CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez

“When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back!” wrote Linda Poindexter, and how powerful those simple words are. My dad was that man, and the men I met with last week all had the power of caring behind them.

It was a “jump for joy” moment when I got the word that the CUNY board, led by the brilliant William Thompson had appointed the President of Queens College to lead the entire CUNY world as its chancellor.

Last week, my son Josh and I had a chance to visit with old friend Félix Matos Rodriguez in his spacious, 23rd floor office in Manhattan. Besides a lingering cold, he appeared joyous and excited about the challenges he faces.

After all, he will be running 25 campuses in every borough, including the CUNY School of Law, the Newmark School of Journalism and the School of Public Health and Health Policy.

CUNY is the largest public university system in the United States, enrolling over 250,000 students a year with a budget of $3 billion.

Running it is no small task, but Rodriguez is a man who has been perfectly groomed for the position. Our city is profoundly fortunate to have a man of his quality and knowledge lead one of the most important institutions in our country.

When we met that afternoon, I shared my concern that every CUNY school in Queens lost its president this year.

The upside, however, is that he has an opportunity to appoint quality people to the roles that have had the best presidents in the system.

All eyes are on him, and my bet is that he will make us all proud!

After our meeting with the new chancellor, we went up the block to visit Ralph Bumbaca, the newly appointed market president for New York City at TD Bank.

Like me, Brooklyn-born, Ralph now lives in Rockville Centre, a super dad finding time to participate in his kids baseball, basketball and soccer leagues. But I know him from his years with me as treasurer of the Metro Boys and Girls Club board, making a difference with needy kids.

His leadership as TD Bank’s United Way ambassador has served as a powerful way to give back. Ralph takes the place of the superb and beloved Peter Meyer, who’s moving on to run TD Bank’s mid-Florida operations, as he had done in New York. He will be missed but Ralph gets it about community and will be a worthy carrier of Peter’s “torch.”

As many of my readers know, I adore and love my son, Josh. But I got to see another Josh that I love in a different way — Josh Groban, the 39 year old with a golden voice. He appeared this weekend at NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum to a full house.

His haunting, warm and engaging performance ended a magical week of seeing powerful men in different worlds but all at the top of their game!

Theatre at its best

The father-and-son managing partners who rebuilt and operate the Argyle Theatre in Babylon Village, Mark and Dylan Perlman, continue to bring great theatre productions, special events and children’s programs to the community.

Last Friday, after fighting the traffic going east, I adored watching the immensely talented performers of “Million Dollar Quartet” at the theatre.

It’s the story of the chance encounter of the men who were to become the greatest legends in rock and roll: Elvis Presley, my favorite Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, the writer of Blue Suede Shoes, the song ironically made famous by his friend Elvis!

It was a casual afternoon, but fortunately, the engineer on duty that day recorded it for posterity.

I had seen the show on Broadway and adored the music from my childhood performed. If I shut my eyes, the singers’ voices sounded identical to the original singers.

I recommend you run, not walk, to the Argyle for Broadway-quality performances in our backyard. It’s a great opportunity to also experience the Village of Babylon, a bustling scene with many restaurants and pubs to relax before or after the performances.

“Million Dollar Quartet” runs through June 23, then July 11 brings on the fun, upbeat “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” Call 631-230-3500 or go to argyletheatre.com to learn about their other events.

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