New CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodríguez Names Top-Level Appointments on First Day!

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Dear Commons Community,

Felix Matos Rodriguez on his first day as the New CUNY chancellor announced five senior appointments.

Below is the official announcement from his office.



May 1, 2019

Newly appointed CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez opened his tenure today by announcing five appointments, each of whom already can claim a strong record of service to the University. The positions include an interim president for Queens College, a post necessitated by Dr. Matos Rodríguez’s departure; and an interim president for the CUNY Graduate Center, a position that will be vacated later this year with the departure of current Interim President Joy Connolly. Chancellor Matos Rodríguez also named an executive vice chancellor and university provost, a senior vice chancellor for institutional affairs, strategic advancement and special counsel, and a vice chancellor to oversee communications and marketing.

All five appointments are pending confirmation by the University’s Board of Trustees in their May and June meetings.

“Just as we ultimately chose our new Chancellor from within the ranks of the University, it comes as no surprise to see that his first appointments involve individuals who also bring a distinguished record of service to CUNY,” said William C. Thompson Jr., Chair of the CUNY Board of Trustees. “Three of these driven, highly qualified individuals will serve in the administration of Chancellor Matos Rodríguez, helping to ensure his success out of the gate, and two will help to maintain strong leadership at Queens College and the Graduate Center.”

“I am pleased to be able to welcome five highly accomplished professionals to fill key roles in the University, though none of them will need much of an introduction within the CUNY community,” said Chancellor Matos Rodríguez. “Their résumés show the breadth, depth and overall quality of their contributions to their fields, and much of that work has already been to the benefit of CUNY and its students.”

José Luis Cruz has been appointed executive vice chancellor and university provost effective July 1. Vita Rabinowitz will serve as interim university provost until June 30 following her dedicated leadership as CUNY interim chancellor for the last 11 months. Dr. Rabinowitz was previously executive vice chancellor and university provost. Dr. Cruz, an electrical engineer and education policy expert, is the current president of Herbert H. Lehman College in the Bronx. President Cruz has enhanced Lehman’s national reputation as an engine of opportunity and made great strides toward becoming the top contributor to educational attainment in the Bronx. A leading advocate for policies to expand opportunities and improve educational outcomes for all students, Dr. Cruz has served as provost of California State University, Fullerton; vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C., and vice president of student affairs for the University of Puerto Rico system. He began his career as a faculty member in engineering at the UPR-Mayagüez, rising through the ranks and serving as chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and dean of academic affairs. Dr. Cruz serves on the board of directors of The Education Trust, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the New York Botanical Garden and the Regional Plan Association. President Cruz is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as well as a National Science Foundation Career Award recipient. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (magna cum laude) from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, and a master’s and doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Glenda Grace has been appointed senior vice chancellor for institutional affairs, strategic advancement and special counsel, effective May 1. She most recently worked at Queens College, where she served as General Counsel and Chief of Staff. Her office provided legal advice and guidance to the college’s academic and administrative departments, offices and related entities. She was responsible for labor relations with faculty and other instructional and administrative staff under CUNY bylaws, policies and collective bargaining agreements, and she served as chief ethics officer. Previously, Ms. Grace was Executive Counsel to the President and Labor Designee at Hostos Community College; Visiting Assistant Professor at Hofstra University School of Law; Special Counsel to the Office of Capital Defender, and Litigation Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. She began her career as a clerk for the Honorable U.W. Clemon, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama. Ms. Grace holds a B.A. and a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.

Maite Junco has been appointed vice chancellor for communications and marketing, effective May 1. Most recently, she was director of communications for New York City Public Advocate Letitia James’ historic winning campaign for New York State Attorney General. Prior, Ms. Junco worked at the New York City Department of Education as senior advisor to the chancellor and led the Office of Communications and External Affairs, overseeing marketing, digital communications, intergovernmental affairs and translation services for the nation’s largest public school system. Ms. Junco previously worked for more than 20 years as a journalist including a year at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where she was editor of Voices of NY. She spent 15 years as an editor in the New York Daily News, the last of them as managing editor for Hispanic Publications, a role in which she oversaw Viva, an English-language weekly section on Latin culture, trends and issues. Ms. Junco also covered religion and immigration as a beat reporter at Bloomberg News. She began her career as a TV producer for Channel 24, an all-news station in San Juan, Puerto Rico; after moving to New York in 1989, she was assistant editor at El Diario-La Prensa and later worked in the campaigns of President Bill Clinton, Mayor David Dinkins and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. Ms. Junco has a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

William Tramontano has been appointed Interim President of Queens College, effective June 1. He is currently serving as senior advisor to the president for student success and strategic initiatives at Hunter College. In that capacity, he works closely with Academic Affairs on raising retention and graduation rates, and oversees student success initiatives including efforts to improve course availability, strengthen student engagement and bolster postgraduate outcomes. Previously, Dr. Tramontano spent a decade as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Brooklyn College, where he led a successful effort to improve graduation rates and led the establishment of a five-school structure, the expansion of the faculty, the creation of the Feinstein Graduate School of Cinema and the accreditation of the business school. His tenure there was preceded by five years of service at Lehman College, where he was acting provost and dean of natural and social sciences. A cellular biologist, Dr. Tramontano graduated from Manhattan College and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from New York University. He returned to Manhattan College to teach and spent 22 years on the college’s biology faculty, including 14 years as department chair. Tramontano has served on CUNY’s Conflicts of Interest Committee and chaired the CUNY Council of Provosts’ Academic Policy Committee.

James Muyskens has been appointed interim president of the CUNY Graduate Center, effective July 1. Dr. Muyskens, a philosopher, served as president of Queens College for 12 years and, in 2014, returned to teaching at the Graduate Center and Hunter College. At Queens College, he was credited with raising the school’s stature and reputation as a top-value college that excelled in serving low-income students and promoting interactions between students of different class, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Muyskens undertook an updating of the college’s undergraduate general education curriculum and oversaw a raft of improvements and additions to the physical plant. Dr. Muyskens, a graduate of Central College in Iowa, earned a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan. He began his career at Hunter College, rising from assistant professor to professor of philosophy. He served as chair of Hunter’s Department of Philosophy and as associate provost and acting provost. He spent seven years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas before serving as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs of the 34-campus University System of Georgia.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 24 MacArthur (“Genius”) grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields.  The University comprises 25 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.


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