Governor and Mayor Proclaim ‘CUNY Month’

In special recognition of the month-long festival of events at the colleges of The City University of New York, Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have proclaimed November 2006 as “CUNY Month” in New York.

“CUNY has maintained and enhanced its historic tradition of providing first-rate educational opportunities to students from diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds,” Gov. Pataki declared in the state proclamation that bears his signature and the Executive Privy Seal of his office.

“During CUNY Month, we encourage all of our residents to visit CUNY colleges and discover all they have to offer,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a separate proclamation. “To date, 2006 has been a banner year for CUNY. Total enrollment has reached its highest level in more than thirty years, at 226,000. And the students being admitted to the top-tier colleges are not only greater in number, but more qualified than ever.”

CUNY Month is a five-borough celebration and an autumn-in-New York tradition when all 22 campuses open their doors with special and often free events — from orchestral performances, to plays and an evening of moon-gazing with astronomers on Staten Island. Most prominent are the popular “open house” campus events that showcase academic and financial aid programs and outstanding facilities to prospective students and their families. A special web site, www.cuny.edu/cunymonth, has complete listings.

The mayor and the governor noted that CUNY is an essential part of life in the city and state, the main route to economic and professional success for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. “Today, the City University of New York is the largest urban public university in the nation — in fact, at least one-third of all college-educated New Yorkers are CUNY graduates,” Mayor Bloomberg wrote.

With its recent students gaining prestigious honors such as Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University, and its graduates winning Nobel Prizes, CUNY has a national reputation for its successes. Earlier this year The Economist called CUNY the “American Dream Machine.”

The mayor said data showing that the best and brightest are applying to CUNY in increasing numbers.

Compared with last year, nine percent more students admitted to the top-tier CUNY colleges had averages of 85 or better, and 12 percent more had averages of 90 or better.

“It is no wonder,” Mayor Bloomberg said, “that this year, CUNY students have continued to garner prestigious academic awards, including a Marshall Scholarship, and, for the second consecutive year, Truman and Goldwater Scholarships.”

The mayor pointed out that the University is expanding its academic offerings, with the new Graduate School of Journalism and a new Teacher Academy specializing in math and science. The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the mayor said, is “the Northeast’s only public school of journalism”and the Teacher Academy “will train exceptional math and science teachers to serve the city schools that need them most.”

CUNY has deep roots in New York, going back to its beginnings as the Free Academy in 1847. For more than a century and a half it has thus been extending the “benefits of higher education to all New Yorkers, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status,” the mayor said.

Alluding to the origins of the Free Academy and its historic mission, Gov. Pataki said, “the University continues to seek, in the words of the Free Academy’s founder to ‘educate the whole people,’ and to uphold academic excellence while providing equal access to education for all.”

As the city and country grow, with newcomers from around the globe, CUNY has been answering the needs and ambitions of those who want to live and “make it” in New York. CUNY helps them become more productive New Yorkers, Gov. Pataki said. “Ten years after graduation, 80 percent of the University’s graduates continue to live in New York State, making important contributions to the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”

The governor further noted CUNY’s tremendous impact on the state and city economies. “The University’s total impact on New York State’s economy and tax base amounts to billions of dollars annually, with graduates and employees generating millions of dollars in State and City tax revenues yearly.”

CUNY professors have national and international reputations, and its graduates have made huge marks in public service, scientific research, academia and corporate America, the governor said.

“CUNY has a distinguished faculty that includes outstanding teachers and scholars who have won Pulitzer Prizes, Academy Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships, MacArthur “genius” awards, and Carnegie Teacher of the Year awards, among others,” he said.

Among CUNY’s outstanding alumni, Pataki said, are U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, novelist Oscar Hijuelos, Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow and eleven other Nobel Laureates, including Robert J. Aumann, recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics.

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university: eleven senior colleges, six community colleges, the CUNY Honors College, the Graduate School and University Center, the Graduate School of Journalism, the Law School and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves more than 226,000 degree-credit students and 230,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 200 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York. The University has launched an on-line baccalaureate degree through the School of Professional Studies and a new Teacher Academy offering free tuition for highly motivated mathematics and science majors who seek teaching careers in the city’s public schools.