Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.
QView #110 | October 13, 2021
What’s News
Happy Birthday, QC! Eighty-four years ago this week—on October 11, 1937—Queens College welcomed its first 400 students, evenly divided between men and women. At a dedication ceremony 15 days later, New York City’s Mayor Fiorello La Guardia told the celebrants, “Keep your buildings low and your ideals high.” Given that Kiely Hall is the tallest structure on campus, QC has succeeded on both counts.
Above, from left: AVP for Student Affairs Jennifer Jarvis, President Frank H. Wu, and Student Development and Leadership Director Dwayne Jones field questions from Knight News staff. Below, from left: Knight News editor-in-chief Johnny Sullivan, Knight News advisor Jason Tougaw, and President Wu continue the discussion.
Student journalists broke bread—in the form of pizza—instead of stories when President Frank H. Wu, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jennifer Jarvis, and Student Development and Leadership Director Dwayne Jones held a lunchtime meeting with the Knight News on Tuesday, October 5. Editors and reporters who couldn’t attend the gathering in the Dining Hall’s Patio Room participated via Zoom.
Commemorating Claire Shulman
As Queens Borough president—the first woman to hold that post—the late Claire Shulman worked tirelessly on behalf of constituents and local institutions, including Queens College. Now her huge presence in the borough is commemorated in a larger-than-life-size statue. Thomas Chen, founder and chairman of Flushing-based Crystal Window & Door Systems (seen in photo at right with Shulman), commissioned this six-foot bronze figure of Shulman in motion and unveiled it at his company’s headquarters on Thursday, October 7. Later this month, the statue will be installed permanently in Crystal Park, Chen’s art-filled nature preserve in Dutchess County.
A statue of former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman towers over (from left) former New York State Assemblywoman Ellen Young, Queens Borough President Chief of Staff Franck Joseph, Queens Deputy Borough President Rhonda Binda, New York State Senator John Liu, Crystal Window & Door Systems President Steve Chen, Congresswoman Grace Meng, New York State Senator Toby Stavisky, New York State Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal, and Crystal Window & Door Systems Founder and Chairman Thomas Chen on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)
Su Casa Es Tu Casa
In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month, the Louis Armstrong House Museum is offering thematic programming. This week, the Louis En Casa schedule includes music performances as well as virtual and in-person tours conducted in Spanish.

“Louis En Casa is a celebration of Latin America and its diaspora in Corona, in Queens, and around the world,” says LAHM Executive Director Regina Bain. “It is a part of the museum's ongoing commitment to tell Louis Armstrong’s story of global influence, migration, and cultural exchange. As we prepare to open the new Armstrong Center, the House Museum will continue to grow programs like Louis En Casa that live Armstrong’s values of artistic excellence, education, and community.”
Tennis Management, Anyone?
Registration is now open for the next cohort of Queens College’s Professional Tennis Management (PTM) Certificate program; courses will begin on Monday, November 22, 2021.

Accredited by the United States Tennis Association, PTM is the only such program in the nation offered on a nondegree basis. The certificate has two tracks—Tennis Professional and Tennis Management—developed for accomplished tennis players and sports managers. Through online modules, evening classes at the college, and on-court training sessions, students will prepare to become instructors, coaches, administrators, and sports business owners. The certificate is designed to be completed in 18 months; participants don’t have to hold or pursue an undergraduate degree.

“Queens College has many years’ experience with professional education for working adults,” says Queens College President Frank H. Wu. “Such courses can have an enormous impact on social mobility and life opportunities, which is extremely valuable to the students and communities we serve. We think the non-degree Professional Tennis Management Certificate program will create a wealth of opportunities, particularly for those hoping to pursue a degree while also fulfilling their work and life commitments.”
Alum Helps Knights and Olympians Get Back on the Field
Ariel Nassim ’08 has always had a love for sports. Though he never made it as a professional athlete, he still found his way to Tokyo this summer for the 2020 Olympics as a doctor of internal medicine and sports medicine for Team USA.

As a member of Team USA’s medical staff, Nassim coordinated daily testing of athletes and staff for COVID-19 and assisted athletes in preventing and recovering from injuries.

“It was a great opportunity to get out and go see Team USA,” said Nassim. “We did our part. I was there supporting them medically. That’s what I was able to provide and it allowed them to compete in their top shape.”

Being part of Team USA was an experience of a lifetime for Nassim, who grew up loving sports.

“There is a certain aura just being at the Olympics—being around these people who are the best athletes in the world,” he observed. “And it’s just that aura of being there that really is something special to be a part of.”

Right College at the Right Time

Nassim grew up in Great Neck as a talented basketball and tennis player, but his goal was always to work in the field of medicine. When it was time to choose a college, Queens College proved to be the right fit for him.

“It’s the best bang for your buck,” he said. “You get a very high-quality education comparable to any of the bigger colleges in the area for a fraction of the cost.”

Queens College’s liberal arts background also appealed to Nassim; he decided to double major in pre-med and religious studies, while also earning a minor in QC’s business and liberal arts program.

“I tried to be as well-rounded as possible,” he noted. “I figured I was getting my science classes through pre-med, and I wanted to study some of the religious stuff that I might not get to study in the later parts of my career. Then there’s the business component, which I think is always important in anything you do.”

Nassim tried out for the Knights basketball team during his freshman season. But biology labs interfered with basketball practice and he knew his future was in medicine. He gave up basketball and focused on his studies.

During senior year, Nassim pursued a different sport. In a tennis class, he defeated QC’s top female player; impressed, the teacher—who happened to be the tennis coach—encouraged Nassim to try out for the men’s team. Joining the tennis squad later that spring, he proved to be a welcome addition. He posted a 13-4 win/loss record in singles play that season, leading the Knights to the Round of 32 at the 2008 NCAA Championships.

“It made my college experience there,” recalled Nassim. “It was so special to be a part of. It was five freshmen and myself. We exceeded so many expectations. It was a nice way to go out.”

That experience inspired him to get involved in sports medicine after graduation. He went on to study at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine and later did his internal medicine residency at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel and a sports medicine fellowship at Drexel University. He then joined his father’s practice, Nassim Medical, in Great Neck and Flushing as a doctor of internal medicine and sports medicine in 2016.

“Being around a patient population that’s eager to get better and get themselves back in their finest position to get back on the field or on the court, it gave me an opportunity to put all my passions together in sports medicine,” he said.

Nassim’s background in both sports medicine and internal medicine—a rare combination—made him an attractive commodity, giving him the opportunity to work with several collegiate and professional sports organizations. Typically, teams will hire a physician who specializes in orthopedics to help with injuries, but they often don’t have an internist on staff who can assist with procedures such as cardiac testing and concussion protocols. Nassim offers both skillsets.

Return to Home College 

He got his first break into sports from his alma mater; Queens College Athletics hired him to be their team internist in 2016. Shortly after, fellow CUNY school York College brought Nassim in as their team physician.

His roles at QC and York opened the door for a plethora of other opportunities in the sports world. Nassim has cared for athletes of the Long Island Nets (the Brooklyn Nets “G” League affiliate), the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, NCAA Lacrosse Championships, Collegiate Rugby Championship, and the 2019 Pan-Am Games. His work at the Pan-Am Games is what caught the attention of the U.S. Olympic Committee and led to his role at the Tokyo Olympics.

Despite all the amazing experiences he’s had working at major sporting events over the past several years, the most rewarding part of his career is the appreciation he receives from his patients.

“Medicine is not easy,” he said. “There are definitely difficult situations. At the end of the day, we’re doing good by people and very often when you get that appreciation from patients—when they reach out and really give thanks—you see they’re in a better place because you’re taking care of them. That’s the most rewarding part.”
Another Big Idea in a Series

Desire for revenge can prompt the public to back military action. So says Peter Liberman (Political Science), whose research illustrates the way anger about 9/11 led to widespread support in the United States for war not only in Afghanistan, but also in Iraq; the latter played no role in the terrorist attacks. Learn more about Liberman’s work in the latest video in “Big Ideas,” an online series produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing. To view previous videos highlighting significant research conducted by QC faculty, click here.
In Memoriam
Raymond Disch, a member of the chemistry faculty for 35 years, passed away on September 30, 2021, at the age of 89.

Disch completed his doctorate at Harvard University in 1959 and thereafter held an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford. Moving to New York, he taught at Columbia University for five years. In 1968, he joined the faculty at Queens College and the Graduate Center of CUNY, where his research concerned physical and theoretical chemistry. Colleagues recalled Disch as a stellar lecturer who served for many years as chair of the physical subdiscipline of CUNY’s PhD program in chemistry.

Disch is survived by his wife.
Howard Weitzman, an alumnus who served as comptroller of Nassau County from 2002 to 2009, died on September 27 at the age of 75.

A Brooklyn native who grew up in that borough’s Brownsville neighborhood and later, Laurelton, Queens, Weitzman majored in accounting at QC. He entered politics as trustee and mayor of Great Neck Estates, where he lived with his family for 35 years. First elected Nassau comptroller in 2001, he considered himself the county’s fiscal watchdog and led audits targeting financial waste. He lost the office in the 2009 but was subsequently appointed to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

Weitzman is survived by his wife, Suzanne; their three children and four grandchildren; his sister and brother-in-law; and many relatives.
Heard Around the Virtual Campus
Lucille Kyvallos
Eugenia Paulicelli
Maral Tajerian
Anna-Isabella Dinwoodie, graduate assistant and MFA candidate, will be among the participants in Poets of Queens at QED in Astoria on Wednesday, October 20 . . . . The Godwin-Ternbach show Migrations, which documents a dance concert presented by QC students in 2017 and includes photography by Long Island City artist Orestes Gonzales, got an enthusiastic writeup in It’s In Queens . . . . Ahona Islam, an upper junior majoring in English, is among the recipients of the 2021 Belle Zeller Scholarship, named after the founding president of PSC CUNY. Zeller taught political science at Brooklyn College . . . . The archive of celebrated poet Jose Kozer (Hispanic Languages and Literatures; emeritus) has been acquired by the University of Miami Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection. The son of Eastern European Jews who immigrated to Cuba, Kozer still writes a poem a day in his native Spanish. In 2013, he received the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Prize. This year, CUNY awarded him the Gertrudis Gomez de Avellanda Prize . . . . Lucille Kyvallos, QC’s head coach of women’s basketball from 1968 to 1981, was profiled by Dan’s Papers on October 2 . . . . Eugenia Paulicelli (European Languages and Literatures) and the Okozoko production company have created “The New Made in Italy,” a series of four short films on Italian fashion, film, art, and design. The videos, in Italian with English subtitles, received coverage
from the project’s media partner, La Voce di New York . . . . Maral Tajerian (Biology) made a virtual presentation, Brain Plasticity in the Context of Chronic Pain, through At Home with Queens College on October 7. At Home with QC is sponsored by the Office of Institutional Advancement.
The Q View is produced by the
Office of Communications and Marketing. 

Comments and suggestions for future news items are welcome.