It is my pleasure to give a warm welcome to everyone in the CSI family, both new and returning, to the College of Staten Island for the 2019/2020 academic year. I am sure you will find that the College is a special place, where we strive to create an environment that supports our students in their academic pursuits.

I want to thank the many students, staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the Staten Island community who wrote emails and sent personal notes and cards following my surgery last spring. Many of you shared your own personal stories of surviving cancer and suggestions for dealing with the issues – your outreach was much appreciated. The good news is that I have more energy than before and the biopsies are clear.

As with most CUNY campuses, we will encounter some budget challenges this year, and over the next few weeks, I will be sending further communications about the budget. For this message, however, I wanted to focus on some of our recent highlights as it is truly an exciting time for the College.

In late June, the College received a $7.5M cash gift from Class of ’65 alumni Lucille and Jay Chazanoff to benefit the School of Business. This gift is the largest individual donation ever made to a public nonprofit within the Borough of Staten Island. With the potential to dramatically transform the work of the School, the Fund will be used to support the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business, including accreditation pursuant to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) – an international organization that is the preeminent accrediting body for business schools in the United States.

Just a few weeks later, we learned that the NCAA membership committee approved our Division II application, enabling us to join Queens College and eight other public and private institutions competing in the East Coast Conference. CSI and Queens are now the only NCAA Division II institutions in the five New York City boroughs, and the only public NCAA Division II institution in New York State.

Then, just ahead of this new year, we were again recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Top Colleges. In addition, Money magazine listed us as one of the “Best Colleges For Your Money,” further confirming that we deliver value for money. Just as importantly, our beautiful 204-acre campus was recognized by ASecureLife in its report “100 Most Secure College Campuses in America,” as the 23rd most secure campus for the 2019–2020 school year.

This year, Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez attended our annual move-in day and joined me in cooking waffles for the incoming residents and their families. Teams of volunteers ensured a smooth transition for our incoming freshmen. It was a beautiful day and the Chancellor’s presence highlighted a great start to the year.

Our campus is a thriving community, with new and exciting activities taking place on a regular basis.  Keep your eye on CSI Today reporting news and information almost daily, and our social media. To all our students, I encourage you to get involved. Studies show that the more you are engaged with others on campus, the more likely it is that you will graduate. To that end, take advantage of the many clubs and activities that we offer.

So, welcome to CSI. I am glad you’re here and wish you great success this semester.