Dr. Christine Cea was recently elected the new president of the Friends of CSI, an association of community members who are dedicated to helping the College of Staten Island (CSI) realize its goals and educational mission.

The Friends volunteer their time, energy, and finances to strengthen and enhance the bond between the college and the Staten Island community, and support CSI through educational and cultural event programming.

Dr. Cea is the fifth president of the Friends since the organization was formed. Previous presidents include Norma D’Arrigo, Giovanna Scano, Carol Berardi, and most recently, Mary Regan.

“Collectively, it has been their work and their vision that has so greatly contributed to the success of the Friends,” commented Dr. Cea. “As we enter our fourth decade of service to CSI, the Friends continue to play an important role in the evolution of the college.”

“The College has long been grateful for the efforts of the Friends of CSI,” said President Marlene Springer. “For over 35 years, their events, such as the annual Literary Brunch, have been instrumental in developing CSI’s exceptional relationship with members of the Staten Island community. We are delighted that Dr. Cea has been elected the fifth president of the Friends, and look forward to expanding these relationships even further.”

Dr. Cea plans to carry on in the spirit of the mission of the Friends. “In keeping with the wonderful work of its members, the Friends will continue to serve as ‘ambassadors’ of the college. Our mission has always been to explore ways to acquaint our Staten Island community with the life-enriching educational and cultural resources that CSI has to offer,” Dr. Cea said. “I will see that we continue with this mission and in addition, strengthen our support by engaging the interest of other community leaders to join in our efforts. Mary Regan, I believe, had a term for this; she called it ‘friend-raising’.”

One of the cornerstones of the Friends is their commitment to public higher education. Through their years of fundraising, a scholarship endowment is maintained that provides several scholarships annually to CSI students. The group will also continue to explore new opportunities that allow this endowment to grow, according to Cea.

“Several definitions describe what it means to be a ‘friend’,” continued Dr. Cea. “One that is particularly relevant to our relationship with the college is that of ‘one who supports others and is concerned with their welfare.’ I like to think that collectively, the Friends of CSI are carrying out our mission by doing just that.”

An alumna of the College of Staten Island who graduated in 1988 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology with honors, Dr. Cea’s undergraduate education has served as the cornerstone of her professional activities. A long-standing advocate for people with developmental disabilities, Dr. Cea went on to receive her doctoral degree in developmental psychology from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship as associate director of the Developmental Disabilities Project at Fordham’s Center for Ethics Education, and is presently a research scientist at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR), where she has worked for the past three years.

Dr. Cea has also taught in both the psychology and the sociology departments at CSI, and has authored several articles and chapters concerning the rights, well-being, and ethical treatment of people with developmental disabilities.

Dr. Cea has a lifelong dedication to serving the Staten Island disabilities community, and is equally committed to the importance of public higher education. She is a vice chair of the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, a member of the board of directors of the Staten Island Mental Health Society, and serves on the Human Rights Committee on Informed Consent and other organizations that speak to the betterment of services and improved quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.

Dr. Cea also serves as secretary of the board of directors of the CSI Foundation, is a board member of University Hospice at Staten Island University Hospital, and is a trustee of the Staten Island Museum. This year, she also received the 2007 Women of Distinction in Human Rights award from Soroptimist International of Staten Island.

Christine Cea lives with her husband Peter Cea, who is also a member of the Friends of CSI, on Emerson Hill. They have two adult children.