City College of New York establishes social justice journalism scholarship

The City College of New York is pleased to announce a major gift to establish The Paper Endowed Scholarship Fund for Social Justice for students interested in journalism and engaged in social justice projects, and who require additional monetary support to complete their academics and extracurricular activities that strengthen their community. 

Established by the founders and alumni of The Paper, an independent student publication founded in 1970, the scholarships are open to all CCNY undergraduates enrolled in the SEEK Program, and may be expanded College-wide later. Awards are based on criteria that include a commitment to social justice, good academic standing, a written essay and an interview with a panel that includes members of The Paper Scholarship Committee.

Created by a group of multiracial students at CCNY during a period of social upheaval in the U.S. that included the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and its anti-war demonstrations, and the struggle for student rights, The Paper (formerly Tech News) reported on not just college-related issues, but sought to give voice to the underserved in and around the Harlem Community, nationally (including a groundbreaking story on the 1971 Attica Prison uprising), and internationally.

“By the time I graduated, we felt that we had one of the best college weekly newspapers in the country,” said Albert De Leon ’72, a retired senior manager and general counsel with several foreign financial institutions who served as the publication’s editor-in-chief in 1972. “Many people went on to accomplish great things in their careers as a result of a top-notch City College education, and the privilege of working with achievers on The Paper. This scholarship is our way of saying thanks, and offering encouragement to current students.”

Junior Madeline Cortes Reyes and senior Krystal Suriel, both first-generation college students, have been selected as the first recipients of the Scholarship. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship award for the 2022 academic school year.  

“I would like to see my community’s stories being told because we exist and we are a monumental part of society,” said Cortes Reyes, who is majoring in studio art, for which she has had a passion since childhood. “The newspaper has given me the opportunity to connect with other like-minded people.”

“It’s my mission to educate others through my writing,” said Suriel, who is interested in popular culture, and the entertainment business. “Social justice activism is one of the best ways to create change because so many of these issues intersect.”

Francee Covington ’70, one of the founders of The Paper, and a member of the first SEEK class at the College, agrees. A television and video producer, director and writer for four decades, now retired, and a member of the Scholarship Committee, she views the scholarship interview process as more of a “conversation.”

“We see them, we hear them, and we are here to help,” she said of the students. “What we went through isn’t that different from what they are going through now. Hopefully, they hear in our voices how proud we are of them.”

“I have had the tremendous opportunity to work with, and learn from The Paper Scholarship Committee in their work on this project,” said Dee Dee Mozeleski, vice president for Institutional Advancement, Communications and External Relations, executive director of The Foundation for City College and senior advisor to the president. “The stories told in The Paper have allowed the voices of the many to be heard and shared across generations, an important part of the legacy that is City College.” 

Please click here to contribute to The Paper Endowed Scholarship Fund

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Syd Steinhardt/Ashley Arocho
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