Brilliant Alums Honored at CCNY 126th Awards Ceremony
Presiding over 500 guests in the Marriot ballroom recently, Joe Fleischer, President of the CCNY Alumni Association and CEO of Polshek Partnership as well as Don Jordan Executive VP of the Alumni Association called on a brilliant array of talent to receive the prestigious Townsend Harris medals—including Education Update’s Advisory council member, Dr. Alfred Posamentier, Dean of CCNY’s School of Education. The outstanding achievements ranged from mathematics, science, medicine and television, to radio.
The history of the CCNY Alumni Association which dates back 153 years to its creation by sixteen members of the first graduating class of CCNY back in 1853, began the Townsend Harris medal to CCNY alumni initiated in 1933. Some illustrious past recipients of the Townsend medal are: Ed Koch, Dr. Jonas Salk, Eli Wallach, Colin Powell, and CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
In receiving this year’s Townsend medal Dr. Alfred Posamentier was described at the ceremony as a renowned mathematics educator on national and international scales, “having received accolades from far and wide for innovative and effective methods of passing mathematics knowledge to teachers and students.” In accepting the award, Posamentier’s affinity for mathematics and education were clear as he pointed out the numbers entering different professions from CCNY’s first graduating class, with 52 having entered the teaching profession, fast forwarding to this past year with 692 graduates of the School of Education who are currently teachers in NYC schools.
Other recipients of the Townsend Harris medal were Dr. Eva J. Pell, class of 1968, currently Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School of Pennsylvania State University, and considered an internationally renowned leader in the fields of agriculture and life science, and Dr. Walter A. Orenstein, also a 1968 graduate, known for his innovative efforts to control vaccine preventable diseases. Orenstein quoted Horace Mann’s cautionary words: “Be afraid to live until you have struck a blow for humanity.”
Current CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams, in addressing the audience at the award ceremony, summarized some of the CCNY’s recent achievements, such as the events at the Colin Powell Center, with Mr. Powell himself often seen walking around the campus, and the opening of the Fall Towers, a monumental occurrence at CCNY as the first residence hall of the college.
President Williams received the prestigious John H. Finley Award—named in honor of CCNY’s third president. Among additional recipients were Emmy award-winning playwright Terrence McNally and Dr. Muriel Petioni, 92-year old physician, practicing for over 50 years as clinician, community activist, and educator, who founded “The Friends of Harlem Hospital Center” in 1987 which was instrumental in preventing the closing of the hospital.#