September 2023

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I always look forward to the beginning of the academic year, filled with so much possibility. Whether this is your first semester at QC or you have returned to campus, I hope you are as excited as I am for the fall.


The weeks leading up to this semester were busy and rewarding for us.  

On August 10, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and University Chief Information Officer Eusebio Formoso visited campus. After a tour of I Building, where the Office of Information Technology Services holds computer training sessions, we discussed technology needs, challenges, and opportunities. (Seen below are ITS Chief of Staff Evelyn Alvarenga, Chief Information Officer and Assistant Vice President Troy Hahn, Formoso, and ITS Server Operations Manager Elijah Morgan.)

One week later, Congresswoman Grace Meng came to Queens College to announce $1 million in federal funding to help the Queens Chamber of Commerce set up a new program, the Small Business Legal Desk. Through this initiative, local small businesses will be able to consult professionals in human resources, finance and accounting, and legal issues free of charge—and in five languages other than English. Congresswoman Meng is one of the college’s strongest supporters and I’m delighted she made this announcement at our campus, joined by Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Grech, LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams, LaGuardia’s Small Business Development Center Director Rosa Figueroa, and representatives from numerous business associations. The press event highlighted the valuable relationships linking Queens College—and our School of Business, the Small Business Development Center in Queens Hall, and the on-campus Tech Incubator—to the borough’s business community.

That same day, the college’s Tech Incubator, in collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration Metro New York District Office, launched a series of virtual presentations marking August as Black Business Month. I offered remarks by video.

For Queens College, August is the time to greet new students and faculty. The welcome wagon was in almost constant motion, as you can see from these images.

I met the latest group of Kessler Scholars on August 16, during their Summer Bridge Program. Kessler Scholars are the first in their families to attend college; the Bridge Program gives them a few days to get acclimated to campus before classes begin.

Ubuntu—a mentorship program for first-year students of color—held its orientation on August 21.

QC volunteers, including yours truly, helped students move into the Summit Apartments on August 22.

On the same day, the newest Global Student Success Program (GSSP) cohort learned about their home away from home and shared a photo op with staffers, orientation leaders, and student workers. The GSSP class of 2027 is the largest and most diverse to date, with nearly 100 new international students from 14 countries. Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Panama are represented for the first time.

Exchange students from across the country and around the world got their introduction to QC on August 23.

QC was able to appoint nearly 60 new faculty members for the current academic year; I had the opportunity to greet them at their orientation on August 23.

First-year and transfer students marched through the main gate and onto the Quad for Welcome Day on August 24. With icebreakers, lunch, and live music, a fine time was had by all.

QC is proud to partner with The Dream US; I met this year's scholarship recipients after attending Welcome Day.

Members of the Psychology Department described its programs to students over pizza on August 29.

Since the Armstrong Center opened in July, it has been getting rave reviews from one media outlet after another. On August 31, I was honored to join Congresswoman Grace Meng and a Washington, DC delegation on a tour of the center and the Louis Armstrong House Museum right across the street. (Below, I'm pictured with Congresswoman Meng and Louis Armstrong House Museum Executive Director Regina Bain.)

QC has been in the news, too, ranked highly in the latest annual guides. Queens is listed in Princeton Review Best Colleges for the 32nd consecutive year. QC is also a Money magazine Best College and has been designated a Military Friendly and Military Spouse Friendly School by Victory, a media company.

Headshot of Yearwood

Several new administrative appointments were announced over the summer.


In July, Simone Yearwood was named interim dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. A triple Queens College alumna—she holds a BA in sociology, an MLS, and a master’s in urban affairs—Simone is a familiar face on campus. She previously served as associate dean and chief librarian of Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library. 

Last month, vacancies were filled in the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Leadership (CETLL); the Asian American / Asian Research Institute (AA/ARI); and Academic and Faculty Affairs. Soniya Munshi, known to many at QC as the interim executive director of AA/ARI, was appointed the director of CETLL. Replacing her at AA/ARI is Yung-Yi Diana Pan, most recently an associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center. Maria A. DeLongoria was appointed interim associate provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs. She comes to QC from Medgar Evers College, where she chaired the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences and was executive director of the Caribbean Research Center.

Soniya Munshi

Yung-Yi Diana Pan

Maria A. DeLongoria

We congratulate everyone on their appointments and welcome the newcomers to the Queens College community.

Because the semester has just started, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of changes in campus access, adopted following extensive consultation with campus stakeholders. QCards are no longer required at pedestrian gates from 6 am to 11 pm. From 11 pm to 6 am, Summit residents and authorized staff, faculty, and research personnel can enter campus at two locations—the Main Gate at Kissena Boulevard and Gate 3 at 153rd Street and Reeves Avenue—by showing a valid QCard. For complete details, please see the recent mailer on this topic. No one will be asked to provide proof of vaccination; however, there are indications that a new COVID variant is circulating in New York City. Fall also resurrects the threats of flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Please wear a mask if that makes you more comfortable. I urge anyone who feels ill to stay home. 

A diverse campus deserves diverse cuisine. I’m happy to report that we’re expanding food service to offer more choices for everyone, including halal, kosher, and vegetarian (such as The Anda Cafe in the Student Union) options. Additions to menus will take place throughout the semester. The schedule is explained in the recent mailer from CFO Joe Loughren.

The Tech Incubator is beginning the semester with a new program, Tech Saturdays Tech Saturdays at TIQC – Tech Incubator Services (, hosted by former incubator intern Muhammad Raza ’20. Sessions take place in person on the first and third Saturdays of the month, from 10 am to noon. Here’s a chance to learn from an alumnus who is active in this critical sector of our economy.

I’ll end this newsletter on a somber note: Next Monday, we will gather on Cooperman Plaza (near Rosenthal Library) at 8:30 am to honor the memory of those who perished on September 11. For those who can’t attend in person, a video of the ceremony will be posted to Queens College’s YouTube channel.


PS: It’s the season for county fairs, and you don’t have to leave Queens to attend one. The Queens County Farm Museum is holding its 44th annual fair next weekend, September 8-10, featuring crafts, hayrides, music, a maize maze, and lots of food. This is a great opportunity to support a local nonprofit that collects donations for our Knights Table Food Pantry every year.

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