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Political Science Alumni Awards

Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

Political Science Alumni Awards


The Inaugural Political Science Alumni Awards 

will be held 

May 20, 2015 

at the Rio Gallery II, 583 Riverside Drive, #1, New York, NY 10031, 

from 6:30-8:30 PM. 


For more information, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement's Development and Alumni Relations Coordinator:



Celebrating the Achievements of the Students and Alumni of the Colin Powell School’s Political Science Department


Alumni Award Winners


Lifetime Award in Public Service

This Lifetime Award in Public Service recognizes alumni for outstanding contributions to the community on a State and National level. The award recognizes an alumni entire body of work, and honors the ability to demonstrated strategic thinking and leadership by intelligent risk taking and strong ethics in their day-to-day work. This award goes to an alumni that has skillful developed solutions to public issues with a long-term view that are linked to the collective good and vision, and provided purpose by envisioning what is ahead and rallying people to face new challenges. This award honors the alumni who has through their lifetime lived the mission of City College and the mission of the Colin Powell School.


PeralesCesar A. Perales 

In 2011, when Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Cesar A. Perales to serve as New York Secretary of State and Senior Adviser for Policy, he described him as “one of our most distinguished New Yorkers.”

Secretary Perales has served at the highest levels of government, including as Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter.  After his return home, he was named Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services by Governor Mario M. Cuomo and later became Deputy Mayor of New York City under Mayor David N. Dinkins.

The Secretary has an equally distinguished career as a civil rights lawyer.  As leader of Latino Justice PRLDEF, he created opportunities for thousands of people through his ground-breaking cases combating racial discrimination, protecting voting rights and advancing worker’s rights.

At the Department of State, Secretary Perales plays a key role in the Governor’s economic development agenda and is responsible for making the State’s municipalities govern more efficiently. He is the first Secretary charged with the State’s Consumer Protection role and has also aggressively taken the lead in the Administration’s antipoverty initiatives.


Professional Achievement Award

The professional achievement award honors alumni that have attained a position of substantial responsibility in their field and made significant strides in their chosen profession. This award honors the alumni who is demonstrating their commitment to public service, the community and the mission of City College and the mission of the Colin Powell School through their professional carrier.


RodriguezYdanis Rodriguez 

Ydanis Rodriguez has a long track record of fighting and winning for the community he represents. For more than 20 years he has served his community with transparency, honesty and integrity. As a Council Member, he continues to fight for much-needed services for Northern Manhattan, including immigration reform, higher quality education for all children, affordable housing and health care, and a more transparent and efficient government.

Ydanis was born in the Dominican Republic and came to Washington Heights when

he was 18 years old. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at the City College of New York, paying his way working as a taxi-driver. He then went on to obtain his Master’s degree in Bilingual Education at City College.

In 1992, Ydanis successfully helped to found Gregorio Luperon High School, a school dedicated to the success of immigrant families, where he became a public high school teacher. Although Ydanis began his activism in the Dominican Republic fighting for a new school in his hometown, Licey Al-medio, and continued during his tenure at City College, working to fight against tuition increases and budget cuts through student government, his 14 years of experience teaching refined and strengthened his passion for serving the community.


Rising Star Alumni Award

The Rising Star award honors a young CCNY alumnus who is commitment to public service, the mission of City College and the mission of the Colin Powell School. As an alumnus of the last decade (2005-2015), this awardee is recognized for their exceptional achievements in the public, private, social sectors, and promising professional path.

SmileyGregory O. Smiley

Gregory started his public service career over a decade ago. He began his career as an advocate at the United Nations for a Non-Governmental Organization; shortly thereafter he received the D’Agostino Greenberg scholarship in Law and Public Policy, allowing him to work with the general counsel of New York City Media Group (NYCTV).

He has worked on multiple political campaigns; in 2008 he served as Special Assistant to the Nevada State Director of President Barack Obama’s campaign. Mr. Smiley aided in strategy development, coalition building, organizing and identifying areas for Get-Out-The-Vote initiatives.

Gregory has been featured in print media and network T.V. news. He appeared on the Fox Business Network 2010 “State of the Union” coverage where he represented the voice of young democrats’ reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

He’s considered a leader within his profession. In 2013, Gregory was honored by The Network Journal as one of 40 dynamic business and professional leaders under the age of 40 who are the new generation making headlines in their fields. He was also honored by The Capitol News, 2011 40 under 40 “Rising Stars: Albany’s Next Generation of Political Leaders.”