SJC Brooklyn hosted the Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) for a legislative roundtable discussion last month, during which CICU President Mary Beth Labate and St. Joseph’s College President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., highlighted the unique role independent colleges and universities play in the higher education landscape.
The Oct. 22 event — attended by Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon and policy advisers from the offices of Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and state Sen. Andrew Gounardes — kicked off with SJC students Amarfi Collado ’20 and Nicholas Gangone ’21 detailing how St. Joseph’s has impacted their lives and set them on the path for future success.
“As soon as I walked into The Hill Center Gymnasium for my freshman orientation, I was greeted by a welcoming atmosphere, and every student leader was so friendly, approachable and most importantly, happy that I was here,” Gangone said. “Since then, I’ve participated in numerous clubs and have used what I’ve learned in the classroom to get promoted at the bank I work at. I can honestly say none of these accomplishments would have been possible without St. Joseph’s College.”
After these presentations, Dr. Boomgaarden discussed how these students represented the best of what a St. Joseph’s education has to offer and of the need for New York state and its elected officials to recognize and support the important work being done at the College.
“St. Joseph’s College occupies a special place in the New York state higher educational landscape. We serve the same students that the public system does: working students, first-generation students, lower-income students and students from underrepresented groups,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “It is critical that our elected officials recognize the valuable work being done in independent colleges and universities across New York state, and the great benefits — financial, educational and cultural — that these institutions provide to their constituents.
“Our lawmakers must do a better job of supporting our efforts to ensure that all students have access to the college that best meets their aspirations,” he added.