Queens College Skyline, view of Manhattan
Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.
QView #118 | January 25, 2022
What’s News
The college, together with the Queens Jewish Community Council and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, welcomed Ambassador Asaf Zamir, Consul General of Israel in New York, to campus on Friday, January 21. Zamir represents the State of Israel to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Delaware. The visit continues a long-standing college tradition involving the hosting of consul generals from the region.
From left: Christine Mangino, president of Queensborough Community College;
Rabbi Mayer Waxman, director of the Queens Jewish Community Council; Frank H. Wu, president of Queens College; Asaf Zamir, Israeli Consul General in New York; Michael Nussbaum, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council; Donovan Richards, president of the Borough of Queens
Ambassador Zamir and QJCC President Nussbaum
Ambassador Zamir's visit to campus attracted a diverse audience.
President Wu shares the QC brand with Ambassador Zamir.
CERRU Director Sophia Salguero McGee shared her remarks.
Queens Honored King
Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar
Queens College celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday, January 16, with a free, virtual presentation. We Are Not Satisfied: There is a Long, Long Way to Go in the Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—listed by Time Out New York as one of the best MLK events in New York City —featured a welcome and remarks by President Frank H. Wu and messages by U.S. Senate Majority Leader and New York 's Senior Senator Charles Schumer, Mayor Eric Adams, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson ’19, Student Association President Zaire Couloute, and Black Student Union Treasurer and Student Senator Jamal Mark. Guest artists Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar, a choir from Atlanta, Georgia, rocked the house remotely and, in a video produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, five QC alumni shared their memories of hearing King address campus on May 13, 1965. (See below for story about the making of that video.) If you missed the event, you can watch it here.
President Wu
Charles Schumer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader and New York's Senior Senator
Adrienne Adams, New York City Council Speaker
Khaleel Anderson, New York State Assembly Member
Video Commemorates MLK’s 1965 Visit to QC
On May 13, 1965, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. made Queens College history when he visited the campus to speak in front of a packed house in Colden Auditorium.

King spoke eloquently as he referenced the legacy of slain QC student Andrew Goodman along with Michael Schwerner and James Chaney who were murdered by Ku Klux Clan members during the previous summer while helping Black voters in Mississippi register to vote. He also spoke of the progress that had been made in the civil rights movement and of the progress still needed.

“We’ve come a long, long way in the quest to make freedom and human dignity a reality for all people of our nation,” King said to the over 2,000 students in attendance. “But we still have a long, long way to go,”

Nearly 57 years later, that momentous event still has a profound meaning to so many in the Queens College community.

In commemoration of this significant moment in Queens College history, the Office of Communications and Marketing produced a ten-minute video featuring highlights of King’s speech, interviews with QC alumni who were in attendance that day, and commentary on the turbulence of the times. 

The video debuted at QC’s Martin Luther King, Jr. virtual celebration on January 16 titled: We Are Not Satisfied: There Is a Long, Long Way to Go in the Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The video tribute was the subject of a New York Daily News op-ed, covered by the Queens Chronicle and featured in a segment titled Positively Black on WNBC TV, NY1, and community media. 

Summer Start

The project started last summer when Jay Hershenson (Office of Communications and Marketing) began searching for QC alumni who attended King’s 1965 speech. By speaking with numerous alumni, former faculty and staff members, the Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations, and Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library’s Special Collections and Archives, Hershenson located five people, who each agreed to be interviewed by him. They were Ron Pollack ’65 (former Student Association president who helped organize King’s visit), Noel Hankin ’68, Elliot Linzer MA ’80 (who attended but transferred elsewhere, returning later for his master’s degree), Wayne Price ’66, and Michael Wenger ’63.

Hershenson conducted more than five hours of interviews with alumni, with the help of videographers Beethoven Bong and Ian Favilla and writer John Scarinci. In addition to interview highlights, which were featured along with audio excerpts of King’s speech in the commemorative video, the full, unedited interviews will be donated to the Civil Rights Archive at Rosenthal Library for research purposes. Click here to watch the tribute video.    
Campus Guidelines for This Semester

To keep the campus community safe during the pandemic, Queens College continues to monitor and implement state, city, and university guidelines. Three virtual briefing sessions were held in January. College officials will share updates during additional virtual briefing sessions on the next three Thursdays.
Thursday, January 27, 6:30 pm. Register at https://bit.ly/3JTf0uK
Thursday, February 3, 6:30 pm. Register at https://bit.ly/31GA9ab
Thursday, February 10, 6:30 pm. Register at https://bit.ly/3fa08Kg
In addition, everyone is urged to check QC’s coronavirus page for the latest information.
Doing its part for the borough’s battle against coronavirus, QC has been hosting a NYC Health + Hospitals COVID testing site in the Student Union. The site—open to the general public through this Friday, January 28, from 10 am to 5 pm—provides saliva-based PCR tests at no cost; ID and insurance are not required. Turnaround for results is expected to be 24 hours, or 36 hours in the event of a high volume of tests. 

QC faculty, staff, and students who have been exposed to COVID and need to submit negative PCR results to return to campus may test at this site. Alternatively, they may visit any other non-CUNY testing site.

QC faculty, staff, and students who are selected for random testing or require weekly testing to access campus must utilize one of CUNY’s 19 testing sites. The CUNY site at QC, located in the Faculty and Staff Club in the Student Union is open on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 9 am-3 pm; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1-7 pm. For Thursday service, visit other CUNY locations.
Knights in Winter

While the campus was mostly quiet during winter break, the Queens Knights athletics teams were busy with a full slate of games and meets. Here’s a review of the QC’s winter sports season so far:
Men’s Basketball

As they head into the final month of the season, the men’s basketball team is making a strong push for the East Coast Conference (ECC) playoffs. During winter break, the Knights went 3-1, earning wins over Molloy College, Mercy College, and D’Youville College. Their record stands at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the ECC.

The Knights have featured a balanced scoring attack thus far, with five players averaging nine points per game or higher this season. William Ellis leads the way, averaging 11 points per game.

The month of February will make or break the Knights’ playoff chances as they will play nine ECC games, with five of those contests on their home court.
Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team got off to a tough start to the season, coming up short in a number of close games. But they earned their first win of the season on January 14, defeating D’Youville, 76-72. In the final seconds of that game, Nora Gabel drained a three-pointer to break the tie and propel the Knights to victory.

The Knights record stands at 1-13 overall and 1-7 in the ECC. Khadija Demry and Chelsea Reeves have led the team in scoring to this point, averaging 12.4 points per game and 11.9 points per game respectively.
The women will play the same nine ECC games as the men in February and hope to finish the season strong. 

Fans can support the men’s and women’s basketball teams in person (please review spectator policy before attending) or they can stream each game live on the QC athletics website.   
Indoor Track and Field

Indoor track and field had a pair of meets over the break, competing in the West Point Open in West Point, NY, on January 8 and the Spartan Invite in Staten Island on January 14.

For his performance on January 8, sophomore Robert Skidmore was named ECC Field Athlete of the Week. Skidmore finished in 11th place in the shot put at the West Point Open, where he competed mostly against Division I athletes. On the women’s side, Fatima Morrobel has shined, having been named to the ECC Honor Roll twice this season thanks to strong performances in the 500-meters and 800-meters.

Track and field will have two more regular season meets (January 28 at Great Dane Classic and February 19 at West Point Tune-Up) before they compete in the ECC Championships on February 26.

The women’s swimming team did not compete during the winter break; they will return to action on February 17 for the Metropolitan Swimming Championship. The Knights are 2-8 in dual meets this season, having defeated Mount Saint Mary College and Queensborough Community College. Laura Cruz Rosario has had several top-three finishes to lead the Knights.

For the latest news on Queens College athletics, be sure to visit queensknights.com
Rites Granted

Edisa Weeks, acting chair of Drama, Theatre & Dance, has received a grant from Creative Capital for her project 3 RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness. The three-part dance and multimedia performance, to be presented in fall 2023 at 651 ARTS’s new venue in downtown Brooklyn, will explore why life, liberty, and happiness were included in the U.S. Declaration of Independence as inalienable rights.

For 2022, Creative Capital, a nonprofit organization, awarded grants to only 50 projects, chosen from more than 4,000 applications. Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Latinx artists of all abilities and genders comprise more than 90 percent of this year’s cohort. The artists are aged from their 20s to their 60s and affiliated with all regions of the United States and its territories.

“In 3 RITES I am seeking to reckon with America’s past, present and potential future,” says Weeks. “I am interested in engaging people in the ideals of life, liberty and happiness; and in creating a dialogue about what needs to be done to insure that not just a select group of people, but that all people are guaranteed and have access to life, liberty and happiness.” 
Weeks is already having a banner year. She has also been named a Harlem Stage Commissioned Emerging Artist and received a 2022 New York State Council for the Arts grant. 

“Through my work as a choreographer, educator, and art-maker, I seek to draw attention to inequities, injustices and issues in American society,” observes Weeks. “I believe that art re-vitalizes the everyday to reveal something new about ourselves, and the revelation is an energy, a spark that has the power to change the world.” 

An 8-minute documentary video about 3 RITES: Liberty can be accessed here.
College Wins Recognition from Wall Street
The Wall Street Journal ranked Queens College seventh in the northeast for diversity. The ranking was based on 15 factors across four main categories: Forty percent of each school’s overall score came from student outcomes, including measures of graduate salaries and debt burdens, 30 percent from the school’s academic resources, including how much it spends on teaching, 20 percent from how well it engages its students and 10 percent from its environment, a measure of student and faculty diversity.
QC at a Digital Glance

The latest edition of QC at a Glance—a lavishly illustrated, fact-filled brochure about the people, programs, and impact of Queens College—is now online. The cover features English major Ahona Islam, recipient of a prestigious Belle Zeller Scholarship.
Warming Up to Winter Session

Look like hitting the books was a popular New Year’s resolution for many students: Queens College’s winter session, which just concluded, recorded more than 2,600 registrants, a greater than 60 percent gain in enrollment over the same period in the previous year. 

“Today’s students are looking for flexible scheduling options,” Queens College President Frank Wu said. “Queens College’s winter session enabled students to advance toward their degrees while still enjoying a holiday break. Most of these classes were presented remotely, for greater convenience. We want education to be accessible, and we can see how meeting student needs is good for everyone.”

Students were able to earn a total of four credits during winter session, held January 3-24. Over 85 undergraduate and graduate courses were offered in anthropology, the arts, computer science, foreign languages, music, nutrition, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and much more. Some courses satisfied the Pathways general education requirements.
In Memoriam
Joel Blickstein

Science educator Joel Blickstein, a research associate in Queens College’s chemistry and geology departments and an adjunct at Queensborough Community College, passed away in September 2021. He was 76.

A native New Yorker, Blickstein held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from QC and a doctorate from the CUNY Graduate Center. He enjoyed a long career with the New York City Department of Education, teaching high school science; in retirement, he served as a substitute teacher and tutor. With his wife and colleague Bonnie Blackwell, who predeceased him, he established the RFK Research Institute, immersing high school students in hands-on research in multiple disciplines. His mentorees—including those from minority, low-income, and immigrant backgrounds—won admission to competitive programs in STEM and other fields.

Blickstein is survived by two children, three grandchildren, and many students.
Althea Gwyn

Women’s basketball star Althea Gwyn, a member of the Queens College Athletics Hall of Fame and a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame “Trailblazer of the Game,” passed away on January 9.

A standout at Amity High School on Long Island, Gwyn joined QC’s varsity as a first-year student, playing in the first women’s college basketball game at Madison Square Garden in 1975. Her performance in the 1977-78 season earned her All-American honors. Eschewing Olympic tryouts in 1980, she joined the New York Stars, part of the Women’s Professional Basketball League, precursor to the WNBA. She subsequently she played for the league’s New England Gulls, leading a labor protest when the team’s owners stopped paying the athletes. After leaving professional sports, she served as a firefighter in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Gwyn is survived by her wife, Yolanda.
Joseph Ponte

The Queens College community was saddened to learn of the passing of Joseph Ponte, a music librarian on campus from 1963 to 2003. 

“Dr. Ponte was an accomplished musician, pianist, harpsichordist, and music historian,” wrote Donald Pirone (ACSM). “He served our faculty and inspired our students with his keen intellect and encyclopedic knowledge.” Pirone recalled that when the papers of composer Karol Rathaus were donated to QC, Ponte organized and cataloged the scores, manuscripts, letters, and biographical materials. This archive has helped to pave the way for several in-depth studies of Rathaus’s life and music. 

Ponte earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard, where he performed Bach’s Six Partitas at his final piano recital. For his graduate thesis at Brandeis, he transcribed a ninth century musical treatise from the original Latin.
Heard Around the Virtual Campus
Héfer Bembenutty (SEYS) published a new book, Contemporary Pioneers in Teaching and Learning (Information Age Publishing). The title is part of a series Bembenutty edits, Contemporary Pioneers in Educational Psychology: Theory, Research, and Applications . . . . Dan Bongino, an alumnus who hosts eponymous radio shows, was profiled by the New Yorker . . . . Desiree Byrd (Psychology) and Monica Rivera-Mindt (Fordham) published a comment, “Neuropsychology’s race problem does not begin or end with demographically adjusted norms,” in Nature Reviews Neurology . . . . Nikos Christodoulides, an alumnus, resigned his position as foreign minister of Cyprus and is contemplating a run for the nation’s presidency, according to an article in Greek Reporter . . . .
Ricardo “Rick” Cortez
Kimiko Hahn
Eugenia Paulicelli
Ricardo “Rick” Cortez ’72, CEO of Broadmark Asset Management, is featured in the 2021 Special Gold Edition of Top 100 U.S. Business Leaders. Cortez gave the keynote and received the Presidential Medal, QC’s highest administrative honor, at the college’s Academic Achievement Awards ceremony in October 2020 . . . .
Andrea Shapiro Davis ’81 joined the administration of Mayor Eric Adams as senior advisor to the mayor for talent and appointments. She was previously CUNY’s interim vice chancellor for university advancement . . . . Full Circle Productions, co-founded by Gabriel "Kwikstep" Dionisio (Dance), received a Ford Foundation grant, as reported by Broadway World. The grant will enable Full Circle Productions—the nonprofit parent of dance company/crew Full Circle Souljahs, —to create the United Hip Hop Vanguard, a network for supporting and promoting the national Breakin (Breakdance) community . . . . Jamal Glenn (BALA) published an opinion column, “One Lesson from the Theranos Scandal: We Need Age Diversity on Corporate Boards,” in Time magazine . . . . Kimiko Hahn (English) published a poem, “On Pleasing,” in the New Yorker . . . . Bill Keller (Finance and Administration, retired) and Keena Lipsitz (Political Science) discussed QC’s We Learn So That We May Serve courses at a virtual eventExploring Community Engaged Learning in University-Assisted Community Schools—on Friday, December 17. The event was hosted by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and the NYSED Central/Western Region Community Schools TAC and sponsored by Binghamton University . . . . Hillary Miller (English) had a new play, Preparedness, produced by the HERE Arts Center in Manhattan. The show, which ran until December 11, was reviewed by the New York Times . . . . Mohammad Ali Miri (Physics) received a three-year, $413,671 award from the Young Investigator Research Program of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for his project, “Investigating the Complexities of Linear and Nonlinear Optics for Multimode Device Applications and Optical Computing.” The start date is March or April 2022 . . . . Eugenia Paulicelli (European Languages and Literatures) received a 17,500-euro grant from the Italian Consulate to develop a new course in collaboration with the University of Venice Ca' Foscari on "Venice: Fashion, Arts and Sustainability”. . . . President Frank H. Wu published an op-ed in the Daily News, “Inclusion, beyond Black, Brown and white” and appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC) to discuss “How Asian-American Exclusion Leads to a Civil Rights Backlash.” Caixin Weekly quoted President Wu in the article, “Chinese American scholars are deeply influenced by the ‘Iron Curtain’ of ‘witch hunting’ academia” . . . . Jay Hershenson (Office of Communications and Marketing) published an op-ed, “When Martin Luther King Came to Queens College,” in the Daily News . . . . The New York Times cited research by Kristen Cheung, Ana Gao, Sherin Kannoly, Nanami Kubota, Kaung Myat San, and John Dennehy (Biology), and colleagues at The CUNY Graduate Center, Queensborough Community College, and The New School in an article about detecting omicron’s surge in wastewater . . . . the Louis Armstrong House Museum is among recipients in the latest cycle of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, reported the New York Times. LAHM was awarded $30,000 to support a digital mapping project exploring the history of jazz and hip-hop in the borough.
MLK banner headshot of MLK in suit in reflective pose
The college’s annual Queens College Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration, We Are Not Satisfied: There is a Long, Long Way to Go in the Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., received coverage on NBC New York’s “Positively Black” and NY1 Noticias and in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Queens Chronicle, and Queens Gazette, and Time Out New York.
The Q View is produced by the
Office of Communications and Marketing. 

Comments and suggestions for future news items are welcome.