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    LaGuardia in the Times

    Highlights of LaGuardia Community College coverage in The New York Times.

  •  Gov. Cuomo Signs Historic Excelsior Scholarship at LaGuardia, with Special Guest Hillary Clinton

    Gov. Cuomo Signs Historic Excelsior Scholarship at LaGuardia,
    with Special Guest Hillary Clinton

    Gov. Cuomo- Free Tuition

    The April 12th ceremonial signing of the New York State Excelsior Scholarship to make earning an associate's or bachelor's degree at a public college or university tuition-free for families making less than $125,000 was attended by (clockwise from top left): William C. Thompson Jr., chairman of the CUNY Board of Trustees; New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Hochul; LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow; Jham Valenzuela, LaGuardia Community College nursing student; New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo; and, Secretary Hillary R. Clinton. Photo credit: LaGuardia Community College. 

    Please click here to view/download additional photos taken by LaGuardia Community College.

    Or to view/download photos taken by the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, please click here.

    On April 12, 2017, Governor Cuomo, joined by Hillary Clinton, held an event at LaGuardia Community College to celebrate the inclusion of the Excelsior Scholarship program, to make attending a two- or four-year public college in New York State free for families making $125,000 or less, in the 2017-18 State Budget.

    Statement on Free Tuition for Public Colleges from Dr. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College/CUNY

    Three months ago Governor Cuomo proposed, at LaGuardia Community College, a bold and visionary idea: free tuition for students attending one of New York’s public colleges. We’ve now arrived at a historic moment with the legislature’s approval of the Governor’s plan.

    The Excelsior Scholarship recognizes that in today’s world it’s not enough to have a high school degree. People need a college degree to secure a well-paying job.

    For our students, many of whom are low-income and first generation college students, the Excelsior Scholarship offers much hope and motivation. Our students will be able to work less and study more.


    Images courtesy of Governor Cuomo's office

    New York should be proud to be the first in the nation to secure free tuition. But, we will certainly not be the last. States across the nation are sure to follow Governor Cuomo’s approach as they see it act as a catalyst for not only getting students to attend and complete college, but also as an important lever to stimulate the state’s economy.

    Dr. Gail O. Mellow
    President, LaGuardia Community College/CUNY

    Related Links:

    New York Daily News: Hillary Clinton joins Gov. Cuomo at ceremonial bill signing of N.Y.’s new free tuition program

    Washington Free Beacon: Cuomo Touts Clinton as Inspiration Behind New York Free-Tuition

    Democrat and ChronicleHillary Clinton joins Cuomo to promote free SUNY tuition

    Washington ExaminerHillary Clinton urges students and businesses to move to New York

    Albany Times Union: In joint appearance, Cuomo, Clinton hail free college tuition

    NY1: Hillary Clinton Lauds Passing of Free Tuition College Plan in New York

    Queens Patch: College Free Tuition: Hillary Clinton Joins Gov. Cuomo For Signing Ceremony

    QNS.com: Governor Cuomo and Hillary Clinton visit Long Island City to enact tuition-free state college law

    Associated Press/ ABC News: Clinton lauds free NY tuition plan as a progressive first

    Yahoo! News: Clinton Joins Cuomo for Tuition-Free College Bill Signing Ceremony

    The Hill: Clinton: 'We don’t need to be building walls'

    Newsday: Clinton joins Cuomo to announce NY's free college tuition

    dnainfo.com: Hillary Clinton Joins Gov. Cuomo to Sign Free College Tuition Bill Into Law

    New York Post: Hillary Clinton touts free tuition program alongside Cuomo

    Poughkeepsie Journal: Hillary Clinton joins Cuomo to promote free SUNY tuition

    New York Times: New York’s Free-Tuition Program Will Help Traditional, but Not Typical, Students


     Excelsior! New York State Has Adopted Free-Tuition at CUNY & SUNY for Families Making $125,000 or Less
    New York State Has Adopted Free-Tuition at CUNY & SUNY for Families Making $125,000 or Less

    Long Island City, NY (April 2017)— Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by US Senator Bernie Sanders, came to LaGuardia Community College to announce his Excelsior Scholarship proposal to make attending a two- or four-year CUNY or SUNY college tuition–free for families earning less than $125,000.

    Over the weekend, the New York State legislature made history when they approved funding for Excelsior in the 2017-18 state budget.

    In a recent article about Excelsior in Inside Higher Ed, LaGuardia President Gail O. Mellow hailed it as an “extraordinary” program that has the potential to “change the college-going culture by taking tuition off the table."

    She predicted that the new policy “would lead to dramatic shifts in college attendance in the state,” and could “… attract many more students to community college.”

    To read more about the Excelsior Scholarship, which Dr. Mellow has called a national resetting of the minimal education standards for our youth—including a review of its features and requirements, click here to read the Inside Higher Ed article that features President Mellow.

    Related Links:

     The New York Times' Features LaGuardia Student & Struggles with Homelessness Among College Students
    The New York Times' Features LaGuardia Student & Struggles with Homelessness Among College Students

    Long Island City, NY (April 2017)—LaGuardia Community College is mentioned in two articles in the New York Times’ April 9, 2017 Education Life section. The first features a LaGuardia student, Preston Roberson-Charles, who lived in New York City’s shelter system for two years while going to school. The second reports on the pervasive issues of poverty, homelessness, and housing insecurity among U.S. college students.

    These and other New York Times articles that have featured LaGuardia Community College can be found on the LaGuardia in The Times webpage.

    A Journey From ‘Real World’ to Homeless Shelter — and College

    Preston Roberson-Charles is studying economics at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens. Well spoken and charming, he wears gray Warby Parker glasses and keeps his jeans fashionably rolled at the ankle. Not exactly the stereotype of a homeless person. But for two years, until last December, he lived in New York City’s shelter system, hostels and on friends’ couches.

    Read full article: A Journey From ‘Real World’ to Homeless Shelter — and College

    Behind the Problem of Student Homelessness

    It’s difficult to know exactly how many students are homeless, or are dangling dangerously close to it, in part because of the enormous stigma surrounding the issue. But new research shows how pervasive a problem it is — and one that some educators believe is growing… when a student ends up homeless, it can be exceedingly difficult to stay in school and thus break the cycle of poverty… The average family income of students at LaGuardia Community College, part of the City University of New York, is $26,000, according to Gail O. Mellow, its president, who says that helping students navigate the issues surrounding such poverty is central to keeping them in school. At LaGuardia, students have access to a food pantry and help applying for public benefits like food stamps, among other services. “We’re not a social service agency; we want to educate students,” Dr. [Gail O.] Mellow, [president of LaGuardia Community College] said. “But in order to do that, they can’t be hungry and they can’t be homeless.”

    Read full article: Behind the Problem of Student Homelessness

     From Prison to CEO, Crain’s NY Biz features Roy Castro, graduate of LaGuardia’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses pgm
    After a Troubled Childhood, a High School Dropout Gets Sweet Redemption

    Crain’s New York Business
    features D.M. Ice Cream Corp. CEO Roy Castro, graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program at LaGuardia Community College

    After a Troubled Childhood, a High School Dropout Gets Sweet Redemption

    SET IN MOTION: Castro graduated from cleaning out freezers to owning a fleet of ice cream delivery trucks. Photo: Buck Ennis

    Long Island City, NY (April 5, 2017)—Crain’s New York Business, a leading online/print publication covering New York’s top industries, recently featured Roy Castro, CEO of the D.M. Ice Cream Corp. and a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at LaGuardia Community College.

    Mr. Castro shares his life journey with Crain’s, from dropping out of high school, to federal prison, to entrepreneurship—including why he decided to seek business training from the 10,000 Small Business program at LaGuardia. He credits the Goldman Sachs-LaGuardia program with teaching him how to improve his organizational, management and leadership skills, in order to grow and secure the future of his company. In 2016, D.M.’s revenue was an impressive $7.5 million.

    In 2010, LaGuardia was selected by Goldman Sachs as the first community college in the country for its 10,000 Small Businesses initiative to help small businesses grow and create jobs through greater access to business education, financial capital and support services. Given the success of the program at LaGuardia, Goldman Sachs expanded 10,000 Small Businesses throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, and to date has served more than 6,500 small businesses at more than 30 sites worldwide. Outcomes of the program have been outstanding. Within six months of graduating 69 percent of participants have reported increased revenues, and 48 percent have reported creating new jobs. Apply to 10,000 Small Businesses.

    To read the article, click here to access a PDF. Or subscribers to Crain's may click here to access the article on its website.

    Related article: Plans Unveiled for New Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Education Center at LaGuardia Community College (June 7, 2016)

     Chronicle of Higher Education Online: Announcements

    Compiled by Anais Stickland APRIL 02, 2017

    Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of City University of New York LaGuardia Community College, received the 2017 TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education from the American Council on Education, which administers the award on behalf of the TIAA Institute.

     President Mellow Honored for Advancing the Public Image of U.S. Community Colleges, for Essay in Baltimore Sun
    President Mellow Honored for Advancing the Public Image of U.S. Community Colleges, for Essay in Baltimore Sun

    Long Island City, NY (April 3, 2017)—LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow has been selected as a winner of the 2017 Public Image of the Two-Year College Award (the “Fame” award), from the Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Dr. Mellow shares this award with DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. They were selected for an essay they co-authored and published in the February 20, 2017 issue of the Baltimore Sun, “ Community Colleges Can Heal a Divided America.” In the award notification, TYCA noted that their article “exemplifies the type of work honored by the Public Image of Two-Year Colleges Committee,” and recognized their continued advocacy of the two-year college.

    Dr. Mellow and Dr. Pollard’s essay was a response to the polarization throughout our communities following the 2016 presidential election. They write that because of the inclusiveness, affordability, and high-quality academics available at community colleges, that they are potential places of “dialogue and healing.”

    As they write, “Almost without notice community colleges have become the one place where diverse groups meet in search of a common end: opportunity. There are 1,100 community colleges in the U.S., serving almost half the undergraduates in the nation. Sixty-two percent of community college students work while going to college, despite financial aid from federal and state governments. These are students who are living the realities of low-wage service jobs in urban sectors, shuttered production plants in the Midwest and collapsing family farms in the south. In the classrooms of our colleges, discussions of inequality, racism and immigration don't need the "trigger warnings" so hotly debated in some universities; our students live them every day.

    Now is the time to ask community colleges to advance the American ideal of e pluribus unum —from many, one. We must lead the movement to understand the "other" in all of our communities, to renounce efforts to vilify one another for narrow political advantage. As college presidents, we call on our national leaders to work to preserve the opportunity for Americans to learn and train without exorbitant debt, to build careers and work productively with dignity.”

    The TYCA Fame Award was established to publicly acknowledge the best positive mention of the two-year college appearing in any media during the previous year. The award gives credit to reporters, writers, filmmakers and others who seek out and publicize exemplary students, faculty, programs, campuses, and/or recognize the two-year college system.

    An announcement of the award to Dr. Mellow and Dr. Pollard was made during the TYCA Breakfast at the 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Convention in Portland, Oregon, and it is also posted on the National TYCA website. For more about TCYA’s Fame Award, click here.

    To read the Baltimore Sun essay coauthored by Dr. Mellow and Dr. Pollard, click here.

     Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

     Muslim Women Education Panel Reviewed FREE Resources & Information to Help Navigate Life in NYC
    Muslim Women Education Panel Reviewed FREE Resources & Information to Help Navigate Life in NYC

    Muslim Women Education Panel Reviewed FREE Resources & Information to Help Navigate Life in NYC

    Shahir Erfan, LaGuardia Vice President of Administration introduces the panelists to the audience 

    Long Island City, NY (April 3, 2017)—
    LaGuardia Community College located in Queens, one of the world’s most ethnically diverse areas, recently held a Muslim Women Education Panel in order to equip community members with valuable information about LaGuardia and its programs.

    Panelists, who included Nadira El Khang, Mersida Ibric, Seema Ahmed, and Asma Shuaib shared their success stories and discussed how to apply for classes at LaGuardia, such as LaGuardia’s English language programs, certificate programs, as well as how to seek employment opportunities with the City University of New York, and more. They spoke to an audience of several dozen Muslim women, as well as family members of the panelists, LaGuardia faculty and staff, and others.

     The Business Case for Tuition Free College by LaGuardia alum and foundation board chair Mark C Healy
    The Business Case for Tuition-Free College; by LaGuardia alum and foundation board chair, Mark C. Healy

    Long Island City, NY (March 30, 2017)—LaGuardia Community College Foundation board chairman Mark C. Healy recently published an essay in Crain's New York Business, which makes the business case for Governor Cuomo's tuition-free college proposal, known as the Excelsior Scholarship.

    Mr. Healy is owner and president of the financial services practice BGBY Investments. In previous roles, he was EVP of Fidelity Investments and CEO of the American Stock Transfer Group. He is a proud graduate of LaGuardia Community College.

    To read his essay, click here or subscribers to Crain's may access the article on its website


     Dr. Gail O Mellow LaGuardia President on Governor Cuomos Tuition Free College Proposal
    Dr. Gail O. Mellow, LaGuardia President, on Governor Cuomo’s Tuition-Free College Proposal

    Long Island City, NY (March 30, 2017)—In an essay in City & State New York, LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow relates Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior proposal to the push for free, universal high school education more than 75 years ago. If enacted by the New York State legislature, Excelsior would make college tuition-free for students throughout New York State who are seeking an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, and whose families make less than $125,000 annually. Dr. Mellow argues that Excelsior, as well as the various new programs around the country for free college tuition, reflects a national resetting of the minimal education standards for what young people need in order to be competitive in today’s economy.

    Please click here to read her essay.

     Documentary about Gentrification (Housing) Segregation, Featuring LaGuardia Theater Students, to be showcased at 2017 Queens World Film Festival on Friday, March 17, 2017
    Documentary about Gentrification/Housing Segregation, Featuring LaGuardia Theater Students, to be showcased at 2017 Queens World Film Festival on Friday, March 17, 2017

    Documentary about Gentrification/Housing Segregation

    Long Island City, NY (March 16, 2017)—“Raisin/Rosedale,”
    a unique documentary film produced by LaGuardia Community College exploring the history of racial issues throughout the U.S., has been selected for the 2017 Queens World Film Festival, where it will be shown this Friday, March 17th at 6:30 p.m.


    The film elegantly weaves together a historical account of housing segregation in Rosedale, Queens, with a fictional portrayal of a black family trying to integrate into a predominantly white Chicago suburb in scenes from A Raisin in the Sun, and interviews with LaGuardia theater students about their first-hand experiences with gentrification.


    LaGuardia Community College serves an incredibly diverse and overwhelmingly low-income, disadvantaged student population (more than 70% have family incomes of less than $25,000/yr.).


    The 21-minute film brings together some of LaGuardia’s distinctive offerings— the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, a repository of collections that illuminate the social and political history of New York City, with LaGuardia’s award-winning theater program (whose students regularly best those from prestigious four-year colleges in national theater festivals), and the incredible diversity of the college's student population--making it one of the most diverse institutions of higher learning in the US.


    The film is designed to spark dialogue about the history and current state of race relations throughout the U.S., and the effect of gentrification on our cities and neighbors—topics that are particularly timely considering today’s political climate.


    WHAT:  Screening of “Raisin/Rosedale” film, produced by LaGuardia Community College, at the 2017 Queens World Film Festival


    Interviewsavailable, either before or after the festival, with:

    • Richard K. Lieberman, PhD, Professor of History and Director of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
    • Stefanie Sertich, Theatre Program Director, LaGuardia Community College
    • Sandy Chase, director of Raisin/Rosedale
    • LaGuardia Theater Students featured in the Raisin/Rosedale documentary:  Cheyenne Winley, Helena Koudou, John Cosentino, and Jehan Have


    WHEN:  6:30 p.m., Friday, March 17th


    WHERE:  Kaufman Astoria Studios, Zukor Room, 34-12 36th St., Astoria, NY 11106


    TICKETS:  $15/each. Click here to purchase.

    FREE ADMISSION available for media with valid press credentials. For press registration, click here.


    More info:  https://www.queensworldfilmfestival.com/films/detail.asp?fid=850

    • • • •


    About the LaGuardia Theater Program
    Under the direction of Stefanie Sertich since 2011, LaGuardia theater students have received numerous regional and national recognition through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, which is regarded as the premiere theater program for the more than 600 two- and four-year colleges and universities nationwide with theater programs. LaGuardia students compete in Region I, one of eight regional competitions of the Festival. Regional winners then go to the national festival, held each spring at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.


    Recent LaGuardia awards and honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival include:


    • In 2017, LaGuardia’s production of Passing Strange received five awards at nationals:

    o Distinguished Production of a Musical
    o Distinguished Director of a Musical
    o Distinguished Ensemble of a Musical
    o Distinguished Performance by an Actress in a Musical—Aliayh Murchison
    o Distinguished Performance by an Actor in a Musical—Jehan Havé

    • In both 2017 and 2016, LaGuardia students were selected as Region I winners of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s award in Arts Administration. In 2017, it went to Jose Reyes; in 2016, it went to Viguens Louis.

    • Also in 2016, a LaGuardia theatre graduate studying at Lehman College, Fe Torres, won two prestigious scholarships at nationals: the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre Scholarship, and an Artist-As-Citizen Conference Scholarship.

    • In 2015, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, directed by Stefanie Sertich, was one of four productions showcased at Region I. LaGuardia student Ahsan Ali was honored at nationals as a distinguished actor in a supporting role, for his performance in this production.

    • Also in 2015, LaGuardia student Julio Trinidad took home three awards at nationals that came with sizable scholarships: 2nd place overall, the Mark Twain Comedy Award, and the Margolis Method Acting Training Scholarship.


    “While our students have taken home many regional and national theater awards, the true measure of a theater program is its ability to build empathetic citizens in an ever changing world. This reflects our college’s mission as well,” says Sertich.


    Some LaGuardia theater graduates are now working actors and others are continuing to hone their craft in well-regarded theater programs at four-year schools. One such graduate who is now a working actor is Ashley August, the 2013 NYC Youth Poet Laureate. For more: http://www.ashleyaugust.com/base/.


    About the LaGuardia and Wagner Archivesat LaGuardia Community College
    The LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, established in 1982, serves as a repository for NYC’s social and political history, which includes the largest collection of New York City mayoral papers. Archive records include the personal papers and official documents of Mayors Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Robert F. Wagner, Abraham D. Beame and Edward I. Koch, the records of the New York City Housing Authority, the piano maker Steinway & Sons, The Council of the City of New York and a Queens Local History Collection. Assets from these collections are regularly referenced in news stories, and studied by journalists, policy makers, and other researchers examining the history of Greater New York. The Archives regularly produces public programs exploring its collections, including an annual calendar produced in partnership with The New York Times and the City University of New York.

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