College of Staten Island President Dr. Tomás D. Morales hosted the annual CSI Legislative Luncheon on campus to update elected officials and urge them to provide continued financial support to CSI in the face of severe city and state budget cuts resulting from the current economic downturn.
Addressing the attendees, including Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, City Councilman James Oddo, State Assemblyman Matthew Titone, and representatives of Governor David Paterson and other local officials, Dr. Morales noted that he is “the envy of the CUNY Presidents,” because of the “undivided attention” that CSI receives from the area’s public officials.
Jay Hershenson, CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, who was joined by CUNY Budget Director Matthew Sapienza, outlined the College’s significant contributions to Staten Island and the State of New York.
“I’ve had the chance to see CSI grow,” Hershenson said, “and I believe in my heart that the reason why CSI is where it is today among public higher education institutions is because of the fact that the support for CSI has been unified. I don’t think that there’s a legislative delegation anywhere where, year-in and year-out, there has been [such] a unified approach to helping this College.”
Hershenson also praised the near 100 percent pass rate on the state teacher certification examination as but one example of the exemplary level of pedagogy at the College.
Noting that “investment [in the College] ripples far beyond our campus,” Dr. Morales underscored CSI’s accomplishments in a PowerPoint presentation that detailed the record levels of enrollment that the College is experiencing, the significant economic impact that the College has on Staten Island, its massive contribution to the community, and the retention levels of CSI graduates who use the skills that they learned at CSI to benefit the Island, New York City, and the state.
In addition, Dr. Morales outlined some of the crucial capital projects that the College hopes to complete, such as electrical distribution updates campus-wide with particular attention to powering CSI’s new High-Performance Computational Center, as well as city capital project priorities that include significant upgrades to the College’s computer network and Library.
Demonstrating CSI’s commitment to its students and community, Dr. Morales also listed CSI’s member item project priorities, such as the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative, SEEK’s Strategies for Success Program, the Virtual Classroom Study Abroad Project, and two of initiatives to serve the community and Island residents with developmental disabilities.
Putting the results of CSI’s vast achievements in more tangible terms, Dr. Morales concluded his presentation by treating attendees to three success stories featuring recent CSI graduates who have gone on the Pepperdine University, the University of Michigan Medical School, and the Teach for America program.