The College of Staten Island’s President, Tomás Morales, hosted a Legislative Breakfast on the CSI campus to urge elected officials to support the New York State Compact for Higher Education, a proposed funding mechanism to make higher education in New York sustainable.

“We are a CUNY community,” said Morales to City Councilman James Oddo, State Assemblymen Michael Cusick and Lou Tobacco, and representatives from other local officials as a PowerPoint slide detailed the breakout of the Island’s 15,000 CUNY students by districts.

Legislative support of the Compact will present increased funding opportunities for Baccalaureate and Graduate education, it will attract and retain outstanding faculty and well-prepared students, and will further facilitate the growth of the college’s intellectual capital while fueling the engine of economic growth, Morales continued.

Ernesto Malave, CUNY Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance, and Jay Hershenson, CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, detailed the benefits of the Compact for the attendees. The critical components included the creation of a $3 Billion Research Fund, a low-cost student loan program, and specifically for CSI, the addition of 50 full-time faculty members and 15 student support positions.

Morales outlined the academic career paths available to CSI students, highlighting the Macaulay Honors College, the Teachers Academy, and the college’s Verrazano School. He also reminded the crowd that a high-quality public education on Staten Island could also include CSI’s 15 Master’s and six Doctoral programs.

“Staten Island deserves the best,” Morales added, noting that he plans to double CSI’s endowment within 36 months to offer more scholarships to incoming students.

Morales also made special mention of the unique undergraduate research experience at CSI, discussing the advantage of the student’s hands-on laboratory work with outstanding faculty on projects of global interest.

Outlining how elected officials can assist CSI through continued funding, Morales spoke of his desire to expand the CUNY High-Performance Computing Center, rehabilitate campus facilities, and integrate the Discovery Institute with Fort Wadsworth, as well as other important initiatives.

Morales concluded the engaging program by saying “In the 21st century, intellectual skills and creative intelligence will become more and more part of our social capital. Our ability to generate that social capital will determine in large measure the future of our region, indeed the future of our nation. It is in this endeavor that public higher education will play a critical role. CSI is committed to being an extraordinary resource to Staten Island and our city. In partnership, we look forward to working with you in achieving this tremendously important goal.”