Hostos Community College Celebrates the Fortieth Anniversary of Its Dental Hygiene Program

College Honors Program’s Founder and Also Its First Graduate to Become President of a College

On the evening of Thursday, May 6, 2010, a celebration of the fortieth anniversary Eugenio María de Hostos Community College’s Dental Hygiene Program was held at the college. 

After welcoming the crowd of over 200 attendees that included Hostos alumni, family members and friends as well as current students and members of the faculty, staff, and administration, President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez said: “To a great extent, the dental hygiene program’s phenomenal success can be attributed to the professional expertise and wholehearted commitment of its faculty. Tonight, we are honoring Professor and Dean Emerita Anita Carter-Cunningham, who was recruited to start the program in 1970, and Dr. Geraldine Perri, an outstanding Hostos alumna from the class of 1979, who earned an associate’s degree in dental hygiene from our college. Today, she is the superintendent/president of Citrus College in Los Angeles, California.”

“I began my career at Hostos Community College in February of 1970,”Professor Carter-Cunningham recalled. “After that, I spent my time developing curriculum, planning, selecting dental equipment, supplies, and recruiting students and faculty.  Throughout the past 40 years, Hostos has made a commitment to the community and has dedicated itself to turning out well-prepared students. Our Dental Hygiene program is very demanding; this is why employers call here or put ads in the New York Times requesting Hostos graduates.”

“I graduated from Hostos in 1979,” said Dr. Perri. “My career was a progression from dental hygiene graduate to faculty member to dean to vice president to president to superintendent/president, and it all started at Hostos Community College.”

“In addition to my daughter Geraldine, my daughter Chris graduated also from the Hostos Dental Hygiene program in 1983, and I graduated in 1974,” said Gilda Pierri, 83, who also attended the celebration. “We would like to acknowledge the wonderful Hostos Community College Dental Hygiene education provided to us.  Were it not for Hostos, my daughters, my family and I would not be here celebrating our successes in life.”

Interim Vice President Ramon M. Rodriguez observed that in addition to providing a great opportunity for dental hygiene alumni to catch with one another, the celebration also served to raise funds for a very important cause:  “All proceeds will go for emergency funding and scholarships to help current dental hygiene students offset the cost of their equipment, books, and other requirements.  With additional contributions still coming in through online giving, we expect the next proceeds will be over $10,000.”

Held in the college cafeteria, this celebration was spearheaded by the Director of Alumni Relations, Nydia Edgecombe with the support of a committee that included the following: Ramon M. Rodríguez, Interim Vice President of Institutional Development; Prof. Joyce Dais, Coordinator of the Dental Hygiene Program; Prof. Jo-Ann Rover (co-chair), r, Dental Hygiene; Nestor Montilla, Director of Public Relations; Lisanka Soto, Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment; Chief Arnaldo Bernabe, Director of Public Safety; Prof. Julie Bencosme, Assistant Professor, Dental Hygiene; Rafaela Zapata, Assistant to the Director of Alumni Relations; Cesar Barreto, Conference Center; Jason Heyworth, Database Manager, Alumni Relations; Claudia Hernandez, Administrative Assistant, Division of Institutional Development; and others.

About Hostos                                                                                                                                                            

Under the leadership of a new President, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of CUNY offers access to higher education leading to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility through the development of linguistic, mathematical, technological, and critical thinking proficiencies needed for lifelong learning and for success in a variety of programs, including careers, liberal arts, transfer, and those professional programs leading to licensure. In addition to offering degree programs, the College serves as a resource for the South Bronx and other communities by providing continuing education, cultural events, and expertise for further development. For more information about Hostos Community College, visit: