||Vol. 3 No. 5 May 5, 2008
Skadden, Arps Legal Studies Program to Promote Diversity
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms has committed $9.6 million over 10 years for the creation of a new rigorous and expansive program to increase diversity in law schools and the legal profession. The Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Honors Program in Legal Studies at CCNY (Skadden, Arps Honors Program) will provide talented students from diverse backgrounds with the education, groundwork and experience necessary to gain admission to, and succeed in, competitive law schools. “Thanks to this commitment from Skadden, Arps, we will create a nationally recognized undergraduate program in legal studies at one of the most diverse colleges in the nation that will help attract promising students across all ethnic and economic backgrounds to careers in the law.” President Williams said. “Since our founding in 1948, Skadden has recognized that excellence and diversity are intertwined, and we have sought to address the persistent lack of diversity in the legal profession,” added Joseph H. Flom, Skadden Senior Partner. The Skadden, Arps Honors Program is expected to welcome its first participants for the 2008-09 school year through a pre-honors sequence for freshmen and sophomores. When the program is fully implemented, up to 100 juniors and seniors, selected through a highly competitive process, will participate in a two-year scholars program. More on this story.
‘Mickey’ Ross, ’39, Gives $10 Million for Jewish Studies
Michael “Mickey” Ross, ’39, writer/producer for three of the most popular television sitcoms of the 1970s, has donated $10 million to establish the Michael and Irene Ross Center for Jewish Studies. President Williams announced the “transformative” gift at the conclusion of Elie Wiesel’s April 9 lecture in The Great Hall. The Michael and Irene Ross Center will house offices, conference space and a library for Jewish Studies faculty and students. In addition, it is expected to sponsor numerous activities including: an annual conference, annual lecture, a visiting professorship, trips for students and faculty to places of significance in Judaism and Jewish culture, and visitations to campus by important speakers and teachers. It will provide scholarships in Jewish Studies and publish a newsletter, as well. The gift from Mr. Ross also establishes the Michael and Irene Ross Chair in Hebrew and Yiddish. Mr. Ross, who broke into show business in the 1950s directing shows at the Green Mansions resort in the Adirondack Mountains, worked on “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Three’s Company.” He received an Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy in 1973 for “All in the Family.” More on this story.
Grad Student Corey Sullivan Receives Fulbright Scholarship
Corey E. Sullivan, who will be awarded a masters degree from CCNY’s School of Education this summer, has received a 2008-2009 Fulbright Scholars Award to teach English in Spain. As a Fulbright Scholar, she will go to Spain to investigate how the Spanish education system accounts for immigration, and to compare their approach with the United States. “I want to understand how second language acquisition is addressed within the school system, particularly for immigrants acquiring Spanish,” said Ms. Sullivan, a Boston native now living in Manhattan whose goal is to teach bilingual education. She said hopes her Fulbright experience will hone her communication skills in the classroom when she returns. As part of her M.A. program at City College, she taught English as a Second Language to elementary students at P.S. 156 in the South Bronx. Ms. Sullivan is the second CCNY student in as many years to win a Fulbright. Jessica Tibbets, ’07, who graduated with a degree in international studies, traveled to Yemen as a Fulbright scholar to study Arabic. More on this story.
Grad Student Film Picked As Student Academy Award Finalist
“Tijuana Nada Mas,” Yolanda Pividal’s 2007 thesis project in City College’s M.F.A. Program, is a finalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 35th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. The winners will be announced in Beverley Hills June 7. The film, about four homeless children in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, made the final cut in the documentary category with six other submissions from schools around the United States. Ms. Pividal, a Spanish-born television journalist who came to CCNY on a La Caixa Foundation Fellowship in 2005, is among 32 students from 20 colleges and universities selected as finalists. Last year, “Tijuana” won the $10,000 Fledgling Fund Award for Emerging Latino Filmmakers from the Independent Feature Project (IFP). It was also nominated for the Independent Documentary Association’s (IDA) David L.Wolper Student Doc Award. The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past Student Academy Award® winners have gone on to receive 35 Oscar® nominations and have won or shared six Academy Awards. Ms. Pividal graduated in June 2007 with an M.F.A. in writing and directing documentary films.
CCNY to Honor DA, Sculptor at Commencement
CCNY will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Mexican sculptor Enrique Carbajal, known professionally as “Sebastian,” at its 162nd Commencement, Friday, May 30. In addition, the City College President’s Medal for Distinguished Service will be presented to Robert M. Morgenthau, who has served as Manhattan District Attorney since 1975. This year’s Valedictorian is Antonia M. Florio. The 22-year-old Queens resident is graduating from the Macaulay Honors College with a 3.94 G.P.A. Ms. Floria majored in Biology and minored in Jewish Studies. Susan Lien will be the Salutatorian. She is graduating from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education with a B.S. degree in Biomedical Sciences and a 4.00 G.P.A. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. outside Shepard Hall. CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2008. Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of The City University of New York (CUNY) and a member of the CCNY Class of 1963, will offer greetings on the 45th anniversary of his graduation. Charles Shorter, a member of the CUNY Board of Trustees, will also offer remarks. This year’s graduating class includes approximately 2,900 students, of whom approximately 1,100 are candidates for bachelor’s degrees.
Jonathan Schell to Keynote “End Of War” Conference May 5
Noted author and journalist Jonathan Schell will be the keynote speaker at an all-day conference honoring Dr. Randall C. Forsberg Monday, May 5 in The Great Hall. Dr. Forsberg, an international authority on peace and disarmament and the first Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair of Political Science and International Security Studies at CCNY, passed away last fall. Mr. Schell will speak at 6 p.m. “Randy Forsberg dedicated her scholarship and public work to understanding the causes of war and the conditions for its amelioration and eventual abolition,” said Dr. Vince Boudreau, Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at CCNY. “It is therefore fitting that The City College welcomes this august assembly of her peers to memorialize her work for peace and her scholarly vision of an end to war.” Jonathan Schell is the author of “The Fate of the Earth,” “The Time of Illusion” and “The Unconquerable World: Power Nonviolence and the Will of the People,” among other books. Currently, he is a Fellow at the Nation Institute, Peace and Disarmament Editor for “The Nation” magazine and a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University. More on this story.
Harvard Medical Dean to Deliver Rudin Lecture May 13
Jeffrey S. Flier, M.D., Dean of Harvard Medical School and member of the Class of 1968, will deliver the Spring 2008 Samuel Rudin Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, in The Great Hall. Dr. Flier’s topic will be “Obesity 2008: Molecular Science Confronts an Expanding Epidemic.” Dr. Flier was named the 21st Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard in July 2007. One of the United States’ leading investigators in obesity and diabetes, his research has produced major insights into the molecular mechanism of insulin action, the molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance in human disease and the molecular pathophysiology of obesity. Dr. Flier is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2005, he received the Banting Medal from the American Diabetes Association, its highest honor. His other honors include the Eli Lilly Award from the American Diabetes Association, the Berson Lecture of the American Physiological Society and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Athens. More on this story.
Saxophonist Dick Oatts to Perform at CUNY Jazz Festival
Renowned saxophonist Dick Oatts, who has performed with such legends as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme during his illustrious career, will be the guest artist for the Ninth Annual CUNY Jazz Festival, May 8 - 9, at City College’s Aaron Davis Hall. “In the nine years since the festival started, the event has grown to one of the major events on our yearly calendar,” said Michael Holober, CCNY Assistant Professor of Music and Festival Director. Billed as “A Celebration of Jazz and Jazz Education,” the CUNY Jazz Festival features student ensembles from seven CUNY colleges: CCNY, Queens College, Queensborough Community College, Lehman College, York College, Hunter College and College of Staten Island. Groups from Japan’s Shobi University and LaGuardia High School will also perform. On Thursday, May 8, Mr. Oatts will appear as a guest soloist with the CCNY Jazz Orchestra and host an open jam session from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The following day, he will perform at the closing gala concert with his band, The Dick Oatts Quartet, at 7:30 p.m. All the events will be in Theater B and are free to the public. More on this story.
CCNY Steel Bridge Club Qualifies For Nationals
In only its second year of resumed competition, CCNY’s Steel Bridge Club has qualified to go to the national Steel Bridge Competition by taking second place in the metropolitan New York regional meet. CCNY bested teams representing Stevens Institute of Technology, The College of New Jersey, Cooper Union, Polytechnic University, and Rutgers University in the regional event, held April 5 at Stevens Institute in Hoboken, N.J., and finished behind the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Both CCNY and NJIT will go on to the finals, May 23 – 24 at University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. “Students in the Steel Bridge Club get a lot of practical experience working with materials that will be very important in their careers,” said the club’s advisor, Dr. Thomas Price, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in The Grove School of Engineering at CCNY. “They get to deal with a lot of things that aren’t covered in class such as fabrication, scheduling and connections.” More on this story.
Honors College Junior Anne Tan Wins New PR Scholarship
Anne Tan, a junior in The Macaulay Honors College at CCNY, has been selected for the first Art Stevens CCNY/PRSA-NY Public Relations Scholarship. The $5,000 scholarship is a gift from Art Stevens, a 1957 CCNY graduate and distinguished public relations practitioner, and the PRSA-NY (Public Relations Society of America – New York Chapter). The award will be made annually during the Spring semester. Ms. Tan, who majors in media and communication arts with a minor in English, was recognized for her academic excellence and strong desire to pursue a career in public relations. She has a 3.78 G.P.A. “I chose to major in public relations because the communications field offers something very powerful – a voice which is not readily and overtly available in many other fields,” said Ms. Tan, a resident of Sunnyside, Queens. “The public relations profession offers the means to be successful in reaching out to many people and to ultimately inspire change.” Professor Lynn Appelbaum, Director of CCNY’s Advertising and Public Relations Program, called Ms. Tan a top class student with all the skills to be a successful public relations practitioner. More on this story.
Chemistry Major Maggie He Receives Merck Award
Maggie He, a senior chemistry major, was selected as one of 10 students nationwide to receive the Merck Index Special Recognition Award in recognition of her research in organic chemistry. Maggie will be sponsored to attend the 236th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, August 18 in Philadelphia, where she will present a poster. The award carries a $500 stipend. Her research involved development and application of a novel reagent for preparation of phenyl (α-fluoro)vinyl sulfones, important synthetic intermediates used to produce many compounds. It was published earlier this year in the journal “Synlett,” with her mentor, Professor Barbara Zajc, and Dr. Arun Ghosh, a post-doctoral fellow in Professor Zajc’s laboratory. Professor Zajc called Maggie, who will pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at University of Pennsylvania after graduation, an “extremely motivated, bright, hard working” student. I was able to treat her like a graduate student.” Maggie, who was born in Canton, China, and now lives in Lower Manhattan, credits Professor Zajc with helping her find her career goal of becoming an organic synthetic chemist. “She is a great mentor who is very motivating, caring, helpful and patient. I am very lucky to have her.”
CCNY Grad Program Exhibits at Onassis Center
“Re-Considering Color: Postmodern Classical II,” an exhibition organized by Dr Harriet F. Senie, Director of the Master’s Program in Art History/Museum Studies at CCNY and her students, is on display at the Onassis Cultural Center, located in the public atrium of the Olympic Tower at Fifth Avenue & 51st Street, through June 1. The exhibit presents contemporary works that transform iconic images of ancient objects into present-day art with freshness, intensity, and humor, while asking viewers to question the assumption that classical sculpture and architecture were typically white. Works like Jim Dine’s Venuses recast the image of the white goddess using Cubist-styled fragments of color, while Barbara Kasten’s Architectural Site # 17 suggests temples in contemporary architecture with saturated chemical colors. The inspiration for the exhibition came after the CCNY students learned about the recent color studies done by other scholars. New research of ancient Greek statues and figures has revealed that the works were once vibrantly colored and patterned. The exhibit was made possible by a generous grant by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA). Visit www.onassisusa.org for more information.
Professor Alfano Receives Townes Award in Optics
Dr. Robert R. Alfano, Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering and Director of the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers, has been named the 2008 recipient of The Optical Society of America’s (OSA) Charles Hard Townes Award. The award will be presented at OSA’s Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, May 4-9 in San Jose, Calif. Professor Alfano is being honored for his discovery of and work on the supercontinuum, an ultrafast white light source produced by passing ultrafast laser pulses through matter. Its discovery has lead to a vast number of applications and recently played a key role in two Nobel Prize-winning experiments, one in chemistry and one in physics. The Townes Award, established in 1980, is given in recognition of outstanding experimental or theoretical work, discovery or invention in the field of quantum electronics. The award is named after Charles Hard Townes, 1964 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, whose pioneering contributions to masers and lasers led to the development of the field of quantum electronics. More on this story.
Professor Weinbaum Honored by Alma Mater, RPI
Dr. Sheldon Weinbaum, CUNY Distinguished Research Professor of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering in The Grove School of Engineering, received the 2008 Davies Medal, the highest honor given to an engineering alumnus by his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). A member of RPI’s Class of 1959, Professor Weinbaum joined the CCNY faculty in 1967 and was instrumental in establishing The Grove School’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the CUNY Ph.D. Program in Biomedical Engineering. Although he retired from classroom teaching in 2007, he continues to advise students and conduct research at CCNY, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 200 full-length journal papers plus numerous shorter communications and book chapters. Professor Weinbaum holds the distinction of being one of just seven living Americans elected to all three U.S. National Academies: Science, Engineering and Medicine. In addition to graduating from RPI, he holds a Ph.D. in Engineering and an M.S. in Applied Physics from Harvard University. More on this story.
Monograph to Profile Community Center by Dean Ranalli
ORO Editions, an architectural publishing firm, will issue a monograph early next year on a community center designed for a Brooklyn public housing complex by George Ranalli, Dean of CCNY’s School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. The Saratoga Avenue Community Center, in Brooklyn’s working class Brownsville neighborhood, involved renovating an existing 1,500 square foot space and building a 3,500 square foot addition. It includes a multipurpose meeting room, kitchen, bathrooms and an office. For the facades, Ranalli’s team selected masonry to convey density and mass, perforated by an array of windows and door to let in light and allow viewing. In addition, they designed two landscaped areas to provide outdoor seating. “It is a sophisticated building designed on a virtually impossible budget,” Dean Ranalli said. “The fact that David Burney, Director of the New York City Housing Authority, gave this commission to us was remarkable.” Professor Michael Sorkin, Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design, is writing the text for the monograph, the fourth to be produced on one of Dean Ranalli’s projects and work. The Saratoga Avenue Community Center was previously featured in “The New York Times” and “Architectural Record.”
Professor’s Book Advocates Fitting Architecture to Landscape
In a new book that draws heavily on projects from his private practice, CCNY Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture Peter Gisolfi argues that form should follow context and accommodate function instead of simply following function. “Finding the Place of Architecture in the Landscape” (Images Publishing Group Pty. Ltd. 2008) advocates an “adaptive architecture that is responsive to its setting in an ecological sense, much as we understand that a beaver’s dam or a beehive are adaptive responses.” This is distinct from the “internationalist” perspective, popularized in the mid-20th Century, which views buildings as independent objects that “can be located anywhere in the world, on almost any site, in any climate.” “The most important feature of Mr. Gisolfi’s work is that it always deals with buildings and landscapes together,” architecture historian Vincent J. Scully wrote in the introduction. The 292-page book, with 400 photographs, plans and renderings, is organized in five sections based on the types of landscapes encountered: townscapes, campus, landscapes and buildings, gardens and houses and transformations. Illustrated projects include libraries, schools, colleges and universities, houses of worship, parks, private residences, resorts and art centers. “I try to understand what the landscape tells us,” Professor Gisolfi says. “Understanding this landscape in all its complexity is the first step in deciding how to proceed.”
Professor Baumslag Joins Computer Science
In a move that formalizes the direction his research has taken in recent years, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Gilbert Baumslag has joined CCNY’s Computer Science Department. A faculty member since the early 1970s, Professor Baumslag’s early career interests revolved around computational algebra and infinite group theory. In addition to generating a prolific output of lectures, research and publication, which has not slowed down, he assumed leadership of the renowned New York Group Theory Cooperative in 1975, and still hosts its weekly lecture series. That commitment led to the creation of MAGNUS, an innovative software interface that managed and facilitated infinite group theory research for scientists who were not computer experts. MAGNUS’ success spurred Professor Baumslag to establish the Center for Algorithms and Interactive Scientific Software (CAISS) in 2001. CAISS develops reusable software to carry out scientific computation and research for the broadest user class. Its array of projects now includes cryptography, security protocols, game theory, learning aids and computer books. The shift in the thrust of his research prompted the Computer Science Department to invite Professor Baumslag to align his efforts and energies with their own, and to draw support from The Grove School of Engineering. The move, which was formalized last December, will contribute to the department’s growing strength, particularly in symbolic computation.
Sustainable CCNY Goes CCNY Green
CCNY’s campus-wide sustainability initiative is now known as CCNY Green. The new name was announced by President Williams at an April 17 Earth Day Festival held on campus. CCNY Green’s logo, featuring the letter “Y” in the form of a tree, was applied to T-shirts and other items given away at the event, as well as to task force’s website, http://www1.ccny.cuny.edu/facultystaff/ccnygreen/. President Williams also presented an iPod Nano to Dominik Wisniewski, the student whose design was selected as the winning identity in a competition organized by the Media and Communications Arts Department. More than 300 students attended the event, which was intended to increase awareness for recycling and other ways to reduce people's impact on the environment. CCNY Green is a commitment by CCNY’s faculty, students and administration to rethink the way we teach, learn, research, operate and live on campus. It is led by a multidisciplinary task force that coordinates multiple efforts to promote sustainable practices through learning across the various academic divisions, business and operations practices, and planning. The task force also ensures compliance with the College’s obligations under the President’s Climate Commitment and the CUNY Sustainability Project/PlaNYC.
Pioneering Valedictorian Devotes Career to Women’s Rights
Back in 1986, Marie-Elena John, an international student from Antigua, made history by becoming CCNY’s first black female valedictorian. Last month, Ms. John, now a celebrated novelist and advocate for women’s rights in the developing world, returned to campus to speak at the 11th NYC-LSAMP Annual Urban University Conference. While on a CCNY study abroad program in Nigeria, Ms. John was drawn to human rights, pro-democracy and other developmental issues in Africa. She became an authority on women’s inheritance rights and earned acclaim for her debut novel “Unburnable, which was selected as “Best Debut of 2006” by “Black Issues Book Review” and made the short list for the 2007 Hurston-Wright Legacy Awards. She is currently adapting the novel into a screenplay while working on a second novel. Ms. John, who received a B.A. in mass communication, said she considered being chosen as Valedictorian “among my top five accomplishments. It still opens doors for me today.”
State, City Leaders Eulogize CCNY Staffer Gloria Thomas
Gov. David A. Paterson was one of the many leading state and city officials who paid tribute to City College employee and Harlem activist Gloria Bynoe-Thomas, who died April 7 after a brief illness. She was 59. “She was passionately concerned about the rebuilding of Harlem Hospital,” Gov. Paterson said. “I loved Gloria almost as much as she loved Harlem,” he added. Inez Dickens, Council Member for District 9 and a childhood friend, said Ms. Thomas was “light, life, dreams and possibility to all.” CCNY President Gregory Williams noted that Ms. Thomas was much loved by her colleagues and by the students she served so well. “She will be missed,” he said. Ms. Thomas, who earned a B.S. degree in International Studies from CCNY, spent nearly 30 years at her Alma Mater in various positions. She started in the Division of Social Science as assistant to the Dean. She later worked as assistant to the director of the Institute for Research in the African Diaspora and the Caribbean (IRADAC). A life-long Harlem resident, Ms. Thomas was active in the community with numerous organizations, including the Community Advisory Board of Harlem Hospital and Friends of Harlem Hospital, both of which she chaired.
Professor Emeritus Myer Fishman, ’38, Dies at 89
Dr. Myer M. Fishman, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry passed away April 13. He was 89. Professor Fishman received his B.S. from CCNY in 1938 and earned his M.S. (1940) and Ph.D. (1942) from the University of Minnesota. He returned to CCNY in 1946 as an instructor and became a full Professor in 1969. The same year, he was named Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. During the 1970s, he started and served as director of the NIH-funded Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) programs, which support underrepresented students participating in biomedical research. He also launched the College Research Scholars (CRS) program funded by the College. CRS offers financial support to non-minority students who participate in biomedical research. Many graduates from the three programs have gone on to attend professional and graduate schools and have successful careers. Over his 40 years of service on the Chemistry faculty, Professor Fishman mentored many alumni. He retired in 1986, but continued as director of the biomedical research programs for several years after. He also served as a director of the Science Alumni Association until his death.
From the President
Last month, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Reaccreditation Team visited our campus. For three days, team members met with members of our Middle States Steering Committee, faculty, administrators and students to review and evaluate our self-study report and supporting documents. While we have not yet received the formal report, , I am pleased to tell you that the Team informed us that City College is in “full compliance” with all 14 accreditation standards used by Middle States. The team report will ultimately go to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which will vote on the College’s reaccreditation in mid-June.
Congratulations and thanks to our Middle States Co-Chairs, Deputy to the Provost Leslie Galman and Professor Lynn Appelbaum, the Steering Committee members and the many other members of the faculty and staff who devoted countless hours to prepare our report. Your diligence, hard work and professionalism not only resulted in a successful process, but also created a foundation that we can build upon to make City College an even stronger institution in the future.
Gregory H. Williams
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