80 years of access to education: How Queens College provides opportunities for students to change the world

Dec. 8, 2017

Carmel Napolitano

In 2017, the barriers between low-income students and higher education grow greater each day–making the institutions that continue to fight to provide access to affordable higher education are more important than ever.

For 80 years Queens College as part of the City University of New York system has offered higher education to people of all backgrounds and financial means. The current student body represents over 170 countries and speaks over 10 languages.

With the motto of Discimu ut serviamus, translated as “We learn so that we may serve,” the connection between service and learning has always been a fundamental part of the Queens College educational mission and philosophy.

Queens College is a community of high standards and higher ambitions, and enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. Its reputation is acknowledged by high honors including its presence in The Princeton Review’s list of “America’s Best Value Colleges” every year, and being recently featured in U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges (2017 edition) as being among the top 10 public universities in its category. The college is home to over 100 clubs, and offers undergraduate degrees in 78 majors. Its accomplishments are many, but Queens College can be particularly proud of its students and alumni-base, all of whom enrich New York City and the world, and many who go on to make significant social change.

Just this week, Queens College alumnus and the Executive Director of United We Dream, Cristina Jimenez Moreta, was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Grant. The program is dedicated to selecting creators who have “shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction” and awarding them with $625,000 “as an investment in their potential,” paid to the recipients over five years.

During her time at Queens College, Cristina founded the Dream Mentorship Program, and went on to work with Make the Road, among other important advocacy organizations, after graduation. Since beginning as a founding board member of United We Dream, an organization focused on addressing the needs of immigrant youth and families, and later taking on the role of Executive Director, Cristina has been instrumental in pushing for progressive immigration policy and has helped to tell countless personal stories about what it means to be an immigrant.

Her education at Queens College helped to build a foundation for her life of advocacy and activism. At its heart, the college seeks to allow many more students like Cristina to achieve their goals, big and small, by making higher education, and all of the resources that come with it, more accessible.

The Queens College Foundation was formed in 1980 to provide more extensive educational opportunities to students, and services to faculty by increasing resources like scholarships and fellowships, in turn breaking down barriers. These scholarships and fellowships make it possible for more students from diverse backgrounds, and especially those who come from low-income backgrounds, to attend Queens College and receive both a comprehensive liberal arts education and important life experiences.

Now, the Foundation seeks a Major Gifts Officer who will engage with communities to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward large-scale gifts. The Major Gifts Officer will work with the development team to create and leverage strategies to increase giving to the Foundation to advance the mission of Queens College. Queens College seeks someone who is technologically savvy, passionate about access to higher education, and has experience in creatively reaching all levels of donors.

If you care about breaking accessibility barriers to make higher education more affordable for students in New York and around the world, and have professional working experience in a fundraising environment, Queens College might be a fit for you.

Please reach out to me directly if you have an interest or know of qualified candidates. To learn more about the role, visit the job description on the DRG website. Resumes and inquiries can be sent directly to me or to Queens-MGO@drgnyc.com.