MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT
FÉLIX V. MATOS RODRÍGUEZ
As always, it’s a great pleasure to welcome the entire Hostos Community College family to the campus at the beginning of a new academic year. This includes newcomers, old-timers, and everybody in between! This is a truly exciting time for Hostos. We are thriving and growing as never before. Having celebrated our 45th Anniversary reminds us of how far we’ve come and inspires us to dream big for the years ahead.
These are some of the milestones of Hostos’ very memorable 45th Anniversary year:
On June 7th, Hostos held its largest commencement ceremony to date, conferring a record number of 907 degrees in the elegant New York City Center. United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was the commencement speaker, and several elected officials gave greetings. Congratulating the graduates, Secretary Duncan urged them to make a difference. “No one is an island,” he said. “You should all strive to be patriots of humanity.”
In May, our 45th Anniversary Gala was the culminating event in our yearlong celebration of Hostos’ first four-and-a-half decades, and the enthusiasm and energy it generated will keep us going strong for years to come. We raised $500,000, the largest amount from a single event in the college’s history. In addition to our honorees, many other distinguished guests attended this event, and all were enthralled by the incomparable artistry of Danny Rivera, “the National Voice of Puerto Rico.” We’re already looking forward to Hostos’ 50th Anniversary; it’s less than five years from now.
In August, the Hostos Repertory Company was the only theatrical troupe from a community college performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The play they presented was Rough Magic, a wildly imaginative fantasy by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa that conjures a magical meta-universe in which two New Yorkers must conquer avatars from Greek mythology and the plays of Shakespeare in order to save the world from destruction. The New York Timespublished a wonderful feature story about this production on August 1st, and you can access it at the following Internet link:
In order to raise funds for the cast’s transportation, the Hostos Foundation launched its first text-to-pledge initiative during our 45th Anniversary Gala. We were truly overwhelmed and deeply gratified by the enthusiastic response we received. These contributions helped us to surpass our goal of $40,000, thereby ensuring that the Edinburgh trip would take place as planned.
I am greatly pleased by the impressive results achieved by our Student Success Coaches Unit, which has just completed its second year of operation. In this initiative, full-time student affairs personnel are assigned to all entering students (except those who are transfers) and remain assigned to them till graduation. We expect to have nearly all of our students covered by the end of the 2014-15 academic year.
Hostos’ amended Master Plan calls for a new Natural Science and Allied Health Building that will house all of the Allied Health programs, including a new dental hygiene patient care center and a wellness center that will serve our students and members of the community, as well as the Natural Sciences Department and related laboratories and classrooms. To support this initiative, for FY 2014, Hostos has received $4,503,000 in capital funding: $2,500,000 from the New York City Council and $2,003,000 from Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr.
Hostos is proud to be a partner in the newly-developed Health, Education and Research Occupations (HERO) High School, which is opening its doors this September on the Samuel Gompers High School Campus. A 9-14 Early College and Career Preparatory school developed through a partnership between the NYC Department of Education, The City University of New York (CUNY), Montefiore Medical Center, and Hostos, its goal is to prepare students for careers in New York City’s healthcare sector. Initially the school will offer two program tracks: Nursing and Community Health. Students will earn a Career and Technical Education (CTE)-endorsed Regents diploma as well as an associate degree through our College. They will have access to all the College’s facilities and opportunities for work experience at Montefiore Medical Center, and when they graduate, they can obtain employment as registered nurses or community health workers.
An earlier highlight of the past academic year was the inauguration of the Hostos Heritage Lecture Series in February, which brought the following writers to our campus: the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (author of My Beloved World); Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Díaz (author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her); and television journalist Cheryl Wills (author of Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale).
Last summer the Middle States Commission on Higher Education informed us that our accreditation was reaffirmed on June 28, 2012. A progress report will be due on November 1, 2013, including our Institutional Assessment Plan (2013-2017). The objective of this endeavor is to learn how institutional assessment, when planned for and implemented effectively, can serve as the infrastructure that informs decision-making so that the campus community can achieve its mission more efficiently and effectively.
The beginning of every academic year is like setting out on a journey. For the faculty, staff, and administration, it may be that we are following a familiar route, but our students are venturing into new territory. As we travel together, by sharing insight as well as knowledge and looking at things from different perspectives, we can make it a wonderful learning experience for us all. In the coming months, I look forward to working with you to achieve our 2013-2014 operational plan goals and making our students’ time at Hostos their point of departure for a wonderful future.
As we say goodbye to summer, let’s all refocus our energy on keeping the “Chain Reaction” going strong. Students, I urge you to commit yourselves to making your impossible dreams a reality. Faculty and staff, I ask that we do everything we can to make those dreams come true. Alumni, please remember that you have a family (and a future as well as a past) at Hostos and our doors are always open for you.
My very best regards,
Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Ph.D.