June 25, 2013 | Queens College
FLUSHING, N.Y., June 25, 2013 – “At 75, Queens College has reached a nice balance,” noted President James Muyskens at the Convocation on October 11, 2012, which celebrated 75 years of Queens College: “the college is old enough that our alums have helped to shape our city and our nation for generations, but we are still young enough that some of our first graduates still return to campus for commencement and homecoming.” Alumni—as well as faculty, staff, and students—were on hand, including two of the college’s most notable graduates: Olympic medalist Gail Marquis ’80, who served as emcee, and Dennis Liotta ’70, who was awarded an honorary doctorate for his work in developing affordable drugs to treat AIDs and other diseases. There were musical interludes by faculty and students from the Aaron Copland School and reminiscences from faculty and two former presidents: Saul Cohen (1978–1985) and Shirley Strum Kenny (1985–1994).
Among the many eloquent speeches at the celebration, Andrew Hacker’s remarks stood out. A retired professor of political science, and well-known author, he spoke about the research he had recently done on 934 members of one class at a college he calls Ivy U. He tracked these students from the age of 18 to about the age of 50 to see what they had done with their lives. His findings? “If you go to Ivy U, and graduate, you’ll walk into Harvard Law School. You’ll get into Columbia Medical School. And when you finish Harvard Law School, you’ll get into a Wall Street firm. Or you’ll go on to a residency at the Cleveland Clinic if you graduated from Columbia. But as I followed these students, by the age of 35, they seem to plateau, they were no longer being promoted, they weren’t doing anything distinctive. The Ivy degree no longer had the luster that it once did, because at the age of 38, nobody really cares what happened to you at 21.
“And indeed, of these 934 graduates from Ivy U: not a single CEO, not a single federal judge, no member of Congress, not even a Paul Simon or a Jerry Seinfeld. And what I further discovered was that as these Ivy Leaguers aged, they were being passed, passed by people who went to institutions like Queens College. Well, maybe this is what America is all about. Maybe your Ivy degree will take you so far but no further, and then Queens takes over. So my conclusion is: Ivy U symbolizes America’s past, but Queens College, America’s future.”
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Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
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