Queensborough Community College bids farewell to longtime president

Queensborough Community College bids farewell to longtime president
Photo by Leo Correa/Queensborough Community College
By Mark Hallum

Queensborough Community College President Diane Call is closing the book on a 47-year career with the Bayside-based CUNY branch.

Call made the official announcement June 1 during the college’s graduation commencement, waving goodbye as the first female leader at QCC with recognition for bringing the school to national acclaim for its “student-centered” academic programs.

The commencement where call made the announcement saw over 2,300 graduating that day, many of whom will go on to study at other CUNY and SUNY institutions and with 78 native tongues being spoken in the audience, translators into Spanish, Korean, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu and many other languages were provided.

“The accomplishments achieved over the decades have been realized because of collaborative efforts made by the extraordinarily talented and dedicated individuals who make up our campus community,” Call said. “To support their potential and success has been my greatest point of pride.”

Call is recognized for creating what is known as the Queensborough Acadamies, a program which serves full-time students and is known to raise graduation and retention rates as well as integrate curriculum, pedagogy and advisement.

QCC is only one of a few colleges that offer this program, according to a news release from the school.

“For nearly a half-century, President Call has been devoted to Queensborough Community College and its surrounding community – a remarkable achievement by any standard,” CUNY Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz said. “Time and again, she has exhibited her commitment to academic excellence, innovative practices and finding student-centered solutions. She has successfully built a strong foundation at Queensborough and established a legacy of which we can all be proud.”

Before Call was president, she served as provost, leading the Academic Affairs Division of QCC where innovative academic programs were formed along with community partnerships that won students internships and a place in the job market.

“I am first in my family to go to college, I proudly consider myself Mexican American born to immigrant parents who came to the U.S. to give their kids a better future,” President of Student Government Association said Mabely Salvador Vasquez, president of the student government, as she addressed the graduating class during commencement June 1. “My story is not unique. “Out there, we have students from 127 different countries.”

Call is also credited with bringing High Impact Practices to the school, which helps educators assess cumulative learning in students, and for obtaining an historic $11.5 million grant from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY CUNY 2020.

This grant connects academic excellence with entrepreneurship and local economic development.

QCC has achieved record enrollment in recent years with up to 16,000 students each year and full-time faculty is also at a high of about 400, with about 83 percent holding the highest level degrees in their fields.

A graduate of Columbia University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Call was recognized as the 2018 Woman of Distinction by state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing).

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.