Matthew Goldstein, CUNY’s Champion, Retires

June 10, 2013 | CUNY Matters, The University

William P. Kelly Is Named Interim Chancellor

William P. Kelly, president of the Graduate School and University Center, has been named interim Chancellor following Matthew Goldstein’s 14-year tenure that transformed the University into a truly integrated world-class institution, revamped and expanded to promote academic success and access for students of all levels.

Chancellor Goldstein with Interim Chancellor Kelly at the CUNY Welcome Center

Chancellor Goldstein with Interim Chancellor Kelly at the CUNY Welcome Center

President Kelly, a distinguished scholar of American literature, vice chairman of the CUNY Research Foundation, and trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, has served the University for nearly four decades.

At Chancellor Goldstein’s recommendation, the Board of Trustees approved President Kelly to serve in the interim post starting July 1.

“I want to say what an honor it is to carry forward the extraordinary work of Chancellor Goldstein,” Kelly said at the April 23 Board Executive Session unanimously approving his appointment. “I am grateful beyond words for your confidence. I pledge my very best effort to be worthy of that confidence.”

Chancellor Goldstein’s announcement that he would step down brought expressions of praise for his leadership, and cast a spotlight on an extraordinary period in CUNY history that began when a mayoral task force, led by Benno Schmidt, former president of Yale University, issued the 1999 report, “The City University of New York: An Institution Adrift.”

Among its many recommendations – including the creation of clear standards, assessment methods and accountability policies – the task force urged: “CUNY must strive to become a unified, coherent, integrated public university system, for the first time in its history.”

A mathematician and statistician, and a graduate of City College, Dr. Goldstein was appointed CUNY’s Chancellor that same year.  He was previously president of Baruch College, president of the CUNY Research Foundation and president of Adelphi University.

From the outset, Dr. Goldstein focused on raising CUNY’s academic profile while maintaining its fundamental goals of access and opportunity. This emphasis on high standards, academic rigor and student preparation, including the University’s strengthened partnership with the New York City Department of Education, has resulted in record enrollments (more than 270,000 degree-seeking students and 220,000 individuals in adult and continuing education), increased graduation rates, and ever increasing numbers of high-achieving students enrolling at CUNY, as demonstrated by the rise in average SAT scores of admitted students and the proliferation of CUNY students winning nationally competitive student awards including Rhodes, Truman, and Marshall scholarships.

“Chancellor Goldstein’s signal accomplishment has been his uncompromising insistence on raising the bar, on calling us all to the highest standards of achievement,” said Kelly. “He has never wavered in that resolve and we are so much the better for it.  I want you know that I am firmly committed to extending that noble legacy.”

Chancellor Goldstein said he recommended Kelly because, “I thought he had the stature, and the confidence of the other presidents, and had done an extraordinary job at the Graduate School.”

“Dr. Kelly brings an extensive scholarly record, superb administrative experience, and a deep commitment to the University’s educational mission to the position of Interim Chancellor,” said Chairperson Benno Schmidt. “He will provide continuity of purpose and policy during this important transition period.”

William Kelly and York College President Marcia Keizs

William Kelly and York College President Marcia Keizs

Kelly has led the Graduate Center, CUNY’s doctorate-granting institution, since June 2005. He previously served for seven years as the Graduate Center’s provost and senior vice president, a period marked by the recruitment of internationally renowned scholars to the graduate school’s faculty. Recently, he chaired a key component of the University’s Pathways to Degree Completion reform of general education and transfer policies, leading faculty committees that selected pathway courses for CUNY’s largest transfer majors.

Under Chancellor Goldstein’s tenure, more than 2,000 additional full-time faculty members have been hired, and CUNY has achieved significant fiscal stability through the CUNY Compact funding model, a robust fundraising campaign, and a predictable tuition policy. Chancellor Goldstein also launched the Decade of Science initiative in 2005 to increase student proficiency in STEM disciplines, enhance research and build and upgrade science facilities, including the new CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. In addition, the introduction of University-wide accountability measures during the Goldstein years ensures consistent review, progress and efficiency throughout CUNY.

Chancellor Goldstein fostered the creation of new schools within CUNY, including the William E. Macaulay Honors College, the CUNY School of Professional Studies, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Public Health, and the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, the first in the city in more than 40 years. The Macaulay Honors College, launched in 2001, offers a globally competitive program for some of the most academically talented students in New York. Guttman Community College, which opened in Fall 2012 as the New Community College before being formally named in May, is based on the University’s successful ASAP (Accelerated Study in Associate Programs) initiative to improve community college graduation rates.

Today CUNY comprises 24 colleges and professional schools throughout New York City.

Chancellor Goldstein initiated the systemwide Pathways to Degree Completion reform initiative, enhancing general education at CUNY and bringing it more in line with national norms; streamlining student transfer; and ensuring University-wide learning outcomes.

His leadership at CUNY brought Dr. Goldstein to prominence as a national advocate for public higher education and a civic leader. He has served on the U.S. Teaching Commission and the New York State Commission on Higher Education, and led two national summits on the future of public universities. Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed him to chair the 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission; at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appointment he co-chairs the New York City Regional Economic Development Council and is a member of the New NY Education Reform Commission.

In announcing that he would step down, Chancellor Goldstein said, “Serving this exceptional university alongside so many extraordinary colleagues has been the greatest privilege of my professional life. … As the first CUNY graduate to lead the University (City College, Class of 1963), I take enormous pride in what we have accomplished together to ensure an unparalleled educational experience for every CUNY student.”

“I think few of us could have imagined . . . that he would accomplish so much in so many ways that have lifted CUNY beyond our highest expectations,” Chairman Schmidt said of Chancellor Goldstein at the April 23 Trustees meeting. “I have said on several occasions that he is the finest public higher education chancellor in the country, and that is no exaggeration. I also believe it is fair to say he is the greatest chancellor in the history of The City University of New York.”

The Trustees will conduct a national search for a permanent chancellor, consistent with established University guidelines.