Op-Ed | 20 years teaching students to chase their dreams

By Félix V. Matos Rodríguez on  

One night early in my tenure as Chancellor, I decided to attend an event called Night at the Museum that is held each year by Macaulay Honors College. It’s the kickoff to the college’s semester-long Arts in New York seminar, and gives Macaulay’s incoming first-year students the opportunity to visit the Brooklyn Museum for a special experience with art.

I had intended to drop by, welcome the students to CUNY and offer a few words about Macaulay, CUNY’s selective honors college. But I wound up staying until closing time. It was more than the collection of ancient Egyptian art that kept me there; it was the intriguing students, several of whom told me it was their first visit ever to a museum. Macaulay was founded to attract New York’s most promising students, and I was so engaged by these young people — their enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, aspirations and passion to learn — that I really did spend a night at the museum.

This academic year marks the 20th anniversary of what was originally called the CUNY Honors College. Its creation was a landmark in CUNY’s efforts in those years to elevate its stature as a premier public university by attracting exceptional high school students who might otherwise go off to private schools. Two decades and nearly 6,000 graduates later, Macaulay is one of the jewels of our University, providing broad educational and extracurricular experiences, along with a host of supports that enable the students to realize their potential, graduate debt-free and begin making their mark.


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