News from LaGuardia Community College
Dear friends --

I am pleased to send you this first edition of a new monthly newsletter I have developed with our communications team. My hope is that this will give you a sample of highlights at the college along with insights into issues, initiatives, and activities that are worth noting as we forge ahead. Blame for errata, omissions, and editorial choices is mine. If you have questions or suggestions please send them to

Starting a college presidency in the middle of a pandemic and fiscal crisis has been a unique experience. Covid-19 has impacted our students both financially and emotionally. Our top priority is making sure that they tap into our many resources to help them address their needs, including our food pantry, emergency funds to pay rent and utilities, counseling, help applying for SNAP benefits, tutoring, loaner laptops, and more, so they can succeed in their classes and get to graduation.  

The upside is getting to watch LaGuardia’s faculty and staff work incredibly hard to ensure that college services and classes are of the same high-quality virtually as they are when our campus is fully open. A massive global pandemic has in no way lessened the passion, commitment, and work ethic of the LaGuardia staff and faculty. Nor has it diminished the hopes and dreams of our students. Thank you for your support.
Best wishes,

Unparalleled 100% Pass Rate Streak for Nursing
In a feat unmatched by many colleges throughout New York, 100% of LaGuardia’s nursing students have passed the national nursing licensing exam, the NCLEX, on their first try for the past seven quarters in a row! To say that we are proud of our nursing students and faculty, led by Kathleen Karsten, PhD, RN, would be an understatement. Our nursing graduates work throughout New York and beyond; traveling nurse Alexandra Marie Chang, RN (LaGuardia’14), pictured here, has worked all over the world—from Afghanistan to Nepal. Recently, she was honored by the Nursing Association of the Counties of Long Island for her frontline service during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even Colleges Benefit from Self-Reflection
LaGuardia, like all institutions of higher education, is required to be reviewed regularly by our accrediting body. There are many benefits to reaccreditation; one of which is that it forces us to examine our college mission and strategic priorities. I recently spoke with Professors Reem Jaafar and Justin Rogers-Cooper who are leading the Steering Committee for our Self-Study—an arduous process involving the work of over 100 faculty and staff, as well as the sharp insight of Nava Lerer, our Dean of Institutional Effectiveness.
Getting New Yorkers Back to Work
New York Community Trust granted LaGuardia $200,000 toward scholarships for low-income Queens residents ready to be on the frontlines, caring for New Yorkers as EMTs and paramedics.

Music Faculty Imagine Our Community Coming Together
LaGuardia’s world-class music faculty recently produced a virtual performance of John Lennon’s iconic Imagine. Tom Dempsey (pictured here), professor of music and program director of Music Performance, selected the song and arranged a West Indian style because, “I wanted something that spoke broadly and had a unifying message in this time when we’re very much separated and isolated. Imagine represents LaGuardia’s hopeful spirit."

Publishing Deal
LaGuardia student Rosa Guevara has her first publishing deal! An article she wrote for The Bridge, our student news publication, will be reprinted in a W. W. Norton & Company college writing textbook called Let’s Talk. Kudos to Meghan Fox, English professor and Bridge advisor, and Aimee Calandria of our development department for making this happen. And big thanks to Marilyn Moller, Norton editor and a self-described “big fan of LaGuardia!” for showcasing the college in Let’s Talk. The textbook, expected to be out in January 2021, also includes an excerpt from former LaGuardia President Gail Mellow’s 2017 op-ed in The New York Times.

Lessons from Gayle King
Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning, recently spoke with students in LaGuardia’s President’s Society, our pioneering student leadership development program. Ms. King talked about her career path and shared tips for keeping calm during stressful situations.  

Hands-On Classes Held Safely On-Campus
Thanks to the hard work of LaGuardia’s Essential Workers, the 154 members of our Public Safety, Facilities & Housekeeping and Environmental Health & Safety teams, we have been able to hold on-campus classes this semester for a limited number of courses that require hands-on work and cannot be replicated virtually. One example is our Veterinary Technology Animal Handling Class. Student Mark Gilson, pictured here with his crested gecko Buster, has been relieved to get back into the classroom.