What makes us special? “Being a public university in New York with a majority population of students of color gives CUNY a very, very special mission in the context of American life, something that most other universities do not share,” says Zujaja Tauqeer, who started at Brooklyn College and Macaulay Honors College, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, England, and is now at Harvard Medical School. “In the grand scheme of American life, it is very unique…What a privileged experience it is to be a New Yorker and go to a university with the kind of student population we have.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams urged Brooklyn College graduates to explore the world in all its forms. “Go visit a mosque, or synagogue, or Buddhist temple,” said Adams, who served in the NYPD for 22 years and holds a B.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Understand how diversity helps us to develop our full personhood and become great people.”
Stephen Sommerstein covered the historic 1965 march for voting rights as a student photographer for the City College newspaper. Fifty years later, his evocative photographs are on exhibit at the New York Historical Society and those five days in Alabama are still vivid in his memory.
Standing committee meeting of the Board of Trustees, Committee on Student Affairs and Special Programs, April 6, 2015.
CCNY’s Spitzer School of Architecture hosts an unprecedented exhibition on Antoni Gaudí’s “unfinished masterpiece” — Sagrada Família, the basílica in Barcelona that generations of architects and builders have continued since Gaudí’s death in 1926. George Ranalli, dean of the architecture school, talks about the world’s longest-running construction project and how he brought to New York this rare collection of original drawings, plaster casts and other architectural artifacts that have never been out of Spain.
In a NY1 interview with Sam Roberts on The New York Times Close Up, Chancellor James Milliken discussed CUNY’s plans to expand programs that boost student success. Success, he noted, includes graduating with a two-year degree: “There are great opportunities for high-paying jobs for two-year graduates,” he said, noting that to meet the needs of the city’s tech industry CUNY should be offering more “short courses, certificates or two-year degrees in programs teaching software development, coding and gaming. There’s a big market out there.”
John O’Keefe (City College, 1963) describes his discovery of the brain’s “internal GPS,” which won him a 2014 Nobel Prize, and discusses his formative years as a CUNY undergraduate. The son of Irish immigrants, born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx, he transferred to CUNY from a private college that he had attended at night while working to support himself during the day. But at CUNY, he could afford the day program with far less time devoted to outside work. Deeply curious, O’Keefe explored philosophy and film courses, among others, graduating with more than 40 credits beyond the requirements of his psychology major.
Cuban dissident Yoani Sánchez gained international fame for her eloquent and outspoken opinions on Cuba in her blog, Generación Y, translated into 20 languages. In her visit to City College in March, Sánchez praised blogs and social media as “vital” journalistic tools, and described her dreams for a free press in her country: “In this future Cuba, I expect that words will be more common and more powerful than military uniforms, that information will be more common than ideology.” City College professor Carlos Riobó, chair of Foreign Languages and Literatures, was moderator for the event and Baruch College professor of Black and Hispanic Studies Ted Henken served as translator.
There’s a myth about Rosa Parks – a pivotal figure in the American civil rights movement who refused to give her seat on a Montgomery, Ala. bus to a white passenger. The myth is that Parks was a quiet, humble woman until that historic moment. But, in the revealing new book, “The Rebellious Life Mrs. Rosa Parks,” Brooklyn College political science professor Jeanne Theoharis documents more than a decade of activism leading up to her stand against segregation on Dec. 1, 1955. Perpetuating the myth of a “meek and tired” Parks, argues Theoharis, erases the resistance she faced and fails to recognize the racial injustice that still exists.
Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary-General, used his post as a “bully pulpit” to draw world attention to issues such as human rights, poverty and child soldiers, says Jean E. Krasno, a political science lecturer at City College, who led a six-year project to organize and publish Annan’s collected papers. Krasno sees the historic papers as crucial to documenting Annan’s legacy and leadership style as he navigated international relations in the post-Cold War era.