Queens College, the crown jewel of the CUNY system, opened its doors back in 1937 when a new house cost $4,100 and the average wage was $1,780 a year.
The four-year public college on an 80-acre campus in Flushing recently celebrated its 80th anniversary with Jon Kinder, now 98, who was a member of the first graduating class and attended the event.
He began his studies in the same year that Amelia Earhart disappeared on her round-the-world trip, the Hindenburg blimp exploded over Lakehurst, N.J., and the Duke of Windsor gave up his British throne to marry the woman he loved, American Wallis Simpson.
The ensuing years have produced many famous alums in the arts, sciences and public life, but eight decades later Queens College is still making history.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has just ranked Queens College in 10th place among 35 four-year public colleges for enabling students whose parents’ income levels were in the bottom 20 percent to reach the top 20 percent bracket in earnings. The in-state tuition is $6,938 a year.
The proud Queens College President Felix Matos Rodriguez said the study, prepared by Stanford University, found that Queens College is having a greater impact on economic mobility than “virtually every other college the country.”
The median starting salary of an undergraduate alum is $46,600 with biological sciences, business and marketing jobs leading the way.
Adding to the college’s track record, Money Magazine ranked it in the top 25 percent of the “Best Colleges for Your Money.”
Queens College also finished in the top 5 percent in a global comparison of nearly 28,000 colleges for the quality of its education, faculty and alumni conducted by the Center for World University Rankings.
The kudos keep coming, but Queens College’s performance is anchored in some basic facts. The Flushing powerhouse has graduated the largest number of teachers, counselors and principals in the metropolitan area. It claims more undergraduate computer science majors than any other New York City college. The average freshman retention rate is 85 percent, which is viewed as a good barometer of student satisfaction.
We join Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Simon, Carole King and Charles Wang in saluting their alma mater for being among the best of the best and enriching the borough of Queens.