||Vol. 4 No. 1 January 28, 2009
CCNY Celebrates Obama Inauguration in Great Hall
Barbara Ann Blair, president of CCNY’s Black Alumni affiliate group, put it aptly: “It was the second best thing to being in Washington, D.C.” That was the overwhelming feeling at noon on January 20 when a rapturous crowd of 900 packed the historic Great Hall to watch a historic event with a CCNY thread to it. They watched on a giant screen as Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States and the first African American to lead the nation. The ascension to power of a man who honed his community organizing skills on the CCNY campus was welcomed with much fanfare by the College community. With food aplenty, the event was akin to a festival. After President Obama had been sworn in, the crowd exploded in joy with wild applause, tears and hugs. “I was glad to share the moment with my daughter,” said Ms. Blair, who was working in CCNY’s Math Department when the then 23 year-old future President was a NYPIRG organizer on campus in 1985. The simulcast was sponsored by CCNY President Gregory H. Williams, who was among those watching in The Great Hall. Hundreds more viewed in the student cafeteria from a screen set up by the iMedia department. More photos and comments.
Colin Powell to Keynote Conference on Immigration
Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (ret.), ’58, will deliver the keynote address at a half-day conference on immigrant integration Thursday, February 5, in The Great Hall. General Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants and the first African American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as U.S. Secretary of State, will speak during the conference’s luncheon session, beginning at noon. Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will present opening remarks at 9 a.m. The conference, “National Concern, Local Action, Immigrant Integration in New York,” is being presented by the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies through the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation. It will bring together policymakers and leaders in the immigration advocacy community movement to examine immigration policy at the state and local level. In particular, conversation will focus on New York’s special challenges in integrating immigrant populations and will examine areas of greatest success and challenge. Each year, the Powell Center anchors its educational and leadership training activities to a specific policy theme. This year, the Center’s work has focused on immigration policy, especially on policies that help immigrant communities integrate more fully into American society. More on this story.
Henry Louis Gates to Speak at 35th PA Commencement
CCNY, EPA to Collaborate on Recruiting, Education
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., distinguished scholar and author, will be the keynote speaker for the 35th graduation ceremony of The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program at Harlem Hospital Center. The event takes place 1 p.m. Friday, January 30, in The Great Hall. The degree B.S. in Physician Assistant Studies will be conferred upon 25 students in the ceremony. Dr. Gregory H. Williams, President of The City College, will offer remarks, as well. Dr. Gates is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, at Harvard University. The PA Program Class of 2009 is an ethnically diverse group that includes significant representation of African Americans, Latinos and women, groups historically underrepresented in healthcare. The PA Program, headed by Gemina Gates, Assistant Dean and Program Director, leads the nation in producing African-American and Latino physician assistants. While the national average is around 20 percent minority, the figure at Sophie Davis is 79 percent. Developed at Harlem Hospital in 1970 and affiliated with CCNY since 1978, it is one of just 142 accredited PA programs in the United States as well as one of the oldest. More on this story.
CCNY has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for increased cooperation between the College and EPA’s Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response (OSWER) and Region 2. The Memorandum, which runs for five years and is renewable, aims to build a long-term recruitment and educational relationship. Goals include: bringing qualified employees into EPA’s workforce, promoting positive awareness for the agency’s work and facilitating information and technology transfer from EPA to CCNY. “This memorandum opens the door to exciting new opportunities for City College students and faculty to participate in and benefit from EPA’s programs, and it is a ringing endorsement of our success in preparing students from diverse backgrounds for science and technology-related careers,” said President Williams. “As we strive to become a leader in environmental education, our new relationship with EPA will help us enrich our curriculum and play a greater role in addressing the environmental challenges that confront our city, our nation and the world.” “CCNY gets a Summa Cum Laude for partnering with EPA to promote an interest in students to pursue careers that will make this a better world.” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. More on this story.
Quest Senior Education Program Joins CWE Family
Robert Rodriguez Named Assistant VP for Student Affairs
Quest, a nonprofit senior education program, is the newest addition to the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Division of Worker Education (DWE). Quest was founded in 1995 when a group of retirees secured daytime use of the Center for Worker Education (CWE) facilities for further learning, exchanging ideas and developing new interests. Although Quest was housed in CWE for 14 years, it now operates with the name, Quest: The CCNY-CWE Community for Lifelong Learning Inc. The program is a derivative of the Institute for Retired Professionals (IRP), which was established in 1962 at The New School. Today, the self-administered organization has 135 members and conducts 30 non-credit classes for retirees at the CCNY/CWE campus at 25 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Membership is open to retired and semi-retired men and women who want to remain active and intellectually stimulated. As a lifelong learning institution, Quest “mirrors the mission of City College,” President Williams noted. In March, a reception will be held to commemorate the merger. More on this story.
Robert Rodriguez has been appointed Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, President Williams announced. He had served as Director of Affirmative Action at CCNY since 2005. “Robert’s credentials make him an excellent choice,” President Williams said. “From the day he started as Director of Affirmative Action, he has demonstrated a passion for the College and a determination to achieve real results. He has exceeded the high expectations we had for him and the job itself.” Currently Mr. Rodriguez is also the chairman of the CCNY Auxiliary Enterprise Corporation, a position in which he has worked frequently with student leaders. Robert’s background in advocacy dates to 1994; with positions at various agencies such as: the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, The New York City Department of Investigations, John Jay College for Criminal Justice and the New York City court system. Mr. Rodriguez received a B.A. in Political Science from New York University and a J.D. from Fordham University Law School. He will report to Esther Peralez, Vice President for Student Affairs.
Poetry Student Nancy Haiduck Wins Top Bronx Award
Nancy Haiduck, a poetry student in The CCNY English Department’s M.F.A. program in creative writing, won the 2008 BRIO Literary Arts Award. The award, whose acronym stands for “Bronx Recognizes Its Own,” is presented by the Bronx Council on the Arts and comes with a $3,000 stipend. It also includes a community service component that Ms. Haiduck, an adjunct in the English Department, hopes to fulfill by teaching writing to seniors in the borough. A returning student who previously worked in public relations, Ms. Haiduck won the BRIO for her entry “Bronx Stops on the #6 IRT,” a sequence of ten poems about some of the stations on the number 6 train, which serves several Bronx neighborhoods. She wrote most of the poems as part of Professor Michelle Valladares’ graduate class on “The Crossroads between the Visual and the Poetic.” “We had to study an artist, and I choose to study Romare Bearden, who has a stunning colored glass mural on the landing as you climb the stairs to the Westchester (Square) stop of the number 6 IRT,” said Ms. Haiduck.
Professor Kaku Inks TV Deal With Science Channel
The Science Channel, a cable television network produced and distributed by Discovery Communications, has entered into a multi-year talent and content deal with Dr. Michio Kaku, Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at CCNY. Under the agreement, Science Channel will produce original series and specials based on Professor Kaku’s works. The first project will be a 10-part series based on “Physics of the Impossible,” his newest book and a “New York Times” bestseller, that is tentatively slated to be shown in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition, Professor Kaku will host the channel’s “SCI Q Sunday” programming block. In that role, he will answer questions and host online discussions at the sciencechannel.com website with viewers, filmmakers and lead scientists from the channel’s programs. “Science Channel is excited to feature Dr. Kaku as a cornerstone of our new programming initiative,” said Clark Bunting, president and general manager of Discovery Emerging Networks. “In addition to being an accomplished leader in the field of physics, Dr. Kaku is also an exceptional communicator who can make the most complex science theory or topic fun.”
Professor Williamson Aims to Retrofit Suburbia
Suburbia, once the middle class ideal has been characterized by low density, single-use commercial projects built on cheap land usually adjacent to expressway exits. June Williamson, CCNY Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, sees tremendous opportunity for architects to engage in the next generation of suburban development by transforming these symbols of sprawl for new, environmentally friendlier uses. In “Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs,” (John Wiley & Sons 2009) she and co-author Ellen Dunham-Jones present case studies of traditional suburban building forms, e.g. shopping malls and office parks, that have been retrofitted to new forms and uses. “Retrofitting has been a tough nut for architects to crack,” she says. “How do you add elements of walkability, higher density and mixed use to these properties?” She envisions a strategy of incremental metropolitanism in which urbanized nodes are developed along a region’s “corridors of strength,” often at the location of a failed shopping mall or other large site. “To change an environment’s structure sometimes you need to seed the process with mega projects,” she says. The benefits will include fewer vehicle miles traveled, increased property values, more diversified property use, stronger public transportation systems and the creation of “new public squares” that will strengthen the civic realm.
Myrah Green Creates Quilt for Inauguration Exhibit
Dr. Myrah Brown Green, Distinguished Lecturer of Art at City College, is one of 44 master quilters whose work is included in “Quilts for Obama: An Exhibit Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President.” The exhibit, at The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., runs through January 31. “Only 44 quilters were chosen so I’m really honored to be part of this show celebrating this historical occasion,” said Dr. Green, who is also Arts Advisor to City College’s Dean of Humanities and the Arts. Dr. Green’s quilt, “Children Dancin’ at the Tree of Life,” is one of approximately 60 art and interpretive quilts made to celebrate the inauguration and welcome President Obama and his family to The White House. The quilt is a part of her “Dancin’ at the Tree of Life” series. It depicts children dressed in red, white, and blue clothing celebrating at a tree of life. The Egyptian Ankh symbol and Ghana’s Gye Nyame symbol are placed in the tree to represent long life, protection, and infinite wisdom and spirit for the 44th president. The three-week exhibit is presented by The Historical Society and the Women of Color Quilters Network in collaboration with The Group for Cultural Documentation. More on this story.
Professor Bandosz Serves on Carbon Disposal Committee
CCNY Professor of Chemistry Teresa Bandosz is serving on a National Academies of Science committee of senior scientists examining how the U.S. Army’s Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) is disposing of activated carbon from HVAC systems at facilities where chemical weapons are being destroyed. Since the early 1990s, CMA has gotten rid of approximately half of the nation’s obsolete chemical weapons stockpile. In the process, it has acquired large quantities of agent-contaminated activated carbon. This material is projected to be one of the largest secondary waste streams to remain in storage when munitions destruction operations end. The committee that Professor Bandosz serves on is charged with examining CMA’s HVAC systems that use activated carbon to determine the overall quantity and characteristics of their carbon secondary wastes. In addition, it will assess the current plans and path forward for contaminated carbon management and disposition, evaluate commercial and established industry alternatives for contaminated carbon disposal and assess the scientific support needed for obtaining regulatory approvals at CMA facilities.
Marilyn Hacker Elected to Poets Board of Chancellors
Professor Ryan Finds Link Between Shapes and Smells
Marilyn Hacker, a Professor of English at CCNY and renowned critic and reviewer, was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. The award-winning poet will serve a six-year term on the Board of Chancellors, the New York-based Academy’s advisory board of distinguished poets. She and fellow poet Edward Hirsch, president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, were elected to the Board by the 14 current Academy Chancellors. One of them, Carl Philips, hailed Professor Hacker for her “commitment to poetry itself, to new poets especially, and to an insistence on diversity as the most honest expression of what poetry is supposed to do: represent what it is to be a human being in the world.” Professor Hacker is the author of several books of poetry, including “Going Back to the River” (1990), “Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons” (1986), and “Presentation Piece” (1974), which won the National Book Award for poetry. She also received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a Lambda Literary Award for “Winter Numbers” (1994) and the 1996 Poets’ Prize for “Selected Poems, 1965–1990” (1994).
Shakespeare wrote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But would it if the molecules that generate its fragrance were to change their shape? That’s what CCNY Assistant Professor of Chemistry Kevin Ryan and collaborators set out to investigate. Their findings, reported in the journal “Chemistry & Biology,” shed new insight into how our sense of smell works and have potential applications in the design of flavors and fragrances. Professor Ryan and his team wanted to learn how receptor cells in the nose’s membrane respond when odor-producing molecules change their shape. They studied the odorant octanal, an eight-carbon aldehyde that occurs in many flowers and citrus fruits and can adapt to many different shapes by rotating its chemical bonds. The eight-carbon aldehyde molecules that they designed and synthesized and that resembled octanal were tested on genetically engineered receptor cells known to respond to octanal. The aldehyde molecules that could stretch to their greatest length triggered strong activity in the receptor cells. However, those molecules whose carbon chains were constrained into a U shape blocked the receptor and left the cell unable to sense octanal. More on this story.
Physics Professor Hernán Makse Helps Predict Urban Growth
CCNY Library Produces Exhibit on Kenneth Clark
CCNY Professor of Physics Hernán Makse led an international team of physicists that has developed a new approach for analyzing growth of cities and towns. The method, called the “City Clustering Algorithm,” challenges the Metropolitan Statistical Area model commonly used by urban planners. The team’s findings were published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” December 2, 2008. Professor Makse explains that he and colleagues were able to apply principles of statistical mechanics to investigate the emergence of statistical laws in urban patterns. “From the physics of phase transitions, e.g. liquid to gas, we know that when a system undergoes a transition, the system is critical, i.e. there are all sorts of fluctuations in density of a liquid that take all possible shapes, sizes and values. It turns out that a way to analyze the growth of urban clusters is very much related to the growth of percolation clusters at a critical point in a second order phase transition.” In addition, the team found a relationship between fluctuations in population growth rate and a city’s size that can be used to predict future growth.
“Toward Humanity and Racial Justice: The Legacy of Dr. Kenneth B. Clark,” an exhibit on the life and work of the former CCNY psychology professor whose research influenced the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that outlawed school segregation, opened January 20, in Cohen Library. The opening coincided with the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American elected President of the United States, 55 years after the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision. The exhibit, which will be on display in the Library Atrium through May 3, is free and open to the public. Professor Clark, a member of CCNY’s Psychology Department for 35 years, and his wife, Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark, also a psychologist, devoted their life’s work to combating the effects of racism on African-Americans. In 1946 they established the Northside Center for Child Development to serve the social, emotional and psychological needs of Harlem’s youth. Their landmark studies provided scientific evidence that the prevailing “separate but equal” doctrine that was successfully challenged in “Brown v. Board of Education” was psychologically damaging to minority children. More on this story.
Professor Rose Feiner, Biology Dept. Pioneer, Dies in Calif.
Dr. Rose R. Feiner, the first woman to become a full professor in CCNY’s biology department, passed away Dec. 17, 2008, at her home in Palo Alto, Calif. She was 94. Professor Feiner earned a Ph.D. in 1941 from Columbia University and taught there prior to coming to CCNY in the late 1950s. She was promoted to associate professor in 1966 and became a full professor in 1971. She retired in 1978. Distinguished Professor of Biology John J. Lee recalled her as a “very friendly colleague” who took him under her wing as a neophyte faculty member. “Our relationship was very warm and I listened to her as I would to a mother-figure.” Professor Emerita Charlotte Russell, who was the first woman to earn tenure in the chemistry department, called Professor Feiner “a woman of complete integrity. She was the most dedicated teacher and researcher I’ve ever known. Her lectures were as current as yesterday’s news and she made sure everything she taught was up to date.” Professor Feiner is survived by two daughters, Judith May of Oxford, England, and Susan Jo Burwen of Mountain View, Calif.; two sisters, one brother and three grandchildren.
Fritz Jahoda, Professor Emeritus & Music Chair, Dead
Fritz Jahoda, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the City College Music Department, died at his home in Concord, Vt., December 20, 2008. He was 99. Professor Jahoda taught at CCNY from 1947 until his retirement in 1975. “His legacy includes the hundreds of musicians he influenced, and this influence has, in turn, been communicated to succeeding generations,” said Stephen Jablonsky, Associate Professor of Music and current Chair. “Future musicians and audiences, who will never have heard his name, will, nonetheless, owe him a great debt of gratitude, as do we in this department that he helped shape.” A superlative pianist who often performed at Carnegie Recital Hall, Professor Jahoda was born in Vienna. Despite his success as a piano and composition student he opted to become a conductor of opera. He became a principal conductor in Düsseldorf, Germany, at age 20 and also served as conductor at the Staatsoper in Graz, Austria. Professor Jahoda and his wife, Hexl, immigrated to London from Germany in 1937 and then to the United States two years later.
From the President
Welcome back! At this time of hope and transformation, it was wonderful to see so many of you in The Great Hall to celebrate the inauguration of President Obama.
Last week I received an email from a young African American woman, Kerry Hyre, who graduated two years ago with a major in international studies and became one of CCNY’s first Rangel Fellows. After CCNY, she attended Syracuse University to prepare to join the Department of State. Now she’s a Foreign Service Officer, getting ready for her first post in Mexico. My wife and I met Kerry several years ago, and even then there was no doubt in my mind that she would achieve her dream and that she will make a difference in this world.
This semester promises to be as challenging and as rewarding as any we have embarked upon. And at City College, we will continue to do what we have always done: prepare young men and women like Kerry to take their place in the world, and to change it along the way.
Gregory H. Williams
138@Convent is produced by the Office of Communications of The City College of New York. We welcome your comments and suggestions for stories; please email email@example.com