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Highlights of LaGuardia Community College coverage in The New York Times.
60 Percent Increase of Previous Space; Includes Modern Upgrades for LaGuardia’s 50,000 Students, 3,000 Faculty & Staff, and LIC Community
Long Island City, NY (May 12, 2017)—LaGuardia Community College yesterday celebrated the completion of a major expansion of the college’s library to nearly 60,000 sq. ft.—a 60 percent increase of the previous space. Highlights include open areas where students can study and collaborate, new state-of-the-art computing capabilities, and large windows to draw in natural light and welcome the Queens community to the college—in a modern, comfortable space designed with input from LaGuardia students, faculty, and staff.
With an annual attendance of more than 650,000 people, the library is the most heavily utilized space on campus. It serves the college’s 20,000 degree-seeking and 30,000 non-credit students, and 3,000 faculty and staff. As well, visitors from Queens and beyond regularly access the library.
CUNY Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction and Management Judith Bergtraum, CUNY Director of Design, Construction & Management Robert Lemieux, LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, attended a ribbon-cutting to mark the opening of the newly expanded library. Staff representing Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan attended on her behalf. Click here for photos of the event, which also included LaGuardia faculty, staff, alumni, and students.
Chancellor James B. Milliken said the upgraded LaGuardia library was a critical investment reflecting the University’s goals of increasing access, improving preparation, retention and graduation rates, and expanding online programs. “In the 21st century,” he said, “modern libraries—with welcoming study spaces, state-of-the-art technology, and well-stocked with books and e-books—are essential for study and research, and transformative for students.”
“This library expansion is long-overdue for our exceptionally hard-working students, who are striving to make better lives for them and their families,” said LaGuardia President Gail O. Mellow. “Our student population is largely low-income, new immigrant, or otherwise disadvantaged—many face numerous challenges on their way to a college degree, from financial burdens, juggling work (often more than one job), raising children, and other responsibilities—and they deserve and need a convenient, comfortable, modern space where they can grab time to study and reflect.”
“As well, with new floor-to-ceiling windows facing the intersection of Thomson Ave., Queens Boulevard, and Van Dam Street, the design of the library expansion symbolizes the openness of our college as a place where people of any background can pursue their higher education goals. We welcome all of Queens to the college, and want them to know that the LaGuardia Library is here for them as well,” said Dr. Mellow.
Western Queens Elected Officials Celebrate the Library Expansion
“The transformation of LaGuardia Community College’s library will enhance its reputation for high-quality and affordable college education that produces job-ready graduates with respected academic credentials,” said Queens Borough President Katz. “This modern and expanded library will serve as a top-notch education resource for LaGuardia students for decades to come.”
“I was thrilled to join President Gail O. Mellow, LaGuardia students, faculty, and staff to cut the ribbon on the beautifully renovated and expanded library at LaGuardia Community College,” said City Council Majority Leader Van Bramer. “This library will bring new group study rooms, more seating, improved natural lighting, and resources that over 650,000 students will take advantage of each year. I’m proud to have allocated funding to transform this library into a modern space for research and collaboration that will prepare the next generation of leaders.”
“Expanding LaGuardia Community College library helps our students commit to excellence and contributes to their success,” said Senator Gianaris. “It is more important than ever to invest in education and bring additional resources and opportunities to our colleges. I am proud to celebrate this library expansion with LaGuardia Community College.”
“The library is the focal point for the entire college, with over 650,000 annual visits by students, making it the most heavily used part of the LaGuardia Community College campus,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “By expanding and modernizing the library, LaGuardia is offering students the hi-tech library they need. Under the far-sighted leadership of LaGuardia President Gail Mellow, this new and improved library will help LaGuardia’s diverse student body get a great start in building successful futures.”
“The expansion of the library at LaGuardia Community College will be a great asset and investment to the many students, teachers and faculty who work and attend this wonderful institution” said Assemblywoman Nolan. “I would like to thank President Gail O. Mellow and everyone at LaGuardia for making this project possible.”
More about the Library Expansion
“At last, our world-class students have a world-class library,” said Scott White, LaGuardia Chief Librarian. “We’re thrilled that we’re now able to provide patrons with more efficient access to research materials, and improved collaborative study spaces.”
Additional features include a 75 percent increase in library seating (from 420 to 732 seats) with new high-tech group study rooms, modern reading rooms, individual study spaces, and public computers—all with IT and audio-visual capabilities. It provides a new home for the college’s Media Services, where students may borrow laptop computers and access other services, and adds much-needed office space for library faculty and staff.
The expansion is centered on a reorganization and enlargement of the library’s second floor—with upgraded furniture, painting, and new flooring, and a new staircase and expanded elevator service connecting it to the library’s first floor.
The second phase of the library renovation will upgrade the first floor to match improvements made to the second floor. Planning for this phase is underway, and is expected to take two years. Click here for more information about the library renovation.
Community visitors with a valid ID may enter the library during college hours and access reference materials on-site. Faculty, staff, and students with a valid LaGuardia ID may borrow materials from the library.
Click here for more information about the LaGuardia Community College Library.
LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, educates more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle Dare to Do More reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all US college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become. Visit www.LaGuardia.edu to learn more.
Long Island City, NY (April 28, 2017)—The highly successful initiative to train motivated New Yorkers for medical billing positions, conducted in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine and the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH),has graduated its third class of 21 students at LaGuardia Community College. Through a partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the five-month Medical Billing Training Program is offered tuition-free, and graduates superbly trained candidates for entry-level positions starting at $35,000-$45,000. The program has quickly built a successful pool of early-career professionals, with nearly 80 percent of students from the first two cohorts hired within three months of graduation—30 by Weill Cornell Medicine, seven by Mount Sinai, and several others by individual physician practices and other area hospitals.
“With its proven track record, our Medical Billing Training Program is providing students the opportunity to acquire in-demand skills sought by healthcare providers, without accruing student loan debt for tuition,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “This training allows our students to secure jobs that enable them to build better lives for themselves, their families and New Yorkers.”
“By working together with our industry partners, we’re curating training programs that put New Yorkers on track to lucrative careers,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. “The graduating participants will join the ranks of fellow graduates that have accepted positions at some of the city’s top tier medical institutions. I look forward to the continued success of this cohort.”
The program started in 2015 as a result of the Harvard Business School Club of New York’s “Skills Gap Initiative” to address a need for skilled, motivated workers for this growing niche in the healthcare industry. To read more about the Skills Gap Project and its work on the Medical Billing Training Program, click here.
“Our partnership tackled the challenge to train people so well that they do not need prior work experience to perform at the highest level, advance their careers, and completely satisfy their employers,” said Barry Puritz, co-chair of the team of Harvard B-School alumni that initiated the partnership between LaGuardia and Weill Cornell Medicine. “With careful attention to building a multi-faceted, results-oriented course offering, we have redefined the paradigm for successful entry level employment in non-clinical healthcare.”
Medical billing positions, along with many other mid-skills jobs, often go unfilled because applicants lack essential training. The curriculum involves 267-hours of training, and students graduate with technical skills, an understanding of healthcare finance, workplace professionalism and job readiness training.
“The collaboration between Weill Cornell Medicine and LaGuardia Community College has been very fruitful,” said Susan Shevlin, director of talent acquisition and on boarding at Weill Cornell Medicine. “We’ve appreciated having an expanded pool of well-trained applicants for our medical billing positions, which is essential to our operation. And because of the program’s vigorous training, those we have hired have been able to enter their positions nearly seamlessly.”
Reflecting the high-demand for well-trained medical billing candidates, the program has drawn interest from other area hospital systems as well. Northwell Health and Columbia University Medical Center also have participated in coaching events and instruction.
Based on word of mouth and media coverage of the first two graduations, more than 1,000 people applied for the 21 openings in the third cohort, which boasted a 100 percent retention rate; each of the 21 students who started the program in November 2016 have completed the program and graduated.
The average age of students in the third cohort is 33 (range: 21-49). Twelve of the 21 students were born outside of the United States, from Antigua, Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Jamaica, Philippines, Poland, and Romania.
The concept has the potential to be replicated for larger impact.
To read about the first cohort of the Medical Billing Training Program, click here; to read about the second cohort, click here.
For more information about this program or hiring its graduates, contact Barry Puritz at the Harvard Business School Club of New York at email@example.com or (917) 453-0311.
LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, educates more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle Dare To Do More reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all US college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become. Visit www.LaGuardia.edu to learn more.
Long Island City, NY (April 26, 2017)—Nationally-recognized civil right activist, Tamika Mallory, was the keynote speakers at the third annual LaGuardia Community College Black Lives Matter Summit on April 20. More than 21 percent of LaGuardia’s student body identify as black/African-American.
The summit was focused on Intersectionality, Black Women, Islam & Resistance Movements. Accordingly, Ms. Mallory spoke about systematic issues of persistent racial and gender inequality and injustice in employment, housing, and a wide range of other aspects of life faced by people of color, and the resulting serious apprehensions for members of the Black/African-American community.
To view photos from the event, click here.
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/CUNYThree 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
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 Chronicle: Hillary Clinton joins Cuomo to promote free SUNY tuition
Washington Examiner: Hillary 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
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.
• NPR ED article (4/11/17) by Anya Kamenetz, NPR’s lead education blogger, about the Excelsior Scholarship, described as the “country’s biggest-ever free college plan” – where LaGuardia President Gail O. Mellow is interviewed about its potential impact as a "’wonderful opportunity’” and expects that because of this new scholarship money, that the LaGuardia Community College Foundation will be able to direct more of scholarship money toward living expenses
• Wall Street Journal article (4/10/17) by reporter Leslie Brody, where LaGuardia student Patrick Warren reacts to the residency requirement for Excelsior Scholarship recipients
• City & State New York opinion essay (3/29/17) by LaGuardia President Gail O. Mellow relating the Excelsior Scholarship to free, universal high school education
• Crain's New York Business opinion essay (3/23/17) by LaGuardia Community College Foundation board chairman Mark C. Healy, on the business case for the Excelsior Scholarship
• Hechinger Report opinion essay (1/12/17) by LaGuardia President Gail O. Mellow about Excelsior as an indication of a resetting of US minimal education standards
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.
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
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
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)
Compiled by Anais Stickland APRIL 02, 2017Dr. 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.
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.
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.