“CUNY is high school for adults, and I will never go there” said a teenage girl standing on line at Barnes and Nobles with a group of friends. With nodding of their heads, the other young ladies agreed, and each identified reasons why CUNY colleges do not meet their ideal standards of education. These reasons ranged from CUNY not having good enough programs, like schools out of state or Ivy Leagues to course work at CUNY not being challenging enough to prepare one for a successful post-graduate program. They also mentioned that must people that graduate from CUNY are at a disadvantage, and according to their parents getting scholarships to outside schools will grant them more opportunities on their roads to success.
I have heard all these reasons before, but hearing them escape so passionately from the lips of these young ladies made me realize just how much people look down upon CUNY Colleges. As a CUNY graduate, it made me wonder if people actually know that CUNY (The City University of New York) graduates include 12 Nobel laureates, a U.S. Secretary of State, a Supreme Court Justice, several mayors, members of Congress, state legislators, scientists and artists. Each of these people had one thing in common, and that is they all graduated from CUNY, so CUNY must be doing something right.
Did you know that Millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds have been awarded to CUNY’s projects and programs, providing more opportunities for research, training and expansion? This couldn’t have happened if scholars at various CUNY institutions were sitting around doing nothing. CUNY must be doing something right. Did you know that Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, who recently championed higher education as critical to the nation’s economic recovery efforts, said enrollment at City University of New York is at its highest level in more than three decades? This is because many more people are seeing the benefits of going to CUNY schools. Aside from CUNY being cost friendly, and having numerous programs that challenge students of varying backgrounds, it is also home to the numerous students that graduate every year and move forward in pursuit of success, which many do accomplish.
Below are just a few known faces that benefited from what CUNY had to offer. Did you Know…
Famous UPTON SINCLAIR, one of the 20th century’s most famous American writers went to Baruch College, a CUNY school before he was a Pulitzer Prize winner. He is the author of over 90 books in a variety of genres and most famous for the muckraking 1906 bestseller The Jungle. Sinclair’s writings still reverberate today, with the recent Oscar-winning film There Will Be Blood based on his 1927 novel Oil!
Did you know that WILLIAM HALLETT GREENE was the first black graduate of City College in 1884, and also the first black member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. CUNY made his dreams a reality.
Emmy-nominated actress and civil rights activist, RUBY DEE is no stranger to many worldwide. She is well known for her various talents that range from American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and activist, perhaps best-known for co-starring in the film A Raisin in the Sun (1961). What many don’t know however is that this gorgeous multi-talented woman is a graduate of Hunter College, class of 1945. She appeared in one episode of The Golden Girls’ sixth season. Ruby Dee has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards, winning once for her role in the 1990 TV film Decoration Day. She was nominated for her television guest appearance in the China Beach episode, “Skylark”. In 1995, she and her husband (Ossie Davis) were awarded the National Medal of Arts. They were also recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004.
Baruch College 2002 graduate NADJA FIDELIA is the Managing Director & Partner, Lehman Brothers, and a trustee of the Baruch College Fund. She was profiled as a “woman of influence” in the October issue of Essence magazine. The feature by Wendy L. Wilson is entitled, “Power Moves: Meet top women who are changing their industries, and learn the power principles that guide them.”
When most people from various cultures here in the United States think about buying Carribean food, Golden Krust is usually not too far from their minds since it is the largest manufacturer, distributor and franchisor of Caribbean baked products in the United States.. What many do not know however is that the Founder, President, and CEO of Golden Krust Carribean Bakery & Grill, LOWELL HAWTHORNE O.D., is a graduate of the CUNY School Bronx Community College. Hawthorne brings to this position a wealth of experience and a solid record of Achievement, both as an accountant and entrepreneur. Today Golden Krust has expanded by leaps and bounds and now encompasses over 100 branches across nine states.
BISI IDERAABDULLAH, the founder of Imani House, Inc., (an organization dedicated to assisting individuals to make positive changes in their lives and communities while actively working to destroy institutional injustice, bias, and poverty) was a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974.
MYRNA RIVERA who was a graduate of Lehman College class of 1974 is the founder of National Hispanic Employment Program, one of the first Hispanic investment consulting firms in the U.S.
IYANLA VANZANT graduate from Medgar Evers College in 1983, and attended CUNY School of Law. She is currently a lawyer, writer, talk show host, public speaker.
For the Economics majors or minors, ever heard of the Game theory? Sure you have, but did you know that ROBERT AUMANN who revolutionized the game theory with his innovative economics theories is a City College, class of 1950? He won the Nobel Prize in Economics 2005, for being the first to define the concept of correlated equilibrium in game theory.
Famous dancer, choreographer and anthropologist PEARL PRIMUS is a CUNY Hunter College graduate, class of 1940. She opened the Pearl Primus School of Primal Dance. In 1961 she became the director of the African Performing Arts Center in Monrovia, Liberia, the first organization of its kind on the African continent. A buoyant and charismatic performer, Primus lectured widely and taught courses in anthropology and ethnic dance on many campuses. “I dance not to entertain,” she once said, “but to help people to better understand each other.”
Chemistry and Biology lovers, you have JULIUS AXELROD to thank for making sense of some of the concepts that are being taught in classrooms today. The City College, class of 1933 graduate is a Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine. In his best-known work, he identified an enzyme vital to the degradation of chemical neurotransmitters, and showed how nerves interact with other nerves. He was not at home when the Nobel Committee called to tell him he had won the 1970 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and he had the radio off in his car, so he did not receive the news until he was greeted with jubilation when he arrived at his dentist’s office for an appointment. He was also congratulated by President Richard M. Nixon who personally called him to appreciate his hard work and dedication to his field.
If they can do it so can you!!! It is not the school that makes a person, but rather, what a person make of a school. CUNY, SUNY, Ivy Leauges, yes they are all different schools, but text books will always remain text books, professors will either teach well, or not, so it is up to the individual to pick up the text book and make sense of what was taught. Not a text book, not an institution, nor a professor can make your dreams a reality, only you can. So whatever school you decide to go to, just take all you can from it and pave your own path to success.”
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