CUNY assistant vice chancellor departs



Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, Editor-In-Chief

Former CUNY Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Inclusion Initiatives Christopher Rosa was appointed as the next president and CEO of The Viscardi Center, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

The Viscardi Center is a network of non-profit organizations that work to enhance the lives of people with disabilities through equal access to education and employment opportunities. Rosa has been a member of the Henry Viscardi School Board of Trustees since 2017.

Rosa has been a wheelchair-user since age 12 and has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. His personal experience with The Viscardi Center was a contributing factor in his excitement about assuming his new position.

“As a lifelong New Yorker with a disability, The Viscardi Center has always loomed large in the formation of my disability rights consciousness and identity,” Rosa said in a press release. “The prospect of serving as the leader of this historic organization is, at once, humbling and thrilling!”

CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodríguez expressed CUNY’s gratitude for Rosa’s contributions throughout his time in the CUNY system in a statement.

“There are few who have been more committed to expanding educational access for CUNY’s most vulnerable students than Dr. Christopher Rosa,” he wrote. “In more than 30 years of service to CUNY — and going back to his days as a student at Queens College — Chris established and oversaw a long line of programs.”

Throughout his time with CUNY, Rosa contributed to CUNY in a variety of ways.

He served as the interim vice chancellor for student affairs, the assistant dean for student affairs and the central office’s director of student affairs. He also worked for 11 years in student affairs at his alma mater, Queens College.

“CUNY will miss Chris, but he will always be part of the CUNY family and his impact on our community will continue in the initiatives he created and championed,” Matos Rodríguez said.

Rosa is renowned for his nationally recognized work on behalf of inclusive higher education opportunities for students with disabilities.

He secured more than $12 million in external funding to support efforts for students with disabilities including the acclaimed CUNY LEADS program, which transitions CUNY graduates with disabilities to competitive employment at more than twice the national average.

He also established the model inclusive higher education programs for students with intellectual disabilities at CUNY.

CUNY reiterated its support for Rosa through a post on social media.

“A big thank you and best wishes to Dr. Christopher Rosa!” a CUNY tweet read. “@ChancellorCUNY celebrates the enduring legacy of this stalwart assistant vice chancellor who announced his departure this week.”

The tweet was accompanied by a link to Matos Rodríguez’s statement.