• Commencement 2015
  • Dr. Gail O. Mellow has served as president of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens since 2000. A member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students.

    A nationally recognized expert on the history, development and future of the American community college, Dr. Mellow co-authored Minding the Dream: The Process and Practice of the American Community College (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), in addition to numerous articles and editorials about issues facing higher education in America. Dr. Mellow is in demand as a speaker both here and abroad, and has shared her expertise with educators and public officials in several countries, including Chile, Greece, France, El Salvador and China.

    Since Dr. Mellow joined LaGuardia in 2000, the College has won numerous awards, among them the prestigious 2006 MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award for Service to Underserved Students, and was named one of the Top Three Large Community Colleges by the Community College Survey of Student Engagement in 2003.

    Under Dr. Mellow’s leadership, over $16 million in external funding through grants and contracts is secured each year for workforce development, initiatives that support at-risk students and initiatives to help low income individuals transition to work and to education. Dr. Mellow is co-creator of Global Skills for College Completion (GSCC), a collaborative, $3.6 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded project in which LaGuardia, League for Innovation in the Community College, and Knowledge in the Public Interest, will develop a breakthrough curriculum and improve instruction in the teaching of math and writing basic skills as part of a larger Gates-funded effort to increase community college students’ graduation rate.

    In 2008, she signed an agreement with officials from Chile’s Universidad Central to create Community College de Santiago, the first community college in Chile, under the auspices of Universidad Central, and with support from LaGuardia, that will enhance social mobility in Chile. In March 2010, the new college opened its doors to enroll 180 students. In April 2010, Dr. Mellow joined three other college presidents in a debate that was webcast live about the financing model of higher education presented by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, in partnership with PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. The debate aired nationwide in June on the PBS NewsHour. In May 2010, she appeared on an edition of PBS’s FRONTLINE entitled “College, Inc.” that examined how for-profit universities are affecting the way people think about higher education.

    Dr. Mellow serves on the Carnegie Foundation’s board for the Advancement of Teaching, among many others. Appointed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, she serves on the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council. She is also a commissioner on the Business Roundtable’s Springboard Project with business leaders, labor experts, academics, foundation heads and former policymakers who offer recommendations to strengthen the American workforce by highlighting the important role community colleges will play in our economic recovery.

    Dr. Mellow received an A. A. from Jamestown Community College, a B.A. from SUNY Albany, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from The George Washington University in Social Psychology.
    To learn more about Dr. Mellow, visit: www.laguardia.edu/gailmellow


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