President of Jamaica’s York College steps down after 14 years to return to the classroom

Photo by Nat Valentine

York College President Marcia V. Keizs announced that she will step down effective Aug. 31, ending a tenure that she described as “14 wonderful and professionally satisfying years.”

Keizs, who came to CUNY in 1971 as an assistant professor of English, will next go to CUNY’s Bronx Community College, where she will return to the classroom and resume activities that propelled the early stages of her distinguished career.

“When I took the helm at York College, my vision was framed by the values and ideals that inspired and fueled the efforts of our founders,” Keizs said. “Thus, I made a commitment to build on their good work and to expand the reach of the college to meet emerging contemporary needs.”

Under her leadership, York College has increased its total enrollment by 23 percent and, in the past decade, first-year student enrollment has gone up 61 percent at its Jamaica campus.

“I’m proud to say that in due course, York College/CUNY has achieved significant milestones of which we can all be proud, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the entire college community, led by an innovative faculty, dedicated administrators and staff, ambitious students and our supportive external community including alumni, elected officials and volunteers, and with significant encouragement and assistance from CUNY’s central administration and board of trustees,” Keizs said.

William C. Thompson Jr., chair of the CUNY board of trustees called Keizs a consistent, creative innovator and a rock-solid steward.

“President Keizs’ leadership of York College was only the latest chapter in a distinguished career that included stops at five CUNY colleges and in the central office,” Thompson said. “It is with heartfelt gratitude , and sincere respect, that I thank Marcia for her unparalleled dedication and commitment to this university.”

Keizs becomes the fourth president of a CUNY college in Queens to step down in the past year after Dr. Diane Call who announced her retirement as president at Queensborough Community College, capping her 47-year career at the Bayside campus. Dr. Gail Mellow announced she would leave LaGuardia Community College in August and Félix V. Matos Rodríguez stepped down at Queens College after he was appointed CUNY Chancellor in February.

“I want to thank President Marcia V. Keizs for her many years of honorable and prodigious service to the City University of New York, starting in 1971,” Matos Rodríguez said. “President Keizs has been a champion and role model to students and teachers at York College, greatly strengthening the school’s academic programs, increasing enrollment and expanding its national profile. She has worked tirelessly to enlist talented and diverse faculty, and she established the structure of three schools. We thank President Keizs for her decades of tireless service, and wish her all the best in her return to teaching and other future endeavors.”

Under Dr. Keizs’ leadership, York established a three-school structure in which academic programs are housed in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Information Systems and the School of Health Sciences and Professional Programs. York also expanded undergraduate research, honors programs and study away/study abroad, which enabled students to study across the U.S. and around the world.

“These achievements serve our students well and position the college for future growth,” Keizs said. “Being a part of this extraordinary college has been a privilege, but it is time to pass the mantle of leadership to another.”

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