22 AUGUST 13, 2020 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Four new Queens CUNY presidents
discuss college in the COVID-19 era
Community leaders unite to launch “Friends Of Columbus”
BY JACOB KAYE
locally and further out to other regions in near future
The newly appointed presidents
of four CUNY schools in
Christopher Columbus is more than а historical figure, for Italians he is а source of pride and а symbol of what we have achieved and can achieve as Italians
worldwide. Beyond his voyages, his life, his love of the "New" world it gave us the courage to leave our mother land, our families and соmе to an unknown world
and provide а future for our families. Now, Hundreds of years later, sons and daughters of Columbus have become pillars of society in the daily fabric of the
Queens sat down with Schneps
Media last week to discuss their
backgrounds and the challenges
their respective schools face in the
coming months — and potentially
years — as a result of the COVID-19
With a spring semester to learn
from and a summer of planning
under their belt,the presidents see
the challenge as a chance to move the
CUNY system into the future and to
provide opportunities to students
they may have not otherwise been
able to provide.
But prior to being appointed as
college presidents, Dr. Berenecea
Johnson Eanes, the president of York
College; Dr. Christine Mangino, the
president-designate of Queensborough
of the United States of America. Our culture has influenced the life of Americans with our traditions, our music, our food, our religion, our artwork, and most
of all our people. Italians have become judges, politicians, businessmen, community leaders, teachers, artists, professors and homemakers. АІІ Americans
Owe а debt of gratitude to the over 1.5 million Italian-Americans who served in our armed forces during WWII. We have acclimated to the American way of
life and our parents and grandparents have taught us to take pride of being Italian but always remember we are American.
For We ltalian-Americans, Columbus is and will always bе the person who was the "First Immigrant". millions of our Italian ancestors came here seeking а better
way of life due to "One Man" who gave them the courage to соmе and help build this Great Nation.
Our Group, Friends of Columbus а united group of ltalo-American societies has formed to respond and refute the attacks and acts of criminal vandalism of Columbus statues here in New
York. We must challenge the attempts to remove his likeness, slander his name and essentially vacate his memory based on false allegations. Primary source documents and first hand
accounts highlight the notable accomplishments of Columbus as an Italian explorer, navigator and deeply religious personage. Columbus day is celebrated as а day to honor Italian Heritage
and it must not bе simply erased to appease to those who have been duped bу historical revisionists who have lied about him to sell books.
We ask all within our Italian-American community to stand with us and be proud of our heritage, our culture, our religion and yes Christopher Columbus. We also request our American
colleagues join with us in preserving our shared culture, American way of life, our futures, and our great country, the United States of America.
Community College; Frank
Wu, the president of Queens College;
and Kenneth Adams, the presidentdesignate
of LaGuardia Community
College, each had interesting careers
that led them to their current roles
in university leadership.
For Dr. Johnson Eanes, becoming
the president of a college had always
been a something she hoped to do.
Years ago, she told a friend that she
would one day hold the leadership
“This has been a dream of mine for
a very long time, for these kinds of
students, at this kind of institution,”
Johnson Eanes said.
The York College president has
spent the past 25 years working in
higher education, most recently
serving as the vice president of student
affairs at Cal State Fullerton.
While Johnson Eanes seemed to
be on the path towards a college
president role, her new colleague,
Wu, said he never saw himself in
his new role.
“In some ways, I’m an improbable
college president,” Wu said. “It’s not
something I ever thought I’d ever
The Queens College president
began his career as a lawyer but
soon decided he was more passionate
about teaching and learning.
He became a professor at Howard
University, then joined the board
of trustees at Gallaudet University,
a school for the deaf and hard of
hearing. He also served as the dean
of the law school at Wayne State and
the chancellor of the University of
California Hastings College of the
Dr. Christine Mangino, Kenneth Adams, Frank Wu and Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes were all recently appointed
as presidents of CUNY colleges in Queens. Photo via YouTube/Schneps Media
But when the opportunity to serve
as Queens College’s president came
along, Wu knew what to do.
“I didn’t want to be a college
president,” Wu said. “I wanted to
be the college president of Queens
College, because of the diversity and
Like Johnson Eanes and Wu, Dr.
Mangino had long had a passion for
Originally getting a degree in
hotel management, Mangino went
back to school to earn a degree in
elementary education and English.
From there, the soon-to-be president
of Queensborough Community College
spent 16 years with Hostos Community
College, serving in various
roles, including as the vice president
of academic affairs.
In her new role, Mangino sees an
institution that carries on her educational
“Queensborough excited me because
they have the same passion for
academics,” Mangino said. “We’re going
to do some really exciting things
Kenneth Adams, who will soon
begin to serve as LaGuardia Community
College’s president, has spent a
majority of his career focused on
economic development, which isn’t
the “traditional background” of a
However, when serving as the
commissioner of the New York
State Department of Economic
Development, Adams worked closely
with the presidents of CUNY and
SUNY schools. He saw that state and
city schools were serving an incredibly
valuable economic role for both
its students and its community.
“I had this obsession with CUNY as
a real driver of economic mobility
and opportunity,” Adams said.
Adams left the Cuomo administration
to work as the dean of workforce
and economic development at Bronx
Community College, where he’ll
continue to work until taking a seat
at the top of LaGuardia Community
College in August.
But becoming the leader of a major
institution during the COVID-19 crisis
will have its challenges.
“I don’t think anyone planned it
quite this way,” Adams said.
For all four presidents, the focus
of the fall will be providing a quality
education and a vibrant student life
through an online platform.
The vast majority of classes will be
exclusively online at CUNY colleges,
with handful of courses taught in a
hybrid format, with most instruction
online and some instruction taught
LaGuardia Community College’s
nursing program is one of its largest
academic programs. Students
enrolled in the program require
access to equipment that can only
be utilized in person.
“We have occupational training
programs where we do as much as
we can online, but at the end of the
day, some of the instruction has to be
in-person because of equipment and
access to labs,” Adams said.
But for all four presidents, the
challenges of running a school online
stretches beyond instruction.
“The spring semester was really
about survival, but now we need to
make sure that students have a connection
to the college, the faculty,
and are able to create friendships
with other students,” Mangino said.
At Queens College, Wu and his
team found a way to replicate the
fanfare of the first day of school
by purchasing virtual confetti for
99 cents — a cheaper alternative to
the confetti gun the school typically
uses to welcome its students.
Johnson Eanes said her school will
focus on the trauma her students
and faculty face.
“First and foremost, we have to
acknowledge the amount of grief
and trauma,” she said.
Despite the hardships of being
forced to change the way in which
college instruction is taught, Wu,
Adams, Mangino and Johnson
Eanes see the challenge as a great
“There is nowhere but forward. We
can’t go back,” Johnson Eanes said. “I
think we have a fantastic opportunity
at York and we’re ready.”
1- Giovanni Silvagni – VP ACINY
2- Joseph Baretta – Societa Di Polizzi Generosa
3- Domenick Giampapa – VP Inter Soccer Club NY
4- Pat Gravino – Queens County Columbian Lawyers
Association (President at the time of the photo)
5- Frank Palmieri – B. O. D. Queensboro UNICO
6- Gaspare Mistretta – President Queensboro UNICO
7- Vincenzo Armano – President Societa Di Polizzi Generosa
8- Michael Addeo – Mt Carmel Brooklyn San Paolino Di Nola
9- Cav . Tony Mule – President Concordia di Partanna
10- Ignazio Terranova – Democratic community leader, Polizzi
11- Honorable Senator Serf Maltese
12- Cav. Tony Di Piazza – Chairman ACINY , VP Palermo Calcio
13- John Di Gangi – Chairman Societa Di Polizzi Generosa
14- Jospeh DiPietro – Astoria Italian community
15- Frank Alesci President of Societa di Bisaquino Ridgewood
(pictured in second photo)