President's Bio


Félix V. Matos RodríguezFélix V. Matos Rodríguez took office as the 6th President of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY) on July 1, 2009.  Trained as a social scientist, Dr. Matos Rodríguez previously held leadership positions in foundations, universities, policy centers, and branches of government in which he combined his scholarship with social policy, advocacy, and change.

On December 31, 2008, Dr. Matos Rodríguez finished his service as Secretary of the Department of the Family for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  As Secretary, he formulated public policy and administered service delivery in the following programs: Child Support Enforcement, Adoption and Foster Care, Child and Elderly Protection, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Child Care, and Head Start.  Managing an annual budget of $2.2 billion, Dr. Matos Rodríguez oversaw nearly 11,000 employees.  Earlier, he had served as Senior Social Welfare and Health Advisor to the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Matos Rodríguez is a graduate of Colegio San Ignacio High School in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  His undergraduate studies were at Yale University, where he graduated cum laude in Latin American Studies.  He received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

While at Hostos, Dr. Matos Rodríguez is on leave from his tenured position as a Professor of Black and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College of CUNY, where he teaches courses on Caribbean, Latin American, and Latino history.  He has also served as director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter, which is one of the largest and most important Latino research centers in the United States.  In addition, Dr. Matos Rodríguez is part of the History Department at CUNY’s Graduate Center.

Prior to his work at Hunter College, Dr. Matos Rodríguez was a Program Officer at the Social Science Research Council in New York City and a faculty member at Northeastern University in Boston.  He has also held visiting and adjunct teaching appointments at Yale University, Boston College, City College (CUNY) and the Universidad Interamericana--Recinto Metro.

Dr. Matos Rodríguez is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is currently serving as a Board Member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, New York Association of Community College Presidents, Phipps Houses, and FedCap.  Dr. Matos Rodríguez is also part of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) Liberal Education Editorial Advisory Board, HACU’s International Education Commission, and the Achieving the Dream Institutional Change Advisory Committee.  He has previously served a board member of the American Council on Education, ASPIRA of New York, Inc., and Phipps Community Development Corporation, as well as the community advisory board of El Diario/La Prensa.

Dr.  Matos Rodríguez has received numerous awards for community service and educational leadership.  He was most recently honored as 2012 Grand Marshall of the Puerto Rican Day Parade.  He has also been recognized by the New York State Senate and Assembly’s Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus in 2002, a special recognition from the New York City Council during Hispanic Heritage Month in 2003, selected as “Man of the Year” by the New York City League of Puerto Rican Women in 2009, received El Diario/La Prensa “EL Award” in 2009, “Educator of the Year” in 2009 by the National Dominican Roundtable, Effective Leadership Award by the Latino Center on Aging in 2011, the Academic Leader of the Year Award by theAssociation of Hispanic Healthcare Executives (AHHE), and the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Health in 2011, Aspira of New York Circle of Achievers Award in 2012, TrendSetter Award from Latino Trends Magazine in 2012, Higher Education Leadership Award from the Bronx Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and the 2013 Hispanic Heritage Achievement Award from the New York Police Department.

Dr. Matos Rodríguez has an extensive publication record in the fields of Women’s, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Latino Studies and Migration.  He is the author of Women and Urban Life in Nineteenth-century San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1820-1862 (University Presses of Florida, 1999; Marcus Weiner, 2001); co-author of  “Pioneros”: Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1896-1948 (Arcadia Publishers, 2001); editor of A Nation of Women, An Early Feminist Speaks Out: Mi opinión sobre las libertades, derechos y deberes de la mujer by Luisa Capetillo (Arte Público Press, 2005); co-editor with Gabriel Haslip Viera et al. of Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City (Marcus Weiner, 2004); co-editor with Matthew C. Gutmann, Lynn Stephen, and Patricia Zavella of Blackwell Reader on The Americas (Blackwell Publishers, 2003) and co-editor of Puerto Rican Women’s History: New Perspectives (M.E. Sharpe Publishers, 1998).

Dr. Matos Rodríguez’ work has been in such peer-reviewed journals as the Journal of Urban History, the Public Historian, Latin American Research Review, Centro Journal, Revista de Ciencias Sociales, and the Boletín de la Asociación de Demografía Histórica, in addition to having chapters in several anthologies.  He was the founding editor of the series New Directions in Puerto Rican Studies, published by the University Press of Florida.  He has also reviewed manuscripts for Temple University Press, Rutgers University Press, M.E. Sharpe Publishers, Blackwell Publishers, Hispanic American Historical Review, and Revista de Ciencias Sociales.  He has been a member of the advisory boards of the Latino Studies Journal and New York Archives.

Dr. Matos Rodríguez’ expert commentary has appeared in many periodicals, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Hartford Courant, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, The Congressional Quarterly, The Daily News, Newsday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, El Diario/La Prensa, Hoy, The Orlando Sentinel, El Nuevo Día,
El Vocero, and The Hispanic Outlook of Higher Education.

Dr. Matos Rodríguez is married to Dr. Liliana M. Arabía, a dentist, and they have two sons: Lucas and Juan Carlos.