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CUNY names new presidents for the Graduate Center, Queens and Hostos

Courtesy of CUNY

Dr. Robin Garrell, vice provost for graduate education and graduate division dean at the University of California, Los Angeles, was chosen as president of the Graduate Center.

From Detroit, Michigan, Garrell has an academic background in biochemistry and engineering from Cornell University and the University of Michigan.

She was an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh until 1991 before joining the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA. There, she was on advisory boards for Chemical & Engineering News, Applied Spectroscopy and other scientific journals. As president of the Graduate Center, she will lead 3,500 students currently pursuing 31 types of doctoral degrees and 16 types of master’s programs. 

Garrell will begin her position as president of the Graduate Center on Aug 1.

“I am honored to be chosen to serve as the next president of the CUNY Graduate Center,” she said, citing its world-renowned scholarships and research. “I am excited to lead a center that serves as a national model for graduate education in an urban setting, preparing diverse students to become leaders in innovation, public service and research who will shape the city, region and nation for years to come.”

Frank Wu, the former chancellor of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, was chosen as president of Queens College.

Wu is the first Asian American to hold the presidency at Queens College and the second Asian American president of any CUNY, following last year’s appointment of Dr. S. David Wu as the next president of Baruch College.

He received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins and a J.D. with honors from the University of Michigan. Beginning on July 1, Frank Wu will preside over 20,000 students from over 150 countries.

“I am honored to be coming to Queens College, a campus that represents education as the engine of the American dream for individuals and families now more than ever,” he said. “I am here because my parents were immigrants who came as students … I look forward to working with the entire Queens College community at a time when it will be vital to be resilient—to come together and work together to meet the challenges ahead.”

Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis was chosen to become interim president of Hostos Community College. Currently the president of Naugatuck Valley Community College in Connecticut, Filippis is an alumna of Hostos and the CUNY Graduate Center. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, she also served as a professor of Spanish and Latin-American Literature at York College. 

De Filippis will begin her position as interim president of Hostos on Aug 1.

“My heart is filled with gratitude for the invitation to come home to CUNY and Hostos Community College,” she said. “Hostos is a bridge of opportunity over the Grand Concourse that gives hope to one of the nation’s poorest communities. For 50 years it has embraced the challenge of its mission of increasing access, equity and quality. I look forward to working with talented and innovative faculty and staff on behalf of students as we bounce back from COVID-19.”

CUNY Chairperson William Thompson Jr. expressed his excitement over the new presidents and the journeys they will be taking at their respective colleges.

“These are three outstanding leaders who bring not only exceptional credentials and deep experience, but the kind of diverse backgrounds and experiences that make them perfect choices for the nation’s largest public urban University,” he said. “Each of these accomplished educators has demonstrated a commitment to advancing opportunity for students and the vision to lead their campuses into the future as we emerge from the COVID-19 emergency and continue our pursuit of the University’s vital mission for the people of New York.”

Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez mirrored Thompson’s enthusiasm of the new appointees.

“Robin Garrell is a brilliant scientist with a track record of increasing diversity and inclusiveness among the ranks of graduate students. Frank Wu is a trailblazer in legal education who has broken barriers for Asian-Americans. And I am delighted to welcome back Daisy Cocco De Filippis, a pioneer in Dominican studies who had great success advancing opportunities for low-income students in Connecticut,” he said.

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