The students, faculty and staff of New York City College of Technology will celebrate the life of Michele Forsten, City Tech’s director of communications, at a 1:30 p.m. Memorial Service on November 20 in Namm Hall 119, 300 Jay Street (at Tillary), Downtown Brooklyn. A native of Brooklyn and resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Ms. Forsten, 59, passed away on October 22 following a brief illness. She is survived by her spouse, Barbara, her sister, Marla, and cousins Binky, Joan, Robin and Holly.
Ms. Forsten became the College’s communications director in November 2000. Over the ensuing years, she published hundreds of stories celebrating the achievements of City Tech students, faculty, staff and alumni. Prior to that, she worked in magazine editorial positions, served as a public relations specialist, and later held positions at Lehman College and Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. A graduate of The New School for Social Research and City College of New York, Ms. Forsten was a 2012 Inductee in City College’s Communications Hall of Fame and was recipient in 2004 of the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media.
Ms. Forsten’s personal essays and other works have appeared in The New York Times, New York Daily News and other publications nationwide. Her short plays, “Winning?” and “Dinosaur Doc” have been performed coast to coast. “Winning?” was published in Smith & Kraus’ Best Stage Scenes of 2000 and in the Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly (Volume I, Number 2). In 1993, Ms. Forsten and Joan Jubela co-produced the award-winning documentary “Homoteens,” in which five teenagers talk about homophobia. Another work, “Improv at the Altar,” was published in the anthology A Cup of Comfort for Couples.
Ms. Forsten’s full-length play, “Be My Baby!” was a semi-finalist in Playwrights’ Circle’s National New Play Festival in Palm Springs, California, a finalist in the Pittsburgh New Play Festival and a semi-finalist in the Moondance International Festival Stage Play Competition and in the London Borough of Newham’s Lesbian & Gay Stage Play Competition. A monologue from “Be My Baby!” was published in Smith & Kraus’ Best Women’s Stage Monologues of 2000.
Her personal struggle was profiled in Lives Inspired: Portraits of Breast Cancer Survivors. She talked about breast cancer screenings on cable news, penned a New York Daily News guest column on same-sex marriage, and was a prolific advocate and spokesperson for lesbians living with cancer. Her story appeared in Lives Inspired: Portraits of Breast Cancer Survivors, The Breast Cancer Survivor’s Fitness Plan and in various NYC LGBT Center publications. She told her story at the NYC LGBT Center’s first “C Word: Lesbians Coming Together Around Cancer.” In 2004, she co-founded the New York City Lesbian Cancer Support Consortium and served as its first co-director.
“We will remember Michele’s deep commitment and long service to the College, her strong advocacy of causes and interests important to her, and her endearingly quirky sense of humor,” said Stephen Soiffer, the College’s special assistant to the president for institutional advancement, in announcing Ms. Forsten’s passing.
The City Tech Foundation has announced the establishment of the Michele Forsten Memorial Scholarship Fund. The full amount of all gifts to the Fund will be used to provide scholarship assistance to qualified students interested in careers in areas requiring the ability to communicate, think critically, and make decisions based on an understanding of culture and diversity.