CUNY IN THE NEWS
Spitzers’ Gift of $25 Million to CUNY Will Change Students’ Lives
The economy may be in recession, but City University of New York (CUNY) recently reached its ambitious $1.2 billion fundraising goal three years ahead of schedule, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced. With enrollment at record highs and reduced government funding, however, CUNY cannot afford to celebrate for very long. The university’s leadership is already embarking on a bold and ambitious second phase of its fundraising campaign, which sets a new total goal of $3 billion by 2015.
“Today, public higher education is in some serious trouble,” Goldstein said at a packed news conference at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center in midtown. “There is a movement away from supporting public higher education across the United States by state and local government, and philanthropy is getting to be a more important revenue source,” he stated. Goldstein emphasized the importance of “giving our students skill levels that let them compete effectively” through the efforts of benefactors Bill and Linda Macaulay who gave a transforming gift and name to the Macaulay Honors College, Andrew Grove and the Grove School of Engineering, at CCNY, Carol and Larry Zicklin who endowed a chair at Brooklyn College and the School of Business at Baruch, and Lois and Samuel Silberman’s gift of the new School of Social Work and Public Health. According to Goldstein, CUNY has had three Rhodes Scholars in the past five years and his desk is piled high with books written by CUNY faculty members.
CUNY’s latest fundraising effort is off to a good start, thanks to a $25 million bequest from Bernard and Anne Spitzer. The donation will benefit the City College School of Architecture. City College (CCNY) is part of the CUNY system, the nation’s largest urban public university. The only public school of architecture in New York City, the City College School of Architecture will move into a new home on CCNY’s South Campus at Convent Avenue and 135th Street.
The new facility provides 118,000 square feet of usable space, including studios, offices, classrooms, computer labs, a model shop, a library and an exhibit area. The first classes are scheduled to be held during the 2009 summer session.
City College President Gregory H. Williams has recommended to Chancellor Goldstein that the CUNY Board of Trustees name the CCNY architecture school The Anne and Bernard Spitzer School of Architecture.
“This historic, transformative gift from Anne and Bernard Spitzer will make the City College School of Architecture one of the best in the nation,” said Williams. Spitzer, a real estate developer and the father of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, received an engineering degree from City College in 1943. Mrs. Spitzer is an Adjunct Professor of English Literature at Marymount Manhattan College. “I strongly believe there are few things more fundamental to the common good than an educated society, and few institutions that contribute more faithfully to that overarching goal than City College,” said Spitzer. “I feel privileged to support their work, their vision and their future.”
According to Board of Trustees, CUNY Chair and former Yale President Benno C. Schmidt, Jr. “in 2000 CUNY raised one sixth of what Yale raised; this year we’ll be at 80 percent of what Yale raises. We will close the gap in five years,” he promised.
Linda Macaulay, an avid ornithologist, averred that “the dollars we’re giving is going directly to students. Education is the keystone of the well-being of our society.”
Two students presenters were powerful examples of the transformative value of a CUNY education. Dan Gomez, an international studies major, fluent in Arabic, started at Queens Community College. In 2001 he studied to be a paratrooper, He returned to found the office of Veteran Affairs. Jessica Lee of the Macaulay Honors College was a political science major at Hunter College and went on to become a public policy fellow at Princeton University as well as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala, India and Argentina. “My commitment is to public service. That is what my professors inculcated in me.”
What a testament to the outstanding students that are the recipients of a CUNY education. Enrollment is expected to serve 253,000 degree-credit students as well as 250,000 adult, continuing and professional education students.#