I hope this weekly communication finds you well. The Willowbrook campus and CSI St. George are alive with activity, and it truly is a great feeling! I enjoyed meeting so many students (and in some cases their parents!) as they arrived for their first day of classes this week. The Fall 2023 semester is now well underway… and I write with updates and information that you may find of interest.
Our incoming class of new students topped 4,000 and represents the second-largest in the CUNY system. This is impressive but not surprising. Our high-quality academic programs, award-winning faculty, beautiful campus, and caring staff make for a welcoming and inclusive environment. Occupancy rates at Dolphin Cove have returned to close to pre-pandemic levels, and the parking lots are again full (and thanks to the hard work of our facilities team, well-lighted, as our 1,000+ external lamps are operating at 97% efficiency!). Although the numbers are still preliminary, our Fall 2023 cohort exceeded all of our enrollment targets (new students, returning students, graduate students, transfers, readmits, non-matriculants, and high school dual-credit enrollees) and will likely represent the single largest year-over-year increase since 2009…and one of the top five in the last quarter-century! Kudos to our team in Recruitment and Admissions for making this possible, and to our squads in Advisement, Registrar, and other student support areas for making this happen! It truly was a team effort!
Student engagement and excitement are palpable. I met representatives from many clubs and organizations, and the residence halls held a series of “ice breaker” events such as Movie Night, Game Night, and Boba Tea Socials to welcome new and returning residents. On Tuesday, members of the administration and I joined 50 of our Jewish students and staff, and their allies at our inaugural “Shalom CSI” event, where we discussed plans for a series of similar activities in the near future. I look forward to what is to come as we work with external partners to leverage our role as an anchor institution on the Island and to provide a safe and welcoming community for all.
This week, I worked with other senior college presidents and members of the Chancellery to address issues related to various financial audits, primarily those of our “related entities.” The CSI Foundation was awarded a clean bill of financial health due to the excellent cooperation and attentiveness of multiple parties, and I expect similar results as it pertains to our Association and Auxiliary. The amount of work that goes into closing out a fiscal year is arduous and the deadlines aggressive, but I am generally well-pleased with where we stand on these matters. While there remains a great deal of work ahead to put our college in a better financial position, it’s important to recognize the diligent efforts of our faculty, staff, and administration and the positive impacts. Together with our improved enrollment picture, the future of the institution is looking better than it has in many years.
As we approach the symbolic end of summer, I look forward to a productive fall term, and I wish you all a restful and restorative three- day weekend. Happy Labor Day to all!
Until next time,
Timothy G. Lynch, Ph.D. (he/him/his)