The Legacy of York College President, Dr. Marcia Keizs

Dr. Marcia V. Keizs

Dr. Marcia V. Keizs

On February 14, 2005, Dr. Marcia V. Keizs became the sixth president of York College in Jamaica. York, a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) established in 1966, enrolls more than 8,400 students in the liberal arts, career and professional programs on its modern 50-acre downtown Jamaica campus. But before her time guiding York towards where it is today, Keizs worked hard to earn her spot leading one of the most unique campuses in New York City.

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Dr. Keizs is a graduate from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. When deciding to further her career, she attended Teachers College at Columbia University earning her Master’s and her Doctorate. She impressively holds a certificate in Educational Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Continuing her stint in New York after completing her educational exploits, Dr. Keizs started her CUNY career. She became an English professor more than 30 years ago before transitioning to administration.

Prior to her appointment as president of York College, she was the vice president of Academic Affairs at Bronx Community College CUNY for seven years. Her scholarship includes published articles in her area of specialty, African American Literature.

As previously mentioned, just 11 years ago, Keizs would be appointed President of York College located in the heart of Southeast Queens. In addition to offering baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, business, health, human services, teacher education and other professional programs, York is the only CUNY senior college offering majors in gerontology, biotechnology, information systems management, and a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in occupational therapy. York is home of the CUNY Aviation Institute and the Northeastern Regional Laboratory of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Under President Keizs’ nine-year leadership however, York College has strengthened its academic programs by gaining national accreditations and creating new academic offerings in aviation management, pharmaceutical science, journalism, generic nursing, logistics and supply chain, and health sciences and bolstered the college’s partnership with the FDA.

The president has been credited with placing York firmly on the path of excellence.

York College has increased its full-time faculty by approximately 40 percent and established an Undergraduate Research Program and a collaborative Honors Program with the FDA while structuring the College into three distinct schools: the School of Business & Information Systems; School of Health & Behavioral Sciences; and the School of Arts & Sciences.

Student enrollment has grown by 25 percent with freshman enrollment experiencing an unprecedented 61 percent growth over five years during which first-year student admissions standards were raised and a private fundraising campaign for Merit Scholars was undertaken.

Keizs has led the completion of multiple facility renovation projects that have enhanced the campus environment including building an appropriate technology infrastructure. A new Master Plan has established York College’s need for an Academic Village and Conference Center (AVCC), a nine-story, 162,988 square foot space to be anchored by the School of Business and Information Systems and create new administrative and student affinity spaces. This structure promises to transform the College’s physical environment and meet the growing needs of both the college and the community.

A firm believer in community service and academic citizenship, Dr. Keizs serves as the CUNY Representative on the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Council of State Representatives. She also serves on the boards of the Morris Heights Health Center, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the Jamaica YMCA, the Regional Planning Association and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council. She previously served on the boards of the NCAA Division III President’s Council and the American Council on Education’s Commission on Effective Leadership. Keizs is also the founding editor of the New York Carib News, one of the biggest publications for Carribean news here in New York City.

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