Four City University of New York (CUNY) colleges in Queens received a significant financial boost from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards’ office on Monday, May 25.
At a press conference at the Queens College Student Union Diner, Richards announced his commitment to allocate $4.5 million, which are included in the city’s fiscal year 2022, to a series of projects for Queens College, LaGuardia Community College, Queensborough Community College (QCC) and York College.
“We will allow CUNY to continue to be a beacon of educational excellence and a transformative engine of social mobility that enriches every part of the fabric of our city,” Richards said.
President of Queens College Frank Wu was delighted to welcome his colleagues, students and elected officials to the campus.
“I thank all of our dedicated, elected officials for your support for public higher education as the engine of the American Dream,” Wu said. “It is critical for thousands of students, not only here, but all the CUNY campuses throughout the borough.”
Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, the chancellor of the nation’s largest urban public university system that was founded in 1847, thanked the borough president for his lobbying efforts with the City Council to secure the funds for CUNY.
“There is no dollar that you’re going to put in as borough president that’s going to last. It’s going to give more,” Rodríguez said. “All of those announcements made today are going to create jobs, many for residents here in Queens where we need them.”
The funds allocated to Queens College will go toward the renovation of the Food Science and Management laboratory. It supports studies in food management and sustainability, which contribute to the health and well being of the community.
Zaire Couloute, president of the Queens College Student Association, thanked the borough president and his team for their vision and commitment to CUNY.
“What you’re doing here today, Borough President Richards, is sending a clear signal that CUNY colleges are closely tied to the future of our borough into higher education and their students and families that deserve modern facilities,” Couloute said. “Your announcement is truly tied to the economic recovery of our students, our city and our borough.”
The financial capital for LaGuardia College is dedicated to the construction of science, occupational and physical therapy labs, which will enable the college to provide more students with the training they need to succeed in healthcare professions.
Sunil Gupta, vice president of LaGuardia Community College, thanked Richards for the generous contribution on behalf of LaGuardia Community College President Ken Adams, faculty and students.
“LaGuardia graduates some of the highest numbers of STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] disciplined students,” Gupta said. “And as we are building more equitable jobs in our borough, this lab you have supported will help towards that goal.”
York College will finally see the renovation of the college’s outdoor track and field, which had become unusable due to subsurface soil erosion. Once the renovation is completed, the facility can be fully utilized by both students and residents and will be able to host championship-level competitions.
Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes, president of York College, said that the investment was the beginning of the “One York” agenda and that the renovation was long overdue.
“We are excited about what is going to happen with that track and field,” Eanes said. “And I was reminded on my arrival that I needed to have [a] ribbon-cutting and get some young people in our community and our students on the track and field.”
The funds for QCC will be allocated for the construction of a third chemistry lab. Additionally, the restrooms at QCC, which serves more students with disabilities than any other CUNY college, will be renovated to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Christine Mangino, president of QCC, thanked Richards and Councilman Barry Grodenchik for their support.
“Opening up an additional chemistry lab will enable additional students to participate in undergraduate research,” Mangino said.
Newly elected Councilman James Gennaro praised CUNY for its dedication to its student body.
“It was a privilege to be able to be part of the lives of people who were not only trying to move themselves forward but were doing so much for so many,” said Gennaro, who taught at CUNY in the late ’90s.
Grodenchik described CUNY as “the portal to greatness for so many New Yorkers who have gone on from this great school and all the CUNY campuses to do so many wonderful things.”