It is my great pleasure to wish all our returning faculty, staff, and students a happy new academic year. For those who are new to the College of Staten Island, including our incoming class of students, I extend to you a warm welcome to the CSI family. 

It is with great honor and humility that I begin my first academic year as the new Interim President of the College. I can’t thank enough all of the countless individuals who have expressed to me their well wishes and support as together we embark upon a new beginning. 

This is indeed an exciting time at the College. At its session on June 28, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmed the College’s full accreditation. A detailed explanation concerning the Commission’s action will follow shortly in a separate communication from the Provost and me. In light of the Commission’s increased level of scrutiny concerning higher education institutions, CSI’s reaccreditation serves as a validation of our collective excellence.          

Our escalating enrollment and academic profile of incoming students are a testament to the College’s reputation as an outstanding public institution of higher learning. For the sixth consecutive year, CSI is on track to record the highest enrollment ever both in FTE and headcount. It is also anticipated that we will enroll the highest number of baccalaureate students in the College’s history. While our increased enrollment has created some space challenges, we are actively pursuing both short- and long-term solutions.  

We continue to rise to the challenge of meeting the rigorous academic and other educational needs of our students. This academic year, we celebrate the arrival of 20 new faculty members and several new administrative staff, an accomplished and diverse cohort representing some of the most promising talent in their respective fields. 

Remarkable progress has also been made concerning our student residential housing project, which is on schedule to be completed for occupancy in fall 2013. Three stories of the four-story north building have already been erected, and I encourage the campus community to view the real-time construction photos on the live Webcam that can be accessed on the College’s homepage. 

We received great news in July when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that the S93 bus route from Brooklyn would finally be extended onto the CSI campus so riders would no longer have to disembark at the front gate entrance. This outcome is a remarkable culmination of the dedicated efforts by our faculty, staff, students, community leaders, and local legislative representatives, and stands as a shining example of the College and community coming together for the benefit of all our constituents, most notably our students. 

Finally, with the gradual stabilization of our budget through CUNY’s Rational Tuition Plan, I am optimistic that CSI will have the necessary resources to continue to support academic excellence for the foreseeable future. 

As Interim President, I am dedicated to advancing the Mission, Vision, and Values of this great institution. As noted by pioneering organizational scholar Warren G. Bennis, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Please be assured that I will be very deliberate in working with students, faculty, and staff to make our ambitious Vision, as embodied in CSI’s Strategic Plan, Many Voices, One Vision, a reality.