May 6, 2013 | City College
College to Confer Honorary Degree on Martin Cohen, ’70; C. Virginia Fields to receive President’s Medal
Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of The City University of New York (CUNY) and a member of the CCNY Class of 1963, will be the keynote speaker at The City College of New York’s 167th Commencement Exercises, 10 a.m., Friday, May 31, on the CCNY campus.
In addition, CCNY will confer the honorary degree Doctor of Science on real estate investor and philanthropist Martin Cohen, ’70 Liberal Arts. C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) and a former Manhattan Borough President, will receive the CCNY President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.
CCNY President Lisa S. Coico, who will preside over the commencement exercises, will confer degrees upon approximately 3,700 members of the Class of 2013. Approximately 2,512 are candidates for bachelor’s degrees.
Jan Dominik Stepinski, 21, is the Class of 2013 Valedictorian. He is graduating from Macaulay Honors College with a 3.96 GPA, a BE in environmental engineering and minors in economics and mathematics. The Brooklyn resident, whose parents are Polish immigrants, will enter Stanford University in the fall for graduate studies in applied mathematics.
This year’s Salutatorian is Vijay Nazareth of Manhattan. He is graduating with a BFA in film and video production and a 4.0 GPA. Mr. Nazareth, a German native, grew up in a musical family and is making his mark in music videos.
About Chancellor Matthew Goldstein
Dr. Matthew Goldstein has served as chancellor of CUNY since September 1999. A 1963 graduate of City College (with high honors in statistics and mathematics), he is the first CUNY graduate to lead the nation’s leading urban public university system. Earlier this year, he announced plans to retire in July.
During his 14-year tenure, Chancellor Goldstein led the transformation of CUNY into the premiere integrated urban university in America. Under his leadership, CUNY increased enrollment to more than 270,000 degree-seeking students, raised admission standards, improved graduation rates and enhanced resources for faculty and students. Today, CUNY comprises 24 colleges and professional schools throughout New York City.
Prior to his appointment, Chancellor Goldstein served as president of Adelphi University. He previously held several executive-level positions in CUNY including president of Baruch College, president of the Research Foundation and acting vice chancellor for academic affairs. A distinguished mathematician, he has held faculty positions at several colleges and universities and written extensively in mathematics and statistics.
Outside CUNY, Chancellor Goldstein serves as chair of the board of trustees of JP Morgan Funds and is a member of the executive committee of the Business-Higher Education Forum. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Museum of Jewish Heritage and director of the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, ex officio. By appointment of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the Chancellor chairs the New York City Regional Economic Development Council and sits on the New NY Education Reform Commission.
Chancellor Goldstein is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and of the New York Academy of Sciences. His other honors include the Association for a Better New York “Spirit of ABNY” Award (2011), the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award (2007), the Medal of Honor “Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class” (2005) and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2002).
In addition, in 2005 he received John H. Finley Award for exemplary service to the city and in 2000 he received the Townsend Harris Medal for outstanding post-graduate achievement from the Alumni Association of The City College of New York.
He earned his doctorate from the University of Connecticut in mathematical statistics.
Following are brief bios on CCNY’s other Commencement honorees.
Martin Cohen, ’70 Liberal Arts, is co-chairman and co-CEO of Cohen & Steers, Inc., the world’s largest investor in publicly traded real estate companies. A pioneer in this field, as a portfolio manager at Citibank he organized and managed a real estate securities fund for the bank’s clients, the first fund of its kind. Later, at National Securities and Research, he and Robert Steers started the first real estate mutual fund. In 1986 they established Cohen & Steers.
Mr. Cohen has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) and chairs CCNY’s 21st Century Foundation Board. He received NAREIT’s Industry Achievement Award in 2001 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from NYU’s real estate program. In addition to CCNY, Mr. Cohen assists in the advancement of many other organizations, such as the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Central Park Conservancy. He will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Science.
C. Virginia Fields, is president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA). From 1998 to 2005, she served as the 25th borough president of Manhattan. Mrs. Fields was in the forefront of community battles in the early 1980s to secure housing for people living with AIDS. As Manhattan Borough President, she was instrumental in the allocation of millions of dollars for programmatic support to community-based organizations and educational institutions, borough-wide.
In 2005, Mrs. Fields ran for mayor of New York City, becoming the first African-American woman to seek that office. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Social Work, she has served as an adjunct lecturer at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. She will receive The City College President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.