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Queens College is marking the start of a new beginning as the school community welcomes its incoming President Frank Wu, who will be the first Asian-American leader of a CUNY college in the world’s most diverse borough when he takes office on July 1.

Queens College students delivered a multilingual welcome to Wu in a new video with a phrase similar to “Welcome to Queens College!” in 17 languages. 

In total, 83 languages are represented on campus by a student body that identifies with nearly 140 ancestries. The languages spoken in the video are American Sign Language, Amharic, Arabic, Bukharian, Chinese (Mandarin), English, Fanti, Farsi (Persian), Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Urdu. 

Wu, in turn, acknowledged the challenges faced by the college, borough and city during the COVID-19 pandemic, and pledged his support going forward. 

“I know that I will be serving as president during a very difficult time in the history of our college community, city, state and nation,” Wu said in the video. “The pandemic has forced Queens College to shift to remote learning, created many financial difficulties, and left us concerned about the future. It has also caused profound heartache, with valued members of the Queens College community succumbing to this terrible disease.” 

“Difficult times often bring out the best in people. I am enormously impressed with the resiliency and strength of Queens College and the CUNY community,” Wu added.

Wu also thanked Interim President William Tramontano, who began leading the college in June 2019 after his predecessor, Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, was appointed chancellor of CUNY. 

Wu calls leading Queens College, “a dream job,” saying, “In fact, because you were my only choice, this was the only search I was in.” 

Wu is an American-born son of Chinese immigrants. He was a William L. Prosser distinguished professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He was unanimously appointed the 11th president of Queens College by the City University of New York’s board of trustees on March 30. 

Wu received a BA from Johns Hopkins University and a JD with honors from the University of Michigan. He completed the Management Development Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

The first Asian-American to serve as Queens College president — and the first Asian-American to serve as a president of a CUNY college in Queens County — Wu is well-known for breaking barriers and creating opportunities for student success. 

He was the first Asian-American on the faculty of the law school at historically black Howard University, and spent two years directing its law school clinic. He spent a decade serving on the board of Gallaudet University, which offers higher education to deaf and hearing-impaired students. Prior to joining UC Hastings as chancellor and dean, an office he held for five years, he was the dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit; he was the first Asian-American in those leadership roles.

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