BY MARCIA V. KEIZS
As I reflect on York College’s milestone anniversary, I cannot but marvel at all we have achieved in this relatively short time. We have gone from leased space on the campus of Queensborough Community College to rented space in a former retail store on Jamaica Avenue, to the 50-acre state-of-the-art campus we now call our permanent home. None of this would have been possible without the support of members of the Jamaica community and elected leaders across the borough during the 1970s. They joined forces to locate this CUNY college here in Jamaica, with the mission to serve the higher education needs of this sector of the borough.
Under the leadership of President Milton G. Bassin – our performing arts center is now named in his honor – York College prevailed in assuring that we survived and thrived as a baccalaureate degree-granting institution in Southeast Queens. In 1980, Governor Carey saw fit to provide the capital funding to build our infrastructure; thus our Academic Core Building was erected, and it remains the engine of our academic enterprise to this day. We have now been in our permanent location since 1986, and the performing arts center, the health and physical education facility expanded our master plan. Today we look to the time when the Academic Village and Conference Center will be constructed on the footprint of the classroom building, thus completing the campus envisioned by our founders.
In the last decade, York College has built on the strong foundation that our founders established by realigning the academic programs into schools: The School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Information Systems and School of Health and Professional Programs. We have developed and broadened the degree offerings across all schools to meet emerging professional needs of the New York region; and we achieved external accreditation for many of our professional programs.
Our new and veteran faculty has been deeply engaged in developing new programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
I am immeasurably proud of the almost 27,000 men and women who have graduated from York starting with the very first class in 1971. They have made a difference in our city, state, nation and indeed the world through their stellar careers in law, government, medicine, research, education, business, the humanities and social sciences.
Some Alumni such as Dr. Donna Chirico, Professor Mary-Jo Kranacher, Professor Robert Clovey, Dr. Jean Phelps and many others, have proudly brought their talents back home to teach or serve in administrative positions at York, and in Dr. Chirico’s case, to now serve as well as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. These, and many other graduates, have been the standard bearers for our “little college that could.” They are a mere sampling of what York alumni have accomplished.
We have come thus far in our first 50 years with the strong support and partnership of our community. Together we continue the onward march to the next fifty years.