Queens College is old enough that generations of
our graduates have influenced our city, our nation, and our world, and yet it
is young enough that members of our earliest classes still return to campus
each year to take part in the college’s Commencement and Homecoming
When these early graduates return to campus, they
remark on how much things have changed: the great diversity of the student
body, computers and smartphones everywhere, a beautiful new library and clock
tower, and a 13-floor building that flies in the face of Mayor Fiorello
LaGuardia’s advice to our students on Dedication Day 80 years ago: “Keep your
buildings low and your ideals high.” Our ideals, of course, are still high.
But one thing has not changed: the quality of our hardworking students, many of
whom are the first in their family to receive a college education.
Queens College was founded on the vision of
people like Mayor LaGuardia, Judge Charles Colden, who lobbied for a public
college in the borough, and the college’s first president, Paul Klapper, who
noted on the first day of classes on October 11, 1937, that “We are the
pioneers of a new institution. We have no history to look back to, but we can
look forward to progress.”
And what progress the college has made! Every
year we are featured in the Princeton Review’s The Best Colleges
guidebook. The Education Trust recently cited us as one of only five U.S.
colleges that do a commendable job of educating low-income students,
something we are immensely proud of. We have earned these accolades because of
the quality of our faculty and our unwavering commitment to providing a
rigorous and broad education to our students.
Queens College has become great because of our
graduates. Their accomplishments are the best advertisement for the quality of
the college, and so many of their names are now a permanent part of the campus,
such as the Kupferberg Performing Arts Center, Frese Hall, Goldstein Theatre,
Cooperman Plaza, Barham Rotunda, and more.
Now as we celebrate our 80th Anniversary, I
invite everyone—students, faculty, alumni, staff, neighbors, and friends—to
come celebrate with us.
I look forward to seeing you on campus this year.
President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez