for the past few years has supported the University’s drive to increase fulltime faculty ranks and bolster academic and student support services.

CUNY Trustee Joseph Lhota, chair of the Board Committee on Fiscal Affairs and a former New York City budget director and deputy mayor, said, “I’ve never met anyone who could break complex budget issues down so everyone could understand them. The new buzzword is transparency. Well, everyone could learn from Ernesto, because he made it as transparent as anyone could.

“His were the only budget meetings I know that were never contentious. He would explain difficult budgetary items and people would come away feeling educated. Whenever students met with him they came away smarter than they were before. He will be sorely missed.”

CUNY Trustee Carol Robles Roman, deputy mayor for legal affairs and a member of the Board Committee on Fiscal Affairs, said Malave’s “paramount concern was always to maintain excellent conditions at our campuses so our students continue to thrive. Even in these times of fiscal austerity and budget cutting, he championed with the Chancellor and trustees new financial aid programs for students in need.

“Throughout his career, Vice Chancellor Malave served as a mentor and advisor to students, faculty and administrators alike,” Roman added. “Our work to establish the CUNY Puerto Rican Faculty Recruitment Project to redouble CUNY’s outreach and recruitment efforts within the Puerto Rican community in higher education demonstrates the full breadth of his involvement with diverse issues involving CUNY. “

“Ernesto never lost his sense of responsibility to the community from which he came and always served it with excellence,” said New York Secretary of State Lorraine A. Cortés-Vásquez, who knew Malave during her tenure as a state regent and at the Hispanic Federation, and in previous years.

Dolores Fernandez, a professor of urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center, said Malave was an enormous help when she became president of Hostos Community College in 1998 and throughout her 11-year tenure. “I was a full professor at Hunter’s School of Education in a post-master’s program for supervisors when I was appointed, so I had a lot to learn about the intricacies of the budget and how they pertain to community colleges in particular,” she said. “Ernesto was at my school weekly, mentoring me and teaching me the ins and outs of the complexities of the budget system.”
By the time Chancellor Goldstein designated Malave as interim vice chancellor for budget and finance in 2002 and then as vice chancellor in 2003, Malave’s career had navigated various aspects of university life.

As a student leader at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Malave served as a member of the University Student Senate from 1979 to 1981; as student representative to the CUNY Board of Trustees Committee on Faculty, Staff and Administration in 1979-80; and as BMCC Student Government President in 1980-81. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Rochelle in 1984.

He joined the CUNY staff as an admissions advisor in the Office of Admissions Services in 1983, an entry-level job where he interacted with many transfer students, responding to nuts-and-bolts questions about tuition assistance, student services, courses and more.

“It was during those 18 months that I spent at OAS that I began to appreciate the special role that CUNY plays in the lives of so many New Yorkers and others from around the world,” Malave recalled when he was named vice chancellor. “I had the opportunity to visit many New York City high schools to instill the value of higher education in 16-year-old high school juniors, as well as serving as an advisor to incoming students. It was a very rewarding position.”

Two years later, he was appointed assistant director of governmental relations, responsible for representing the University’s interests at City Hall and in Albany.

Malave sought and was granted a transfer to the University budget office in 1989. As a budget analyst and assistant to the budget director, he had responsibilities in revenue budget management, budget allocation and transfers, review of legislation, capital budget and construction fund liaison and budget reporting.

In the years that followed, he became executive assistant to the vice chancellor for budget, finance and computing and was responsible for staffing the trustees’ Committee on Fiscal Affairs, Facilities and Contract Review. In January 1996, Malave became CUNY’s acting budget director, a post he assumed fully in 1998.

Chancellor Goldstein named Malave interim vice chancellor for budget and finance in 2002 and as a full vice chancellor in 2003. He was the first CUNY vice chancellor to die while in office.

His survivors include his wife Miriam, his two sons Ernesto and Erik, his mother Aida, brothers Alfonso and Daniel, sisters Virginia and Sandra and a large extended loving family of nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, sisters and brothers in law.

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Statement by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein on the Passing of Vice Chancellor Ernesto Malave

“The entire community of The City University of New York deeply mourns the passing of our beloved Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance Ernesto Malave. He was an extraordinarily gifted colleague and friend, devoted to his family and to his University in every conceivable way. For over a quarter of a century, CUNY and all of its constituent colleges benefited enormously from his creativity and dedication, and his deep and abiding passion to advance the very best educational interests of our student body.

Rising from the ranks of CUNY students as a student leader, he proceeded to grow in leaps and bounds on a professional and personal level within the CUNY system. He first worked on behalf of student admissions, then in city governmental relations, and subsequently he settled into twenty years of distinguished service in budget and finance. I designated Ernesto Interim Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance in 2002 and as a full Vice Chancellor in 2003. He was a trusted individual of exemplary integrity and ability, who refused to be distracted from managing the most complex University budget issues with the greatest of success. Ernesto was a joy to be with, at ease with giving major presentations on fiscal matters as well as speeches before student and faculty groups. He handled both with the unique perspective of someone who achieved success the old fashioned way–he earned it. He will be sorely missed. I extend our deepest and most profound condolences and sympathies for this great loss to his beloved family and friends.”

(Obituary from El Diario la Prensa, November 24, 2009. English translation follows below.)

Prominent Puerto Rican Leader Dies

New York — Ernesto Malave, a CUNY Vice Chancellor died suddenly in Puerto Rico, while attending the “We are the Future” conference.

Because it was sudden and unexpected, the news stunned his family, friends and colleagues. CUNY Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, a friend and colleague of Malave’s for the last 30 years, said he was “destroyed by his death”.

“I met him when he was the student leader at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. I hired him to work in the office of government relations at CUNY, I worked with him, watched him grow and develop into a superstar,” Hershenshon told EL DIARIO/LA PRENSA.

In 2002, Malave was named interim Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance and was fully confirmed in 2003 to the post which he held until his death.

“Malave was an example to all those who believe in the power of education to change lives. He was a Puerto Rican from The Bronx who exceeded many challenges and his achievements are an example of the success stories of CUNY,” Hershenshon added.

State Secretary Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, who worked with Malave when she was president of the Hispanic Federation, told EL DIARIO/LA PRENSA: “It is a great loss for us [Hispanics] as a community. Malave was the most appreciated and powerful latino at CUNY and he was always very connected with the community. He was not a young man who forgot his roots.”

Rossana Rosado, General Manager of EL DIARIO/LA PRENSA, pointed out, as well, the community’s great loss: “… as the highest ranking latino official at CUNY, Malave was a source of pride and support for many professionals at that institution”

Gladys Carrion, New York State Commissioner for Children and Family Services, expressed herself in the same vein: “This is a tremendous loss. Ernesto was a friendly and generous person who always tried to make sure CUNY responded to the needs of students and, in particular, those of latinos.”

Carol Robles-Roman, Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs and a trustee at CUNY, issued a statement: “… Throughout his career, Vice Chancellor Malave was a mentor and adviser to students as well as to professor and administrators. Our efforts to establish the Puerto Rican Recruitment Project at CUNY showed the extent of his commitment in everything related to CUNY… .”

“All of CUNY mourns the death of our dear Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance. He was an extremely brilliant colleague and friend, devoted to his family and to the university in every way imaginable. During a quarter of a century, CUNY benefited from his creativity and dedication, imparting his passion for education to the students,” said CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein yesterday in an official release.

At the time of our deadline, no information about his funeral was available.

candida.portugues@eldiariony.com