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December 4, 2008


New York, December 4, 2008. – The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) at The City College of New York (CCNY), the only university-based research unit in the United States devoted to Dominican Studies, will host a full day of events Wednesday, December 10, to celebrate the completion of its newly expanded and redesigned Archives and Library. 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the entrance to the Archives and Library, located in Room 2/202 of CCNY’s North Academic Center, followed by an invitation-only luncheon. Participants will include CUNY and CCNY administrators, students, state and city officials, CUNY DSI supporters and invited members of the public.

At 6 p.m., the Institute will hold an academic panel with renowned Dominican scholars Dr. Frank Moya-Pons and Dr. Marcio Veloz-Maggiolo, who will speak on the importance of archives and libraries to the study and preservation of collective memory and cultural and ethnic identities. Dr. Moya-Pons has written 30 books on Dominican and Caribbean history and was a Visiting Researcher at CUNY DSI from 1993 to 1999. Dr. Veloz-Maggiolo, an essayist, literary critic, archaeologist and anthropologist, served his country’s as ambassador to Mexico, Peru and the Vatican City.

Following the panel, a reception will celebrate “Dominicans in New York: An Exhibit from the Dominican Archives and Library Collections” on display at the new facilities until January 30, 2009. The reception begins at 8 p.m.

CUNY DSI received a $1.4 million grant to fund the project from the New York City Council in 2004. Shortly after, CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams designated space on the second floor of the North Academic Center, adjacent to the Raphael Cohen Library, to house the new facilities. Design and planning for the facilities incorporated input from many constituencies, including community architects, supporters of the Institute, students, CUNY DSI staff, CUNY engineers and architects, and CCNY’s Office of Campus Planning and Facilities.

The new Archives and Library feature three distinct subdivisions aligned as interconnected rectangular spaces with specific functions:

1.    A multi-purpose room that can be used for research, conferences, video screenings, lectures or exhibits.

2.    Staff offices and a materials processing area.

3.    A large stack room where all document collections and library materials will be preserved and stored.

A totally independent climate and temperature control system will guarantee that humidity and temperature levels remain constant throughout the year, in order to preserve the durability of collection materials. 

 “The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute is the only university-based research unit in the United States devoted to Dominican Studies, and it is one of the crown jewels of The City College of New York,” said CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams. “We are delighted that its archives and library, which are invaluable resources for academic researchers and members of the community alike, now have first-class facilities worthy of a center of national stature.”

“We are very happy to be able to put these facilities into use, and thank the City Council and President Williams for their support,” said Dr. Ramona Hernández, CCNY Professor of Sociology and Director of CUNY DSI. “Many members of our staff, especially our Chief Archivist, Idilio Gracia Peña, and our Head Librarian, Sarah Aponte, have invested much time and energy into their planning, design and construction. These facilities, will, without any doubt, become a landmark one day, making proud all those who had the vision to make it happen for future generations.”

 “Now we have a real place for the preservation of the documentation on Dominican culture in New York City,” added Dr. Hugo Morales, a CUNY Trustee and prominent member of New York’s Dominican community. “Here all the papers, books, and studies from and about Dominicans will be protected for current and future generations to study and enjoy, so that an ever-deepening knowledge about Dominicans, their history and culture, can be constructed. As a senior member of this vibrant immigrant community, I feel really proud of these facilities, which themselves symbolize the strengthening and permanence of Dominicans in our dear city.”

“As a proud member of the New York City Council, a proud New Yorker and a proud Dominican, it gives me an immense satisfaction to see this dream come true,” said New York City Councilmember Miguel Martínez, who spearheaded the grant through the City Council. “The knowledge that is going to be produced and preserved here will help us understand each other better, and, therefore, become better citizens and, perhaps, even better human beings.”

About The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, established in 1992, is the premier research institution in the study of Dominicans in the United States. Its mission is to gather, produce, and disseminate knowledge on the human experience of people who trace their ancestry to the Dominican Republic; to address the current lack of useful and reliable information concerning Dominicans in the U.S. and to advance research and teaching at the City University of New York focusing on the Dominican people. The New York State Dominican population is approximately 691,000 according to the 2006 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.

About The Dominican Archives

The Dominican Archives was established in 2002 to collect and preserve material that documents the experience and contributions of all segments of the New York Dominican population. This archival material is available to educators, students, historians, policymakers, and researchers interested in studying the history and culture of the Dominican population in the United States.

About The City College of New York

For more than 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu.