Jeanette T. Sutherland (d. 2023)
Jeanette Sutherland, a dedicated LaGuardia staff member for more than twenty years, passed away on January 1, 2023. Jeanette started at LaGuardia in the Bursar’s Office in 1997 and transferred to the Instructional Services Computer Labs in 2000. Later, she served as a shop steward for the DC37 Local 384 CUNY Office Assistants. Jeanette left LaGuardia, retiring in 2019. Colleagues described her as “funny, friendly, kind, and an integral part of the LaGuardia family.”
Dean Kostos (d. 2022)
Long-time faculty member of the English Department Dean Kostos died November 14, 2022. Kostos has been described as “an exceptional teacher, a ferociously talented and courageous writer, and a profoundly kind and generous person.” According to an obituary published in The National Herald, Kostos founded the Greek-American Writers’ Association and authored eight books.
Sandra Sellers Hanson (d. 2022)
Dr. Sandra Sellers Hanson (1941-2022) was a remarkable scholar and teacher of composition and American literature. She served as Chair of the English Department at LaGuardia Community College-CUNY from 1985 to 2013, the year of her retirement.
Sellers Hanson possessed a formidable dedication to her home department and the students it served. She joined the LaGuardia English faculty in 1976 and for five years she held the position of Director of Composition, overseeing all writing courses. In her tenure as Department Chair, Dr. Hanson indelibly shaped the program. She hired, counseled, and championed a tremendous number of faculty. She also encouraged pedagogical innovation and worked closely with chairs of other LaGuardia departments to protect liberal arts curricula, faculty rights, and the needs of students. While at the College Sellers Hanson was an active member of the CUNY Association of Writing Supervisors. From 2013 to 2016, she served on the Executive Committee of the Association of the Departments of English (ADE), part of the Modern Language Association. In 2017 the ADE gave her the Francis Andrew March Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession of English Studies.
Sellers Hanson was born and raised on a farm in Clarion, Iowa. From kindergarten through the eighth grade, she was educated in a one-room schoolhouse. Her teachers’ diligence, organizational skills, and pleasure in witnessing students’ development made a lasting impression on her. Indeed, throughout her life, she stayed close to her Iowa roots, visiting her family each summer. Her mother, Alvina Sellers, was a noted collector of hats who toured the Midwest and eventually appeared on the Tonight Show. Dr. Hanson herself developed an extensive collection of hats, quilts, model John Deere tractors, and Elvis Presley dolls in her Park Slope apartment, as well as in her office in Long Island City.
As an undergraduate student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, Sellers Hanson majored in English, speech, and philosophy. She then earned an MA in English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Ph.D. in English at New York University. Her dissertation, which spanned about 1,000 pages, was on the work of Robert Penn Warren. Her first teaching appointment was at Valparaiso College in Porter County, Indiana. She went on to teach at Los Angeles Valley Junior College, in California, and then to New York, where she moved with her then-husband, David Hanson, and taught part-time at Wagner College and Staten Island Community College. In 1975 Sellers Hanson was hired as an adjunct instructor at LaGuardia, and she accepted a full-time position at the College the next year. Besides her work as Director of Composition, she also helped lead the Doris Fassler Conference on the Teaching of Writing and organized numerous college-wide activities.
In her more than twenty-five years chairing LaGuardia’s English Department, Sellers Hanson hired roughly two-thirds of the present English faculty, as well as several recent retirees. When she assumed the position of Chair, there were thirty full-time faculty; when she stepped down, there were sixty-five full-timers. Thanks to her leadership, the Department continues to thrive in every way. When she was given the Francis Andrew Marsh Award, the ADE described Sellers Hanson as “a teacher’s teacher, an administrator’s administrator, and first and foremost an educator of fiercely principled commitment to students and to colleagues.” She is dearly remembered and her work will live on among her colleagues and their students.
Dr. Raymond C. Bowen (d. 2021)
Dr. Bowen was present at the founding of LaGuardia in the fall of 1971, hired as associate professor of natural sciences. That same year he became associate dean of faculty and then in 1973, became dean of academic affairs.
Though he left LaGuardia in 1975, Dr. Bowen returned in 1989 when he was appointed as president. During his tenure, Dr. Bowen oversaw the college’s physical expansion and an increase in enrollment. His legacy includes bringing LaGuardia to the forefront of international education. Through multiple initiatives, he forged alliances with foreign educational institutions to share ideas and expertise. Under his leadership, LaGuardia helped to establish a network of community colleges in the Dominican Republic. He also visited educational institutions in Cape Town and the Western Cape in South Africa, and in China’s Shanxi Province, to share how LaGuardia helps its students prepare for rewarding jobs through high-quality education and internships.
His commitment to globalism is also reflected in the Hall of Flags as a symbolic commitment to the college’s international diversity. At the time of its opening in 1997, the exhibit was deemed the largest display of international flags in the nation, second only to the United Nations.
As he said in 1998, “The economy of the city and the country has become more globalized, and the trend is continuing. Our students, with their awareness of different cultures and their language skills, will definitely help the city to retain its leadership in the world economy.”
As Dr. Bowen prepared to retire from LaGuardia in 1999, he reflected on the need to ask the hard question of how LaGuardia sustains being on the cutting edge of innovation in higher education. It’s a topic most relevant today.
More on Dr. Bowen and how to pay tribute can be found here.
Rosemary A. Talmadge (d. 2021)
Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives; former Executive Director of Organizational Development and Planning
Dr. Rosemary Ann Talmadge began working at LaGuardia in the President’s Office and served for 15 years as the Executive Director of Organizational Development and Planning, following which she was Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives in the Division of Student Affairs. Rosemary’s work was guided by a belief in dignity, equality, and justice. She was behind many of LaGuardia’s critical initiatives, quietly and effectively helping us prepare and implement strategic plans. Her ability to create dialogue, to allow people to speak and feel heard, was a gift that she brought to many efforts to advance our college’s mission. Some of the work of which Rosemary was most proud related to racial justice and to speaking across differences; at LaGuardia she initiated a group on racial justice, which became a chapter of Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), whose work she continued to support until her death. We will all continue to be inspired by her legacy.
Marie Cimino Spina (d. 2020)
Retired Institutional Archivist
Retired Institutional Archivist. During her 16 years of service in the Library, Ms. Spina had great success. Her accomplishments have been recognized in the Library, LaGuardia, and CUNY. She taught library orientation classes, provided instruction in library citation workshops, served as chair of several library departmental committees, and conducted workshops for Opening Sessions and other departments at the college.
Sandra Watson (d. 2020)
Retired Dean of Workforce Development in the Division of Adult and Continuing Education
During her nearly four decades at LaGuardia, Sandy accomplished many goals. She created education and training programs as well as support services that met the needs of dislocated, incumbent, and newly unemployed workers. With a special interest in assisting minority women, Vietnam and Persian Gulf-era veterans, disconnected youth, and immigrant populations, she facilitated lifelong learning for these groups, helping them to enter or advance in the workplace. Through partnerships and collaborative relationships with community and faith-based organizations and public institutions, areas under Sandy’s supervision leveraged over $50 million in grants and contracts. In short, her work provided education and training services to thousands of New York City residents.
Scott G. White (d. 2020)
Professor and Chief Librarian
Scott leaves a legacy at LaGuardia that truly honors him and is a testimony to his leadership, vision, and caring. Just a few of his tremendous contributions include nurturing and supporting a library team that is respected and admired throughout this college; guiding the renovation that resulted in our beautiful new library space; developing the portable classroom, which he piloted in 2004 and grew into our laptop loan program; supporting the Criminal Justice program at the College, and teaching in the program for several years; leading the creation of Ask LaGuardia; and chairing Standard I for Middle States in 2012, which led to our current College mission statement. Scott is known and beloved for his indomitable spirit, his wonderful sense of humor, and his abiding commitment to LaGuardia and our students.
Susan Young (d.2020)
Professor, English Department
Sue arrived at LaGuardia as an adjunct and quickly became a full-time faculty member. She was one of the earlier Co-Directors of Composition (1992-1998) under Dr. Sandra Hanson, and the Department and our writing program grew while she held that position. Sue became Chief Reader at LaGuardia and was instrumental in the transition from the WAT to the ACT, and again to the CATW, which she helped develop. She was also the main support for the CPE (CUNY Proficiency Exam) which LaGuardia eventually mastered. She was also a Senior Faculty Fellow at the CUNY Central Office of Institutional Assessment.
William Levy Hamilton (d. 2020)
The Dean of Students retired
Louis Lucca (d. 2020)
Professor, Director of the Communication Studies Program
Dr. Lucca was the Director of the Communication Studies Program and The Speech Center at the College. Dr. Lucca’s work was, in every instance, based on his desire and ability to communicate. He was the author and zealous guardian of the A.A. degree in Communication Studies, an innovation in community college.