End of Semester Message from President Marcia V. Keizs

As we near the end of our fall semester, I pause to congratulate our students, faculty and staff on a successful term thus far; and to wish our students well as they prepare for finals.

So as you, students, hand in term papers and study for final exams, I encourage you all to endure until the last paper has been submitted and the last final exam taken. Following that, I wish everyone a happy holiday season. Enjoy it safely so that you may return for the spring semester reenergized to complete the academic year with success and satisfaction.

As I reflect on the semester, it is my opinion that it has been a good one in many ways. The college was able to continue to hire new faculty who bring energy and intellect to the benefit of our academic programs. We recruited a robust cohort of new freshmen and transfer students eager to start or continue their academic journey. And we were also able to fill the gaps in some administrative and student support areas with top flight staff ready to contribute to our identified goals. Very importantly, the fall semester saw the implementation of our new Charter, our first set of changes in governance since 1986. I am pleased to observe that beyond a few minor hiccups in September, the implementation has been embraced in good faith by faculty, students and administration alike.

Among the many wonderful programmatic events that took place was one I would like to applaud. It was a collaborative effort, led by student development and Academic Affairs, to plan and execute the first-year reader program. This year the committee, comprised of faculty from many disciplines, members of the library and student development staff, selected the book “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” by renowned author Claude M. Steele. The work was chosen because of the fine presentation of important social psychology research in accessible and personal ways, that the committee thought would appeal to our multi-ethnic audience and which they believed would form a strong foundation for related and co-curricular activities. The events culminated in a standing-room-only lecture and book signing in November, when the author, Dr. Steele, currently [the] Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of California, Berkley, led a vibrant discussion and answered questions. I want to thank all those involved, but especially Dr. [Cynthia] Haller and Dean [Vincent] Banrey for their leadership.

However, the experience of the semester was marred by the tragic death of a student. Nineteen year-old freshman Peyton Manwaring and a friend were victims of gun violence at a Halloween party in Rosedale, Queens. This reminds us that as we celebrate our holidays, we want to reflect on those around us who have lost friends and family members and those whose circumstances may not be as good as ours and commit to doing something about it.

Let me also extend my appreciation to everyone for your patience with the many renovation and repair projects taking place on our campus, including the Academic Core water penetration project; the escalator repair; and the replacement of underground pipes connecting the Academic Core and the PAC, that has resulted in the closing of the primary gate of the main parking lot. While some of the projects will achieve closure soon, others will extend into the spring semester.

Once again, my best wishes for a good close to the semester. Happy Holidays and all the best in the year to come!