York College (CUNY)

Brief Description:


York College - Founding Celebrations home

York College of the City University of New York (CUNY) was founded in 1966 and opened for its first cohort of students—all 371 of them—in rented spaces in the fall of 1967. The first commencement saw 150 graduate and all go on to successful careers in medicine, research, education and law (one is a member of the Queens, N.Y. Supreme Court). To date, York has graduated more than 27,000 students.

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Mission Statement:


York College logo
York College enriches lives and enables students to grow as passionate learners with the confidence to realize their intellectual and human potential as individuals and global citizens.

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President's Quote:


"Over the decades, York College has grown from strength to strength,” said Dr. Marcia V. Keizs, president of York College since 2005. “Many of our students are the first in their families to pursue a college degree, overcoming inadequate academic preparation, family responsibilities and difficult financial circumstances. York has expanded its enrollment, proud of its role in embracing its students and supporting their success. York’s academic culture ensures they are nurtured in an atmosphere of high expectations, and they graduate well prepared for graduate study and/or the workforce.”

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Major Accomplishments:

  • Our partnership with the Northeastern Regional Laboratory of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on our campus has taken on deeper meaning with internship, research and job opportunities for our chemistry and biology majors, as well as for collaboration between FDA scientists and York faculty. Last fall, President Barack Obama’s FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, visited our campus and addressed students, faculty, community, and pharmaceutical scientists and executives from the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Collaboration between York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which provided initial funding to help establish the CUNY Aviation Institute at York College, has deepened. The institute recently graduated its second cohort of aviation business majors. Many of these graduates have already embarked on careers in their field or are pursuing advanced degrees.
  • Long known for its compelling story, York’s renewed effort to reconnect with alumni has been yielding not just donations, but fundraising is also on the rise. To this end, we recently received our first six-figure alumni donation—from Dr. Robert Champer, ’81, a retinal surgeon in Eugene, Ore.—who enrolled at York after a period of professional uncertainty. These relationships have also yielded mentorship, internship and job opportunities for our students, as well as recruitment of outstanding chemistry and biology majors to Brown University, where one of our alumni is a respected professor and researcher.

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Fun Facts:

York College students hail from more than 100 nations of birth, speaking more than 80 native languages.
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Notable Alumni:

  • Deborah Persaud, M.D. '81, is a pediatric AIDS researcher at Johns Hopkins University
  • Andrew Campbell, Ph.D. '81, is dean of the graduate school at Brown University and a professor of medical science. He recruits qualified students from York College for his program.
  • Angelo Gousse, M.D. '86, is a professor of urology and gynecology and surgeon in bladder health and reconstructive urology in Miramar, Fla.
  • George Grasso, '81, is a former first deputy police commissioner under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2002-13). He is currently a Criminal Court Justice whose policy of using counseling rather than jail to deal with young offenders is being adopted by district attorneys and justices across New York City.

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Testimonials:

  • "I have leveraged my experiences at York, both academic and personal, to stand tall in the world without fear, encountering success on many different levels, and in different forms. I am truly grateful to be a York College alum." — Jonathan Hubbard '10, Marketing Major

  • "Because York College is smaller, your professors know your face, know your work ethic, know your personality and are able to recommend you better." — Fiona Smith, M.D., '05, Jonas E. Salk Scholar

  • "York is an oasis in Jamaica, Queens, and I took full advantage of being in an urban paradise." — Mande Holford, Ph.D., '97, Professor of Chemistry at Hunter College, CUNY
  • "My first class in biology—with Dr. Schlein—was a bestseller that attracted me to the sciences. The low student/teacher ratio and close contact with stimulating faculty was instrumental to my success." — Angelo Gousse, M.D., '86

  • "This year, York celebrates 50 years of molding young minds like [mine]. I am proud and honored to be the student government president of this graduating class." — Rachelle Antoine, Class of 2017

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