I hope this mid-month email finds you well, and I write with updates and information that you may find of interest.

This week saw a number of important activities that demonstrated the power of the CSI community. On Monday, as part of our annual 9/11 commemoration, many of us gathered in the Campus Center where we listened to a beautiful instrumental piece performed by Anthony Delcore, one of our talented students majoring in Music, poignant poetry from Distinguished Professor Tyehimba Jess, inspirational words from Vice President Michel Hodge and Laura Scazzafavo of Veteran Services, and the reading of the names of our alumni who lost their lives in that terrible tragedy 22 years ago. The strength of our community was on full display that day, and it is that same strength of community that I see in action every day since on our campus.

On Tuesday, I was able to meet many members of the greater CSI community at the annual golf outing fundraiser for our Athletics Program. While my “golf” game was a bit rusty, my “salesman” game was on point—and it is an easy sell to get folks to support CSI. Who would not want to put their support behind an institution with award-winning faculty like Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess? Or support programs like the Teacher Education Honors Academy? Or celebrate the legacy of faculty such as Irene Deitch, whom we are honoring this Sunday with a bench dedication and commemoration of her many years of service? Many thanks to Athletics Director Chase Licata, Coach Mike Mauro, and the entire staff of Dolphins who made this event so successful (and fun)!

Speaking of athletics, on Thursday I had the pleasure of spending several hours with the other presidents from the East Coast Conference, where we gathered at Queens College to discuss the state of intercollegiate athletics. We heard presentations regarding changes to NCAA regulations, about student health and wellness, and about how we can enhance the student-athlete experience (and we learned that student-athletes outperform non-student athlete peers in several key indicators, including time to graduation and academic success). 

As the week closes, I am reminded that today kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month, a time when we celebrate and honor the histories, cultures, and contributions of both Hispanic and Latin Americans. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution, with more than a quarter of our students identifying as Latinx, we should take some time to learn more about their heritage and cultures to form better connections and learn how we can best support this community. Understanding and appreciating one another also goes a long way to help building a more inclusive environment.

Today also marks Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year, which is an appropriate time to announce the launch of “Hillel Staten Island.” This initiative, sponsored by the JCC of Richmond County, will serve Jewish students at both CSI and Wagner College, as well as other college-aged students on Staten Island (and will be directed by CSI alum Rachel Vaynshteyn) and represents a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to support all members of our community. I was present at the press event announcing this initiative and can tell you that the excitement around Hillel Staten Island, and the pride in having CSI as a partner, is real. I look forward to the hard, important work ahead and to building and enhancing a more welcoming environment for all.

Wishing all who celebrate a Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Until next time,

Timothy G. Lynch, Ph.D. (he/him/his)