Knowledge to Share, the Will to Serve

October 3, 2012 | Salute to Scholars, The University

Faculty — often working with students — use  their know-how to benefit our community

By Ronald E. Roel

From its beginning 165 years ago, The City University of New York has always had a dual mission: Deliver high-quality education — and serve the citizens of the city.

Today, CUNY’s 6,700 full-time faculty carry on this legacy, contributing in ways that truly transform our city, benefiting the lives of millions of New Yorkers every day.  Many provide critical training for the city’s diverse workforce.  They teach young scientists to explore new fields like photonics, biodiversity and nanotechnology; they train municipal employees in emergency preparedness for large-scale disasters; they create programs that teach health industry professionals how to detect early incidence of oral cancer and better care for people with developmental disabilities.

These are extraordinary faculty who connect the university to its community, engaging their students in the complex challenges facing the city.

Take Allan Wernick, for example, the Baruch College law professor who launched Citizenship Now! the largest immigrant-aid organization in the city, which assists thousands of people every year — for free — in its nine centers throughout the five boroughs.  Or Mandë Holford, a professor of chemical biology at Hunter College who has created a unique program to mentor young urban scientists — while she conducts her own remarkable research on the natural poisons found in sea snails that are now being used to help alleviate chronic pain in cancer patients.  Or still others, like William Solecki, the director of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities, who brings together diverse groups of researchers and public policymakers to hammer out collaborative solutions to threatening environmental changes.

On the following pages, you’ll find the compelling stories of these and other CUNY faculty — just a few of the remarkable men and women whose service reflects the unique, historic bond between the University and its city.