Learn about our innovative academic programs, successful business initiatives, award-winning faculty and our hard-working students.
Highlights of LaGuardia Community College coverage in The New York Times.
Destina Garcia, a community health worker with Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, on her way to a home visit with a client in the Bronx. Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
Destina Garcia, a community health worker at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, recently completed a new Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program at LaGuardia Community College. The program is a partnership between LaGuardia, NYC Department of Small Business Services through the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, the Training Fund, and the 1199SEIU UHWE Funds.
… “Using apprenticeships, the program trains people to become community health workers… Gail Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College, says programs like Destina Garcia’s apprenticeship create a career ladder for low-income workers by bringing the college, union and employer together.
… Ms. Garcia completed her apprenticeship in June and has continued on with Bronx-Lebanon as a community health worker. She is also a member of 1199 S.E.I.U. and plans to use union-funded tuition assistance to pursue a bachelor’s in social work at the Lehman campus of CUNY…”
Read the full article: Apprentices Need Expert Eye. So Does Trump’s Plan for Them
Long Island City, NY (September 5, 2017)—The Dreamers are our students, our neighbors. The President’s decision to end DACA creates unnecessary insecurity and runs contrary to our history as a nation built by immigrants.
At campuses across the nation, Dreamers rely on DACA to work, to pay for school, to build a better life for themselves and their families.
We want all LaGuardia Community College students to know that we’re dedicated to ensuring a safe, secure, and welcoming learning environment, where their privacy and human rights are protected.
At Immigrant Support our students can obtain up-to-date information and learn where they, and their family members, can get immigration advice and support.
The doors of higher education are and will remain open to all at LaGuardia Community College. We stand ready to help any student pursue their educational and career dreams.
As echoed by the Chancellor’s message, and by college leaders around the country, I strongly urge Congress and the courts to overturn today’s calamitous decision by President Trump. We owe it to our students and our neighbors to protect and retain DACA, which is vital to our country’s values and communities.
Kelsey Wroten - New York Times
“You might think the typical college student lives in a state of bliss, spending each day moving among classes, parties and extracurricular activities. But the reality is that an increasingly small population of undergraduates enjoys that kind of life. Of the country’s nearly 18 million undergraduates, more than 40 percent go to community college, and of those, only 62 percent can afford to go to college full-time. By contrast, a mere 0.4 percent of students in the United States attend one of the Ivies. The typical student is not the one burnishing a fancy résumé with numerous unpaid internships. It’s just the opposite: Over half of all undergraduates live at home to make their degrees more affordable, and a shocking 40 percent of students work at least 30 hours a week. About 25 percent work full-time and go to school full-time.… … At LaGuardia Community College in New York, where I am president, 77 percent of students live in households making less than $25,000 per year.… … Community colleges need increased funding, and students need access to more flexible federal and state financial aid, enhanced paid internships and college work-study programs. Improved access to public supports, like food stamps and reduced public transportation fares, would also make a world of difference.…”
To read the full article visit The New York Times website. Or you can download a PDF of the complete essay.
Long Island City, NY—New Yorker reporter Lauren Collins wrote about high-achieving LaGuardia students who went to Paris this summer. Six engineering & environmental study students were among 17 community college scholars selected from across the US to go to France as a part of a novel program called Community College Abroad in France. The unique program was spearheaded by the Cultural and Scientific Services of the French Embassy, in partnership with Community Colleges for International Development and the n+i network (a network of 50 top engineering schools in France).
For many of the students, it was their first time in Europe and first-ever visit to Paris.
The outstanding students had opportunities to observe the city’s initiatives on sustainable development, learned about French culture, and about professional opportunities and engineering studies in France.
Read the full article: Community College in Paris
Long Island City, NY (July 27, 2017)—The article reviews the powerful and numerous benefits of LaGuardia Community College’s new LaGuardia TechHire – Open Code program, which helps young unemployed or underemployed New Yorkers get trained to work in the fast-growing tech industry where average salaries start at more than $60,000 per year.
Funded by a three-year $3.9 million federal grant to LaGuardia from the U.S. Department of Labor, LaGuardia TechHire – Open Code provides free training to New Yorkers between the ages of 17 and 29. Most don’t have a college degree.
It’s written by Michele Valdez, LaGuardia’s director of technology training initiatives in the Division of Continuing Education. Ms. Valdez oversees LaGuardia’s LaGuardia TechHire – Open Code, which recently celebrated the graduation of 18 students from the programs first-ever cohort.
Learn more about LaGuardia TechHire – Open Code.
Employers interesting in getting involved should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long Island City, NY (July 20, 2017)—Following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent announcement of $17 million in capital funds to redesign the three-way intersection of Queens Boulevard, Thomson Avenue, and Van Dam Street in front of LaGuardia Community College to improve the area’s safety, LaGuardia President Gail O. Mellow and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer co-authored an opinion essay to urge the mayor and his team to keep the focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety when planning the redesign. They urge him to oppose any effort to widen lane widths, which encourage vehicles to drive faster, and support the widening of sidewalks in front of LaGuardia to better accommodate the thousands of people going in and out of the college and nearby schools.
Read full article: In the Fight to Realize Vision Zero, an intersection we can’t ignore
Long Island City, NY—This video features archival footage from the first Queens Pride Parade in 1993. It is one piece of the exhibit The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens, which was created for the Queens Museum in 2017. The LaGuardia and Wagner Archives worked closely with Council Member Daniel Dromm and Maritza Martinez, who co-founded the parade. Council Member Dromm recently donated his extensive collection on LGBTQ history in Queens to the archives. Funding for the program came from the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation.
To watch the video, click here
The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens: June 10 to July 30, 2017 Draws from records of City Council Member Daniel Dromm who co-founded Queens Pride, and explores how the 1990 hate crime murder of Julio Rivera impacted the LGBTQ movement in Queens —Presented by the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College—
A museum visitor examines The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens exhibition at the Queens Museum (credit: LaGuardia Community College).
Queens, NY (June 12, 2017)—Marking the 25th anniversary of the Queens Pride Parade, a new multimedia exhibition at the Queens Museum spotlights the largely unknown history of LGBTQ activism in Queens from the 1990s to the present. The exhibition runs through July 30 and is located in the Museum’s famed Panorama Room. The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens, draws largely from the Collection of Queens City Council Member Daniel Dromm, recently acquired by the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College, which is presenting the exhibit.
This exhibition curated by LaGuardia commercial photography faculty Thierry Gourjon and Javier Larenas, and by LaGuardia’s Gardiner-Shenker Student Scholars, marks the first-ever showing of materials from the Dromm Collection. The exhibition’s title celebrates lavender as both a symbol of the original gay liberation movement and the color of a line marking the Queens Pride Parade route in Jackson Heights.
Following a series of anti-gay incidents in the early 1990s, including the brutal murder of Julio Rivera, and controversy over references to same-sex couples in the Children of the Rainbow Curriculum, Dromm and fellow activist Maritza Martinez co-founded the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee, Inc., known as Queens Pride. One of their first acts was to organize a march to take their advocacy to the streets. The first Queens Pride Parade in 1993 drew 1,000 marchers. Today it’s an annual tradition that attracts crowds of over 40,000, and draws support of politicians and corporate sponsors.
With both historical and contemporary work, The Lavender Line comprises photographs, flyers, video footage, and audio recollections, illustrating the pride and protests of a community unknown to most New Yorkers. The title celebrates lavender not only as a symbol of the original gay liberation movement but also as the color of the line painted on the Queens Pride Parade route along 37th Avenue, from 89th Street to 75th Street.
The contemporary photographs in the exhibition by LaGuardia’s Gardiner-Shenker Student Scholars chronicle a range of Queens LGBTQ social organizations and cultural institutions. These include centers that offer social and counseling services as well as bars that function as leisure and entertainment spaces. What results is a representation of struggle and pride that continues today.
“Queens has its own unique lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history and people should know about it,” said NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm (D - Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). "We didn’t just one day wake up and have same sex marriage. It’s been a long struggle for LGBT acceptance especially in the borough once known for being the home of Archie Bunker. This exhibition highlights a dynamic period in the history of the Queens LGBT rights movement. The anti-gay murder of Julio Rivera and the battle over the Children of the Rainbow Curriculum are Queens’ equivalent of the Stonewall Rebellion.”
Through his work on Queens Pride, Dromm came out publicly as gay. Dromm, who at the time was a public school elementary teacher in Queens, was called before a school board disciplinary hearing where he was "ordered never to discuss his homosexuality with his fourth-grade students.” He stood firm and refused to be silenced; this activism helped seed his decision to leave teaching for public office.
City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer contributed materials from his personal archives to The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens. Van Bramer, then a student at St John’s University, drew attention in the 1990s for his activism work encouraging members of the LGBTQ community to stand proud and in public, and for raising awareness of the AIDS epidemic and bias crimes.
“For far too long, the stories, experiences, trials, and victories of the LGBTQ movement in our country and in Queens have often gone untold,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “The history of the LGBTQ movement in Queens is a deeply human story of ordinary people fighting for the right to openly and freely love without fear. I’m thankful and honored for the opportunity to contribute personal pieces to the new Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens exhibition at the Queens Museum.”
"The Queens Museum is very proud to be a part of the celebration of such an important milestone for the history of LGBTQAI advocacy and rights. Our involvement exemplifies our commitment to the communities that find a home here at the Museum, and our desire to address with urgency the factors that threaten freedom and diversity," said Laura Raicovich, Executive Director of the Queens Museum.
“Most New Yorkers don’t know that Queens was the first outer borough to publicly support gay rights by holding a parade. We developed this exhibition to share the remarkable stories of LGBTQ activism in Queens, which have been largely absent from the historical narrative,” said Richard Lieberman, PhD, professor of history and director of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives. “It’s an incredible story of activism in the face of tremendous opposition.”
“This is an important exhibition to both the history of New York City and the story of LGBTQ activism in Queens, and we’re enormously proud of the work of our faculty, staff, and students that went into creating it,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “The opportunity for our students to learn valuable research and curatorial skills, while working on this significant exhibition, is sure to benefit their professional careers. And it showcases our LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, the only archives of its kind to document NYC’s social and political history.”
Honored guests at the opening reception for The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens on Friday, June 9, 2017 (credit: LaGuardia Community College).
“The project gave me an excellent opportunity to get to know the Queens LGBTQ community,” said Jham Valenzuela, a LaGuardia student who worked on the exhibition. “And as a gay man, this project was deeply fulfilling to me on a personal level.”
NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray shakes hands with Jham Valenzuela, one of the LaGuardia Community College Gardiner-Shenker student scholars who worked on the exhibit (credit: LaGuardia Community College).
“I am proud to have contributed my papers and artifacts from the last 25 years to help create this commemoration. I thank the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College and the Queens Museum for producing this extremely important display,” added Dromm.
To capture additional information about the LGBTQ movement in Queens from the 1990s to today, the Queens Memory project at the Queens Library conducted interviews with members of the Queens LGBTQ community and will encourage The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens visitors to use their mobile app to contribute their memories. Additionally, an audio booth will be set up at the Museum where visitors can contribute their memories of this period to this archival collection.
To supplement the Queens Pride celebrations, the Queens Museum will screen Julio of Jackson Heights, a documentary about Julio Rivera’s murder, on June 18.
After the conclusion of the exhibition at the Queens Museum, The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens will travel to all five CUNY campuses in Queens, dates TBD.
The exhibition is made possible through generous support from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, and the New York City Council through the office of Daniel Dromm.
About the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College The LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, established in 1982, serves as a repository for NYC’s social and political history, which includes the largest collection of New York City mayoral papers. Archive records include the personal papers and official documents of Mayors Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Robert F. Wagner, Abraham D. Beame and Edward I. Koch, the records of the New York City Housing Authority, the piano maker Steinway & Sons, The Council of the City of New York and a Queens Local History Collection. Assets from these collections are regularly referenced in news stories, and studied by journalists, policy makers, and other researchers. The Archives regularly produces public programs exploring its collections, including an annual calendar produced in partnership with The New York Times and the City University of New York. Each year, the calendar is devoted to a theme of importance to the Greater New York Metropolitan area. The 2017 calendar is devoted to housing in NYC. Click here to learn more.
About LaGuardia Community College LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, educates more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle Dare To Do More reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all US college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become. Visit www.LaGuardia.edu to learn more. Or on Twitter at @LaGuardiaLIC.
About the Queens Museum The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park features contemporary art, events of hyperlocal and international impact, and educational programs reflecting the diversity of Queens and New York City. Changing exhibitions present the work of emerging and established artists, both local and global, that often explore contemporary social issues, as well as the rich history of its site. In November 2013, the Museum reopened with an expanded footprint of 105,000 square feet, a soaring skylit atrium, a suite of daylight galleries, nine artist studios, and flexible event space. The Museum works outside its walls through engagement initiatives ranging from multilingual outreach and educational opportunities for adult immigrants, to a plethora of community led art and activism projects. The Museum's educational programming connects with schoolchildren, teens, families, seniors as well as those individuals with physical and mental disabilities. The Queens Museum is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Visit www.queensmuseum.org. On Twitter at @queensmuseum.
About the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, established in 1987, primarily supports the study of New York State history. Robert David Lion Gardiner was, until his death in August 2004, the 16th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner’s Island, NY. The Gardiner family and their descendants have owned Gardiner’s Island since 1639, obtained as part of a royal grant from King Charles I of England. The Foundation is inspired by Robert David Lion Gardiner’s personal passion for New York history.
The purpose of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation is:
• To educate and inform the general public in the State of New York, particularly in the area of the Town of Islip and more generally in Suffolk County, concerning the culture, art and tradition of the locality; • To cultivate, foster and promote interest in, and understanding and appreciation of the societal heritage of Town of Islip, particularly during the nineteenth century; • To encourage and sponsor the creation and perpetuation by existing and future historical societies of collections and repositories for the deposit, collection and examination of documents and artifacts of various kinds relevant to such heritage and traditions; and • To sponsor and encourage the preservation, restoration and exhibition by existing and future historical societies of at least one facility appropriate to such purpose.
The LavenderLine: Coming Out in Queens
What: Marking the 25th anniversary of Queens Pride Parade is a new multimedia exhibition at the Queens Museum that spotlights the largely unknown history of LGBTQ activism in Queens from the 1990s to the present.
The exhibition explores the impact of the 1990 hate crime murder of Julio Rivera, and the blocked “Children of the Rainbow” curriculum, on the LGBTQ movement in Queens. The exhibition draws from records of City Council Member Daniel Dromm who co-founded Queens Pride, and from the personal archives of City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.
Why: While Manhattan is well-recognized as the birthplace of NYC’s LGBTQ movement, the remarkable stories of LGBTQ activism in Queens are largely absent from the historical narrative. It's an incredible story of activism in the face of tremendous opposition, and helped motivate Council Member Danny Dromm's career shift from teaching to public office.
The New York region has the highest number of people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, nationwide. A recent survey found that nearly 800,000 New Yorkers identify as LGBTQ.
Who: Curated by LaGuardia Community College/CUNY commercial photography faculty, as well as by LaGuardia students, the exhibition uses photographs, flyers, video footage, and audio recollections to illuminate the pride and protests of a community unknown to most New Yorkers.
Coming Out in Queens is made possible through the generous support of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, LaGuardia Community College/CUNY, and the New York City Council, through the office of Daniel Dromm.
Where: Queens Museum, Panorama Room
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Corona, NY 11368
When: June 10 through July 30, during museum hrs: Wednesday—Sunday 11AM-5PM
LaGuardia Community College Marks Largest-Ever Graduating Class of 1,700+!
#BLACKLIVESMATTER Co-Founder Alicia Garza Gave Keynote at College’s 45th Commencement!
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (June 8, 2017)—Earlier today, the largest graduating class in the history of LaGuardia Community College—1,735—celebrated earning their associate’s degrees at the college’s 2017 Commencement. The ceremony, which marked the 45th graduation for the college, a member of the City University of New York (CUNY), had an audience of over 10,000 family members and friends of the graduates, college faculty and staff, CUNY Trustees, elected officials, and invited guests. The event was held at Barclays Center.
“LaGuardia graduates are what our city and nation need to thrive! Because our students overwhelmingly come from low-income, recent immigrant, or other disadvantaged backgrounds, earning their associate’s is an incredible accomplishment,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “And the grit that many have shown—learning English, juggling work, raising young children, and dealing with other obstacles along the way, often with optimism, humor, and perseverance—is sure to serve them well in a senior college or in the job market. These 2017 graduates represent our greatest achievement.”
Co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Alicia Garza, gave the keynote address. Lorelei Salas, JD, commissioner of NYC’s Department of Consumer Affairs, gave the alumni speech. Commissioner Salas is a 1993 graduate of LaGuardia.
“LaGuardia Community College graduates represent just about every possible background—every color and culture, every faith and walk of life. I was pleased and honored to have delivered the 2017 Commencement keynote today,” said Garza, who will receive the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s international peace prize, later this year. “The world needs the best and the brightest thinkers, strategists, and tech gurus, to build the world that we want to see. A world where all lives matter.”
“My presence at today’s graduation is proof that LaGuardia creates opportunities for those with perseverance and intellect,” said Commissioner Salas.
The 2017 Class Speech was given by Remy Patrick Lavilla, age 19, who moved to the United States in 2015 after Typhoon Haiyan devastated his hometown in The Philippines. He received his associate's in accounting; this fall he’ll begin pursuing his bachelor’s in economics at Columbia University. During his time at LaGuardia, he was awarded numerous awards and honors, including ThinkGeek’s National Collegiate Honors Council ThinkGeek Innovation for Tomorrow Award. At LaGuardia, Lavilla was a President’s Society Ambassador, a member of both the Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa. He managed his many on-campus activities while consistently making the Dean’s List; maintaining a 3.9 GPA.
“I thank the professors at LaGuardia for making learning our passion, for instilling in us the hunger for knowledge, and the passion to learn,” said Lavilla. “Today, we became LaGuardia alums and I encourage my fellow Class 2017 graduates to continue to fight against stereotypes about community college students. We are the ultimate measure of the success of community colleges!”
Among the oldest graduates is Verdia Hart, 72-years-old, a retired African-American woman who’s traveled to NYC from her home in Columbia, South Carolina, to pick up her associate’s degree. After raising her six children, all of whom will be in the audience, and helping with her 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Mrs. Hart is fulfilling her life-long goal of earning her college degree. Next step, a bachelor’s!
According to data about the 2017 graduates from LaGuardia’s registrar office, 48 percent are 25 years old or older, and 60 percent are female. Nearly 50 percent self-identify as Hispanic/Latino. The next largest student demographic is Asian, 23 percent; followed by 16 percent Black/African-American. Fifty-nine percent of graduates live in Queens, while 18 percent live in Brooklyn. The top three majors of the class of 2017 were: Business Administration, Liberal Arts: Social Science & Humanities, and Criminal Justice. To download a print-ready infographic about LaGuardia’s Class of 2017, click here.
Jonathan Morales, one of three LaGuardia honors program students selected for the prestigious and generous Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which provides up to $40,000 a year towards their bachelor’s, will graduate. He dropped out of high school and worked as a carpenter for several years before finding his way to LaGuardia. This fall he’ll start pursuing his bachelor’s at Stanford University.
Mahmudur Rahman, a Bengali-American from Jamaica, Queens, transferred to LaGuardia after two years at a SUNY college. He earned his associate’s in business administration, and plans to pursue his bachelor’s at Brooklyn College. “LaGuardia created a space where I could take chances exploring what most interests me, and because of LaGuardia’s open access admissions, I’ve met people from all walks of life,” said Rahman, who was a member of the first-ever cohort of President’s Society: Tech, an enrichment program for high-achieving students interested in the tech industry.
The LaGuardia Student Choir performed the Star Spangled Banner, arranged and conducted by LaGuardia Associate Professor of Music and Theater, Lisa DeSpain.
Click here for more information about LaGuardia’s 45th Annual Commencement.
To download a print-ready infographic about LaGuardia’s Class of 2017, click here.
To view/download commencement photos, click here.
LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, educates more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle Dare To Do More reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all US college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become. Visit www.LaGuardia.edu to learn more.