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MAY/JUNE 2017

DISTINGUISHED LEADERS IN EDUCATION 2017
Félix Matos Rodríguez
President, Queens College, CUNY

 



On August 28, 2014, Félix V. Matos Rodríguez took office as the tenth president of Queens College of the City University of New York. His distinguished career spans both academia and the public sector: he is a scholar, teacher, administrator, and former cabinet secretary of the Department of Family Services for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Having served as president of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College/CUNY prior to coming to Queens College, Matos Rodriguez is one of the few educators in the US who has served as president of both baccalaureate and community college institutions. During his five-year tenure at Hostos, he and his leadership team were responsible for dramatically improving the college’s retention and graduation rates and doubling its fundraising.

From 2006 to 2008, Matos Rodríguez served as Puerto Rico’s cabinet secretary of the Department of Family Services. In this position, he formulated public policy and administered service delivery in such programs as Child Support Enforcement, Adoption and Foster Care, and Child and Elderly Protection overseeing a $2.2 billion dollar budget and over 11,000 employees. Earlier, he had been Senior Social Welfare and Health Advisor to the Governor of Puerto Rico.

A cum laude graduate in Latin American Studies from Yale University, Matos Rodríguez received his PhD in history from Columbia University, and has taught at Yale, Northeastern University, Boston College, the Universidad Interamericana–Recinto Metro, City College, and Hunter College. At Hunter, he also directed the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, one of the largest and most important Latino research centers in the United States. He also worked as a Program Officer at the Social Science Research Council.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Matos Rodríguez is also an Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow.  He serves on the boards of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), Phipps Houses, the United Way of New York City, the TIAA Hispanic Advisory Council, and the Research Alliance for New York City Schools.

Matos Rodríguez has an extensive publication record in the fields of Women’s, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Latino Studies and Migration. He is the author of Women and Urban Life in Nineteenth-Century San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1820-1862 (University Presses of Florida, 1999; Marcus Weiner, 2001); co-author of “Pioneros”: Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1896-1948 (Arcadia, 2001); editor of A Nation of Women: An Early Feminist Speaks Out / Mi opinión sobre las libertades, derechos y deberes de la mujer by Luisa Capetillo (Arte Público Press, 2005); co-editor of Puerto Rican Women’s History: New Perspectives (M.E. Sharpe, 1998); co-editor of Blackwell Reader on the Americas (Blackwell, 2003); and co-editor of Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City (Marcus Weiner, 2004).

The recipient of the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association, Matos Rodríguez has had his work appear in such peer-reviewed journals as the Journal of Urban History, the Public Historian, Latin American Research Review, Centro Journal, Revista de Ciencias Sociales, in addition to having chapters in several anthologies. He was the founding editor of the series New Directions in Puerto Rican Studies for the University Press of Florida.

Matos Rodríguez’s expert commentary has appeared in many periodicals, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Hartford Courant, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Congressional Quarterly, the Daily News, Newsday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, El Diario/La Prensa, Hoy, the Orlando Sentinel, El Nuevo Día, El Vocero, and the Hispanic Outlook of Higher Education. #

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