I am pleased to announce that the three candidates the campus put forth for Distinguished Professors were approved at Monday’s CUNY Board of Trustees meeting. Our new Distinguished Professors are Patricia Smith and Tyehimba Jess, both from the Department of English, and Joel Hamkins from the Department of Mathematics. Drs. Smith and Jess have received many accolades and awards for their groundbreaking work in poetry, including a Pulitzer Prize for Jess’s 2016 book, Olio, and several national awards, including nomination as a Pulitzer finalist, for Smith’s 2017 book, Incendiary Art. Hamkins’ work bridges the areas of mathematical logic and philosophy, and he is currently on leave at Oxford University as Professor of Logic in the Faculty of Philosophy and Sir Peter Strawson Fellow in Philosophy. Please join me in congratulating these remarkable scholars for this recognition of their work.

Last week, Professor and Chair of Economics Simone Wegge saw publication of Networks and Opportunities: A Digital History of Ireland’s Great Famine Refugees in New York, a paper co-authored with Tyler Anbinder and  Cormac Ó Gráda that was the lead article in the December issue of American Historical Review. This paper utilizes records from the Emigrant Savings Bank dating to 1850 that trace the economic history of emigrants from Ireland to New York in the wake of the potato famine.

Earlier this month, I attended the Music Recital performed by the CSI Orchestra. This group, under the direction of Dr. Dan Auerbach from the Department of Performing and Creative Arts (PCA) and James Minenna from Curtis High School, pairs Staten Island high school students with mentors from regional orchestras. This program, which featured excerpts from classical favorites, offered valuable performing experience for these students, and was an inspiring and very well performed set of music. The PCA Department offers a full range of musical programs during the year, most featuring CSI students, and I urge you to take advantage of these events when time permits during the semester.

Finally, I wish you all a joyful and rejuvenating holiday season.

By J. Michael Parrish