Alumni Peter Archer, retired Queens public school educator and consultant on the 2020 Disney Pixar Academy Award-winning movie Soul, and Robert Jacobs, health care executive and philanthropist, to be recognized–

85th Anniversary Logo

Flushing, New York, October 11, 2022—On Wednesday, October 12, Queens College President Frank H. Wu will preside over a celebration marking the 85th anniversary of the first day of classes at Queens College on October 11, 1937. Established with 400 students and 21 faculty members spread across nine buildings, the college was envisioned as a place where talented people of all backgrounds and financial means could receive a first-rate education. A daylong series of events for an invited audience will highlight the continuity of this mission.

“Our school’s first president, Paul Klapper, had a vision to make this a place where talented people of all backgrounds and financial means could receive a first-rate education,” says Queens College President Frank H. Wu. “President Klapper coined our school’s civic-oriented motto, ‘Discimus Ut Serviamus—we learn so that we may serve’ to inspire students to learn to provide for the common good. For 85 years, Queens College has stayed true to those ideals by offering a rigorous education in the liberal arts and sciences under the guidance of faculty dedicated to teaching, research and service. Our 85th anniversary is a time where we can look back in celebration of all that we have achieved and look ahead with confidence that our students will continue to become leading and valued members of our societies.”

A historical exhibition, Under Construction: 85 Years of Building Futures at Queens College, will debut to guests in the Barham Rotunda of Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library from 9 am to 5:30 pm. It illustrates the evolution of the college’s buildings, grounds, and leadership from the early days to the present. Included are a never-previously displayed 1915 photo album documenting the Parental School (the predecessor institution to Queens College); a refurbished model of the grounds circa 1937; and maps, images, and printed ephemera that document the campus and its activities throughout the decades.

Notable alumni Peter Archer ’85 and ‘87, and Robert Jacobs ‘70, will be recognized with the President’s Medal, the college’s highest administrative honor, during a program in LeFrak Concert Hall in the Aaron Copland School of Music, from 5:45 to 7:05 pm. Archer, a music teacher for more than 30 years at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Queens, served as a cultural consultant on the 2020 Disney Pixar Academy Award-winning movie Soul. Archer’s input helped pinpoint the aesthetic of the main character’s classroom and inform the emotional tug of balancing a passion for playing music and a love for teaching. Archer earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance and a Master of Science degree in Music Education from Queens College; for his doctorate from Boston University, he wrote a dissertation on the history of the Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music. Recently, Archer donated his collection of personal papers—including research documents, photographs, and mementos from his lengthy career as a musician, educator, and academic—to the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Archives.

Jacobs, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Economics from Queens College, is a former partner at Ernst & Young. He is currently the president of Health/ROI, a company he founded that provides revenue enhancement services for hospitals and health care facilities in the tri-state area. After reading how a donation former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made to his alma mater ensures that no accepted student will be unable to attend because of financial circumstances, Jacobs established a scholarship at Queens College to benefit students of academic merit who need financial assistance. Then, spurred on by touching letters of appreciation from his scholarship recipients, Jacobs—together with his Queens College Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity brothers—created an endowment fund that has so far provided 13 scholarships to deserving students and continues to grow with consistent gifts throughout the year.

The program will conclude with music students and faculty performing the works of two late professors, jazz legend Jimmy Heath and accomplished chamber music composer Leo Kraft.Invited speakers are City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Félix V Matos Rodríguez, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., CUNY Board of Trustees Vice Chairperson Sandra Wilkin, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (via video message), President of the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation Guillermo Linares, NYS Assembly Member Nily Rozic, NYC Council Member James Gennaro, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of Public Service Engagement Andrea Shapiro Davis ’81, Olympic Silver Medalist and Queens College Foundation Board Member Gail Marquis ‘80, and Queens College Student Association President Jamal Mark ‘23.

A reception with refreshments and live music will follow in the Music School Atrium, from 7:05 to 8 pm, where guests will view a slide presentation of college highlights (Queens College “Wows”) and a Then and Now exhibition.

About Queens CollegeQueens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college has been cited by Princeton Review as one of America’s Best Value Colleges for five consecutive years, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Visit our homepage to learn more​.

Maria Matteo

Media and College Relations