The City University of New York this week published a special issue of its news publication, CUNYMatters, celebrating the more than three dozen CUNY students who won some of the nation’s most prestigious awards this academic year.

In her first CUNYMatters column, newly named Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz writes that CUNY’s winners of Rhodes, Fulbright and many other fiercely competitive awards reflect the drive of CUNY’s students across the city.“There’s no question that these students are stars, but if you read through their stories, you’ll find they typify our general student body,” she writes. “Hardworking. Smart. Altruistic. Idealistic. Inspired and inspiring.”

One of the most compelling of these stories leads the special CUNYMatters issue: Joel Sati came to the U.S. from Kenya when he was 9, became a DACA recipient at 19, graduated from City College and was recently named a winner of one of the nation’s most hard-earned academic honors, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Among the other award recipients profiled in CUNYMatters are Thamara Jean, a 2018 graduate of Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College who won a Rhodes Scholarship to continue her research of Black Lives Matter; Safia Mahjebin, a key voice in changing New York’s marriage law who won a Truman Scholarship as a senior at Hunter; and Istou Diallo, from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who won a Fulbright to travel to India and study how women with disabilities deal with their political marginalization.

The new issue of CUNYMatters also features an interview with Brooklyn College professor Alex Vitale, a leading advocate of police reform whose new book, The End of Policing, comes at a crucial moment in the national debate about deadly force and other police issues.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 23 MacArthur (“Genius”) grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields. The University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies. For more information, visit