In recognition of his support of community college innovation and reform, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today received the prestigious Chancellor’s Medal from The City University of New York during a convocation ceremony to mark the opening of The New Community College at CUNY – New York City’s first new community college in more than 40 years.
In presenting the award, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein noted that Mayor Bloomberg supported the idea of The New Community College at CUNY from its inception and has remained a committed partner in the development of the innovative new college.
“There is no more urgent task in higher education than to ﬁnd ways to help more community college students succeed. This medal is given in recognition of your singular efforts to ensure an accessible, high-quality education to all New Yorkers, and your longtime support of the community college mission,” the Chancellor said. “It’s a symbol of CUNY’s deep appreciation for your partnership.”
The medal, the University’s highest executive honor, recognizes extraordinary contributions to CUNY, commitment to education and outstanding public service. Past recipients include Jonas Salk, Robert F. Wagner Jr., Coretta Scott King and John Cardinal O’Connor.
Mayor Bloomberg said, “Helping to make this New Community College a reality fulﬁlls a pledge I made three years ago. And in launching it today, we’re creating a potentially game-changing model for community college education in New York and throughout the nation.”
Approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees on February 28, 2011, by the New York State Board of Regents on June 21, 2011, and by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on September 20, 2011, The New Community College is New York City’s first new community college in more than four decades. It was inspired by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s desire to drastically improve graduation rates for students with a diverse range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Dr. Scott E. Evenbeck, a prominent expert on education assessment and higher education initiatives to boost student success, is the Founding President of the New Community College.
President Evenbeck said, “Our students, coming from all the boroughs of New York City and beyond, will have the city as their laboratory just as the college itself will be a place where faculty, staff and students will put in place a new model for a community college. Our location, in the heart of Midtown, symbolizes so much about the new college — centered in the city and centered on the city, in so many ways the world’s capital city.”
More than 300 students have enrolled in the inaugural class. Many students, such as Kyra Vasquez, are among the first in their family to attend college. “I want to show my nieces and nephews there is more to life when you put your mind into it. I need college to get where I want to go,” said Ms. Vasquez.
Maria Lissete Estrada said, “I almost didn’t make it out of high school on time. I was a lazy student. Then I put my all into it and graduated with my freshman class. Now, I’m inspired to have a bigger better future for myself and college is just the first step for me.”
Other speakers at the convocation, which was moderated by President Evenbeck, included Merryl H. Tisch, chancellor of the state Board of Regents; Philip Berry, vice chairperson of CUNY’s Board of Trustees; Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library; Anh Nguyen of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided critical funding for planning the college, and Eddy Dure, a student at Baruch College, representing The New Community College peer mentors who provide support for the entering students.
Located off Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, The New Community College requires full-time attendance during the first year; experience at CUNY shows this approach promotes higher graduation rates than part-time attendance does. All students begin with a Summer Bridge Program and move into a highly structured first-year program revolving around a required interdisciplinary seminar about how New York City functions.
Other first-year courses include statistics, composition and Ethnographies of Work. The college also connects field experiences with classroom learning. Prospective students are required to attend information sessions, followed by one-on-one interviews with counselors, before they even apply for admission.
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as The Free Academy, the University has 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves over 271,000 degree credit students and 269,808 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. More than 1 million visitors and 2 million page views are served each month by www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.