Extending the Lifespan of Learning
Highlighted here are several early- and late-comers to CUNY classrooms featured this fall on CUNY-TV and in posters displayed in city subways and buses.

Ashley Jovine
Ashley Jovine

Ashley Jovine is a thriving seven-year old who loves reading in her Family College classroom on the historic Bronx Community College campus. She is surrounded by rows of century-old oak and maple trees and grand neo-classical halls topped with copper domes and inspired by the ancient Roman Pantheon, the work of the great architect Stanford White. Her mother, a student at BCC, likes the convenience of having her daughter nearby, the enrichment afforded by the serious-study environment, and such campus special programming as Black History Month.

A short subway ride away, John Romo is planning, at the age of 71, to earn a graduate degree at City College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering last June. Romo worked as a town planner and director of public works in his native Chile before immigrating here in 1966 to work as an architectural designer. A quarter-century later, having shelved the notion of retirement, he sought the formal college education that had always eluded him.

John Romo
John Romo
That thousands of students of vastly different ages like Ashley Jovine and John Romo walk through CUNY portals is no surprise to Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “More than ever, a college education is a pre-requisite for success, and more than ever CUNY is the place for a lifetime of learning,” he says.

The University’s offerings are innovative, comprehensive and available in all five boroughs. Its Child Care Centers serve 2,500 young children of students at all 20 CUNY campuses. In cooperation with the Board of Education, more than 300 students from pre-kindergarten through second grade attend Family Colleges on the same community college campuses where their parents pursue Associate degrees.

For the enterprising high school student, CUNY’s College Now offers enriched courses for college credit in nearly 200 schools in all five boroughs. Fifteen public high schools

are affiliated with CUNY colleges, including three new special-entrance schools that are opening this fall in Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx.

Special programs are geared to older students, including Queens College’s Adult Collegiate Education (ACE) Program, open to students over 25, and Kingsborough Community College’s “My Turn” for seniors—even those who do not have a high school diploma. The CUNY BA is another popular program with older students who are interested in studying at multiple colleges or are interested in cross- disciplinary fields.

For the working student, eight colleges offer degrees that can be earned entirely by weekend study. For senior citizens at CUNY’s six community colleges, study is tuition-free. At four-year colleges, senior citizens may audit classes on a space-available basis for $70 per semester. Each year more than 175,000 New Yorkers enroll in Adult and Continuing Education programs offered by the University.

Arnold Lakin
Arnold Lakin
Arnold Lakin is 75 years old and a grandfather of ten. He graduated from Lehman College in June with a Master’s in Special Education and plans to continue work in Speech, Language and Hearing, with an eye to becoming a speech pathologist. Lakin has a particular interest in the field because his son, now an accountant and a lawyer, has suffered from Tourette’s syndrome.

Lakin is also mulling the addition of a more recreational class to his schedule—theater arts or perhaps Russian. “As long as you learn, you live,” he says.

Chrysanthy Constantinou
Chrysanthy Constantinou
Chrysanthy Constantinou, who is 76, clearly is of the same mind. A great grandmother, she earned an Associate’s in Liberal Arts with honors in June from Kingsborough Community College just to keep up: her children have their baccalaureate degrees and her grandchildren hold Master’s degrees. After retiring from the telephone company in 1988 as a business representative, she decided it was her turn and headed for KCC’s “My Turn” program. Constantinou enjoyed herself so much she volunteered to work in its office, and she is now thinking about continuing her studies at Brooklyn College.

Violet Jolly
Violet Jolly

When Violet Jolly, 76, graduated from Medgar Evers College in June with a B.A. in Psychology, she was fulfilling a decades-old promise to her father as she left her homeland of Barbados to finish her education. After attaining her GED, Mrs. Jolly was obliged to drop out from school to raise a family and work in home care. Everyone else in her family completed their education.

Medgar Evers’ evening classes and a student body that reflected her cultural background appealed to Jolly. All the while she was enrolled, she continued working and taking care of grandchildren.

And then there’s Pat Panzarino, whose march down a commencement aisle last June must have set a record for delayed gratification. Now 81, Panzarino started college 51 years after high school, and he took 12 years to complete his College of Staten Island B.A. in anthropology. “I gave myself plenty of time and did a lot of research,” he explains. He had been spurred on by his family’s college history: Panzarino’s late wife graduated from Hunter College and all four of their children earned college degrees.

Timothy Yoo
Timothy Yoo

A Navy radioman in World War II, Panzarino worked for 40 years as a technical supervisor for RCA Global Communications. A member of the ground support team on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs, his mementos include a medallion he was awarded made from metal on the spacecrafts Columbia, which orbited the moon, and the Eagle, which landed on it.

Panzarino’s not done yet. He’ll continue taking art and music classes. And he wants to pursue a master’s degree in anthropology. “Goals are important in life,” he said. “At any age.”

Luka Levi
Luka Levi

This is doubtless the lesson that is being instilled in every one of CUNY’s Child Care Centers. Timothy Yoo, going on six, has also learned that a good sense of humor helps make friends with other children at Queens College, where his mother is a student. And Luka Levi, a three-and-a-half year old whose parents speak Serbo-Croatian at home, has learned English this year in the Child Care Center at Hunter College. His mother is a graduate chemistry student.

In 2070 or thereabouts, Yoo and Levi will, one hopes, be able to look back on their CUNY years and echo Arnold Lakin: “As long as you learn, you live.”

 

Contents October 2002

From High School Dropout to Surgeon General – Thanks to BCC

Extending the Lifespan of Learning

The Bronx: A Thriving River Runs Through It

Chancellor's Message: Celebrating CUNY Poets

Two Bills for CUNY Signed by Governor

Colleges Set Out Welcome Mats For First “CUNY Week” Outreach

New Technology: Two Conferences

Celebrating the Pleasures of Literature

The Public and Private Lives of Eleanor Roosevelt

Capturing the Life of a Complex General

TV Boot Camp Gives Students Taste of “60 Minutes” Magic

Big Cats' Novels Change America

Imagining Hopper

New Stars in Faculty Firmament

John Jay Law Enforcement News Honored for Articles on 9/11

Preserving the History of the Puerto Rican Diaspora

Vigils, Bells, Art, Eloquence—and Silence: Campuses Observe September 11

Three WTC Workers from City Tech Receive Scholarships

Future Holds New Home, New Master’s for CUNY’s School of Architecture

N.J. State Human Resources Executive Comes to CUNY

Hostos Goes Electronic on the Grand Concourse

New Shuttle Service Eases Lehman Commute

Leap in Fall Enrollment

CUNY Board Adopts State Early Retirement Plan