Passing of Kingsborough Community College President Leon M. Goldstein

January 13, 1999 | The University

Leon M. Goldstein, President of Kingsborough Community College of The City University of New York for 27 years, died at his home in Manhattan last night (January 8) at the age of 66.

“Leon Goldstein was an outstanding nationally-renowned educator and administrator, who served City University in numerous capacities with great distinction, innovative leadership and commitment,” said Chairwoman of the CUNY Board of Trustees Anne A. Paolucci, and Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich in a joint statement. His positions included Acting Chancellor in 1982 and Acting Deputy Chancellor from 1981 to 1983. He also served as the Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Committee of the Council of Presidents and Chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Academic Program Planning. In addition, he was University Dean for Community Colleges, and Dean and Professor of History at New York City Community College.

Recognized nationally for his leadership and commitment to higher education, he was Vice President of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1994 and Chair of its Commission on Higher Education from 1991 to 1993.

Kingsborough Community College, established in 1963 has a student body of 15,000 students,offers degree programs in 29 areas, and maintains a comprehensive adult and continuing education program. It is located in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Jamaica Bay and Sheepshead Bay. During his tenure President Goldstein developed one of the most modern campuses there in the CUNY system.

A champion of the New York State Community College movement, he was honored for “outstanding academic leadership” by a joint resolution of the New York State Legislature in 1981, and by the New York State Senate for “outstanding leadership, dedication, efforts and achievements on behalf of higher education” in 1988.

Committed to access and excellence in higher education throughout his career, he was in the forefront of pioneering programs inaugurated at Kingsborough Community College. They included College Now, designed to encourage high school seniors to graduate and continue their education in college; Family College, the first in the nation, which offers economically disadvantaged parentsthe opportunity to work toward a college degree while their young children attend a satellite public school on campus; the Kingsborough High School for the Sciences; My Turn for senior citizens, New Start to help increase retention within CUNY, and Teacher’s Academy, which provides professional development courses to public school teachers on sabbatical. The college has become a leading institution for the in-service training of elementary and secondary school teachers.

A product himself of the CUNY system, President Goldstein was born in Brooklyn and received his B.A. from City College and his M.A. from Brooklyn College.

Throughout his presidency, he took a personal interest in the the broad-based community around the college and maintained a dialogue with Brooklyn’s neighborhood social and civic groups to better serve their educational, career and cultural needs.

He received numerous awards, including the Puerto Rican Brotherhood Award, the Tau Phi Sigma National Academic Honor Society Award, the Academic Leadership Award from the New York Civic Council, and the Distinguished Service to Higher Education Award from the Shorefront Jewish Community Council. He was recognized by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for his lifetime work in bringing together divergent groups, and in 1988 he was inducted into the Brooklyn Hall of Fame in recognition of his dedication to improving the quality of life in Brooklyn.

He was a member of the Commission on Academic Freedom in Pre-College Education, the New York State Association of Junior Colleges, and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, as well as many other academic and civic organizations.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Rothlein Goldstein, son Michael of Manhattan, and daughter Lisa Goldstein Miller of New Jersey.