June 2, 2016
Dear CCNY Colleagues,
I recently responded to a story in Sunday's New York Times, “Dreams Stall as CUNY, New York City’s Engine of Mobility, Sputters,” which reported on funding challenges faced by CUNY and its senior colleges, particularly The City College of New York. I pointed out that while many public universities, including CUNY, have serious budget issues, the real news at CUNY is much more than that. The success story of CUNY—what our faculty and staff do every day to educate hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers—is remarkable. Our first priority should always be the outcomes for our students, and the evidence that our students are succeeding in increasing numbers is positive indeed. This is certainly the case at City College.
During President Coico’s tenure, City College has increased graduation rates, added new programs and built new facilities. City College continues to be one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in the country, a source of its great vitality. Since 2010, City College has been consistently ranked highly by The Princeton Review, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. CCNY’s impressive Sophie Davis School has received accreditation for its expansion to a full-fledged School of Medicine, scheduled to open this fall.
President Coico has been one of CUNY's most successful fundraisers—CCNY leads all CUNY colleges in private support—attracting gifts for student scholarships, academic programs and faculty development. Among other campus improvements, CCNY’s state-of-the-art Center for Discovery and Innovation opened in 2015. CCNY faculty lead CUNY in research funding, supporting innovative scholarly work in many areas.
City College students have earned competitive scholarships and fellowships including the Rhodes, Truman, Fulbright, Goldwater, Gilman, Javits, and National Science Foundation Research Fellowships. This week, nearly 3,000 students will be honored during City College’s 170th Commencement where First Lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker. I look forward to joining them.
There are indeed fiscal challenges at CCNY, as there are at many colleges and universities. My office has been working with President Coico and Senior Vice President Zinnanti on City College's plans to manage its budget. And our highest priority remains reaching a fair resolution of our contract with faculty and staff.
I know I join countless New Yorkers in gratitude for the hard work of CCNY’s faculty, staff and administration to ensure that City College and CUNY remain beacons of access, excellence, and achievement for so many students. We are serving more students than ever before and CUNY and CCNY remain engines of mobility, or as City College alumnus Andy Grove put it, "the American Dream Machine.”
James B. Milliken