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Lehman College: City University of New York
February 14, 2017

A Message from Lehman College President José Luis Cruz
Happy Valentine’s Day! The times continue to be uncertain, the ambience noisy, and the ground unsteady. But three solid weeks into the Spring 2017 semester, I am proud to acknowledge that our College has responded by sharpening its vision, raising its voice, and establishing its footing — as it works to advance its mission and progress on its strategic priorities. Indeed, there is joy in defiance. Before we get too farther along, however, I want to fill you in on how I have been investing my time since my last update to you before the 2016 holiday break.

Shared Governance

Board of Trustees

On the evening of January 31, I was pleased to attend two committee meetings of the Board of Trustees. Both meetings yielded good outcomes for Lehman. First, the Academic Policy, Programs & Research Committee approved a resolution in support of the three candidates for honorary degrees recommended by our college: Mr. Eddie Palmieri, Dr. Betty Rosa, and Dr. Jeffery Gilbert. Second, the Committee on Facilities Planning and Management approved the allocation of the final $12 million needed for the construction of our Nursing Education, Research, and Practice Center. Both actions are expected to be formally ratified by the full Board of Trustees at its February 21 meeting.

Lehman College

Earlier in the year, I participated in an all-day Faculty Retreat at Wave Hill, where I learned about our faculty’s perspectives on research, scholarship, learning outcomes assessments and the impact grading practices have on graduation rates; met with the FP&B Committee and took the opportunity to discuss the Governor’s proposed executive budget and its expected impact on CUNY; attended a meeting of the Division of Administration and Finance’s leadership team to learn of their recent successes, ongoing challenges and eminent opportunities; and presided over the first spring meeting of our College Senate.

I also met with Dr. Deidre Pettipiece, dean of Lehman’s School of Arts and Humanities, to discuss the college’s self-study design document for our ongoing Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaccreditation process; and visited with the department chairpersons from the School of Education and the chairpersons, faculty and staff from the School of Natural and Social Sciences (NSS) to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing their schools and answer their questions regarding the general direction of our College.


I have continued to enjoy productive meetings with University colleagues. In the last several weeks, I participated in a Council of President’s Meeting where the following important topics were discussed: Immigration, Budget, Administrative Excellence, Online Education, and Enrollment; attended a CUNY Legislative Action Council (CLAC) meeting where we discussed CUNY’s legislative priorities at all levels of governance and also reviewed the Governor’s Executive Budget and the Mayor’s Financial Plan; and met with Richard Rothbard, president of the CUNY Research Foundation, to learn more about our College’s relationship with the Foundation and explore opportunities for increased collaboration. I also met with CUNY Dean of Institutional Advancement Carlos Flynn to get his thoughts on how Lehman College could best position itself for its upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration.

Public Affairs and External Relations


Today, I am in Albany presenting our College’s capital budget priorities and the University’s operational budget priorities at a meeting with the Bronx Delegation of the State Assembly and visiting the offices of several other assembly members and senators to share this information with them as well. In a similar vein, earlier this year, I testified at City Hall during a Bronx Borough Hearing and pressed for the College’s 2017-2018 Capital Funding requests, and met with New York City Councilman Andrew Cohen and Councilwoman Annabel Palma to discuss the City Council’s Bronx delegation sponsoring our College’s 2017-18 Capital Budget Request. Our requests to the State, Council, and Borough include funds to complete our Access and Technology Center, create 25 Networked Smart Classrooms, fund the second phase of the Gillet Auditorium renovation, and fund an ADA and code compliance upgrade to the Lovinger Theater.


Last week, on February 7, I delivered testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce that emphasized the need to fight inequities in higher education, and explained how Lehman and other public 2- and 4-year colleges are creating equity-focused solutions and changing lives as a result.

Public Relations

Earlier in February I was interviewed for a CUNY TV segment reporting on the new Virtual and Augmented Reality Training Academy, which will open its doors in April. The academy is the result of a partnership with EON Reality and will provide our students with invaluable, state-of-the-art experiential training.

I also had the opportunity to represent Lehman College at an Academic Council meeting of the New York City Tech Talent Pipeline, where I was pleased to announce that Lehman College had successfully competed to implement a NYCTTP Residency program that will provide tech internships to students this summer and help align the college’s tech education offerings to industry needs. Finally, I was pleased to share my thoughts about Lehman College with Dr. Linda Hirsch in an interview conducted for her CUNY TV show, EdCast.

Organizational Updates: Division of Institutional Advancement

Since my last update, we have made several decisions regarding our Division of Institutional Advancement. First, we will postpone searching for a new Vice President so that we can fully focus on our 50th Anniversary Campaign. Second, we will merge our now separate Development, Research, and Alumni Engagement units into a single unit whose work will be guided and supported by a Steering Committee of faculty, staff, and alumni; more information regarding this committee, to be chaired by Dean Bill Latimer, will be forthcoming. Third, we will secure a vendor to engage the campus community in crafting an action plan for our Campaign efforts. And finally, to leverage existing synergies, Media Relations will report to Vice President Ronald Bergmann in the Division of Information Technology. These changes will strengthen Lehman College institutionally, and I promise to keep you posted as things progress.

Save the Date, March 27: Spring State of the College Address

It’s hard for me to believe, but we are approaching the six-month mark since I delivered my first Convocation address and outlined six priorities for the current academic year. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, I would like to invite you to Lehman’s first Spring State of the College Address. The event, to be held on March 27, will provide us an opportunity to review our progress and discuss the strategic context that is shaping up for the 2017-18 academic year. More details will be forthcoming.

Thank you for making a big difference in the lives of so many. The more I get to know you and your work, the easier it is to see why Lehman College has earned its place as one of the most effective vehicles of upward mobility in the nation, as determined by a recently released (and much celebrated) study of higher education institutions and how they serve the public good. It is my sincere hope that you continue to have a wonderful spring semester, and I look forward to seeing you around campus.


José Luis Cruz
President, Lehman College
The City University of New York