LaGuardia Community College Provost Paul Arcario named as school’s interim president

Photo courtesy of CUNY

LaGuardia Community College Provost Paul Arcacio has been appointed interim president after serving the Long Island City campus for more than 30 years.

Known as a dedicated and creative leaders, Dr. Gail O. Mellow gave Arcario a robust endorsement as her replacement when she announced in February that she was stepping down after 19 years as the school’s president.

“The CUNY board of trustees will ultimately decide, but I could give no stronger endorsement to Paul Arcario,” Mellow said at the time. “He was raised here in Queens, speaks several languages including Mandarin and he’s a world traveler.”

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez did just that appointing Arcario who joined LaGuardia in 1988 as an ESL faculty member rising to his role as provost and senior vice president of the school in 2012. Arcario was responsible for managing the Academic Division’s $40 million annual budget, leading faculty recruitment and development, overseeing day-to-day management of key academic initiatives as well as supervising the Student Affairs Division.

“LaGuardia Community College has an incredibly welcoming, inclusive atmosphere, with faculty and staff who are dedicated to creating opportunities for our mostly low-income students,” Arcario said. “I’m honored to serve as interim president.”

Arcario is known for his own style of on-the-ground research such as enrolling in elementary algebra for students needing developmental mathematics before moving on to college-level classes at LaGuardia. He wanted first-hand data on why some LaGuardia students were struggling to pass developmental math — which 70 percent of LaGuardia students are placed into, with some needing to take the course several times before passing — making their route to graduation longer, more expensive and frustrating.

At the time, Arcario was LaGuardia’s dean of Academic Affairs.

“I wanted to support our math faculty, but I didn’t have a deep familiarity with our math curricula,” he said. “Just sitting in one or two classes would’ve given me a snapshot, not the full picture.”

CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez also announced that Berenecea Johnson Eanes was appointed interim president of York College in Jamaica effective Sept. 1. She will replace Marcia V. Keizs, who stepped down as president in July after 14 years so she could return to the classroom as a professor at Bronx Community College.

Of his new appointees, Matos Rodríguez said, “These individuals have already distinguished themselves for outstanding service, to say nothing of their versatility, ingenuity and longevity.”

Matos Rodríguez had been president at Queens College since 2014 before he was named CUNY Chancellor in February.