The 2021 Higher Education Power 100: 51-100

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Columbia University
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Columbia University
Power 100

The 2021 Higher Education Power 100: 51-100

The college and university leaders educating the next generation of New Yorkers.

Presented By:

51. David Coleman

CEO, College Board

As CEO of the College Board, David Coleman leads the organization that runs the SAT, Advanced Placement and College Level Examination Program tests. Coleman has navigated such controversies as the elimination of the SAT essay section in January and a class-action lawsuit from parents arguing that their children shouldn’t have to retake their take-home AP tests. The College Board is estimated to have lost $200 million in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

52. Ty Stone

President, Jefferson Community College

Since 2017, Ty Stone has led Jefferson Community College. She also co-chairs the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Economic and Workforce Development. In 2020, due to the pandemic, the college declined $2.5 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding that would’ve helped open a downtown entrepreneurial training center. Stone was named to the New York Forward Reopening Advisory Board to advise Gov. Andrew Cuomo on restarting the state’s economy.

53. Brennan O'Donnell

President, Manhattan College

Brennan O'Donnell has been serving as president of Manhattan College since 2009. Applications to the college have increased by 55% since he took over – with undergraduate enrollment increasing by 15%, while graduate enrollment has increased by 21%. O'Donnell's institution is also set to open its $35 million Higgins Engineering and Science Center this fall, part of a comprehensive plan for improving its STEM facilities.

54. Denise Battles

President, SUNY Geneseo

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Former geology professor Denise Battles has been serving as the president of the State University of New York at Geneseo since 2015. Last year, Battles created a $32,000 endowment to support student research alongside her husband, Michael Mills. The endowment will help cover many of the costs associated with student research, including publishing and presentation expenses. Battles was also named the new co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

55. David Harris

President, Union College

David Harris has been president of Union College since 2018. During his tenure, he has helped the school burnish its reputation as a leading engineering and liberal arts school. Last year, Harris announced the creation of a four-member diversity leadership team and a number of initiatives aimed at improving diversity and inclusion. He was previously the provost at Tufts University, where he created a program encouraging students to perform a year of service before college.

56. Cristle Collins Judd

President, Sarah Lawrence College

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As president of Sarah Lawrence College, Cristle Collins Judd is committed to expanding its presence by establishing it as a pipeline for social mobility. The school recently partnered with Westchester Community College and Bronx Community College to identify high-achieving students from each community college who’ll gain admission to Sarah Lawrence beginning in the fall. Judd previously served as a senior program officer for the Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities program at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

57. Donald Christian

President, SUNY New Paltz

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For the past decade, Donald Christian has been instrumental in putting the State University of New York at New Paltz on the map by increasing its fundraising efforts. He created an endowment in 2016 to support student research alongside his wife, Sandra Christian. Today, the endowment is valued at over $100,000. Under Christian’s leadership, New Paltz is ranked as 45th among all nondoctoral public and private colleges in the Northeast, the third-highest ranking for a SUNY school.

58. Deborah Stanley

President, SUNY Oswego

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During Deborah Stanley’s 23-year tenure leading the State University of New York at Oswego, she has established the Presidential Scholarship Program, the Possibility Scholarship Program and the pioneering Oswego Guarantee, which promises that students will be able to complete a degree within four years. Stanley also launched Oswego’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, garnering almost $24 million, and spearheaded a massive upgrade of campus technology. The school has increased diversity, with 36% of 2018’s first-year class self-identifying as culturally diverse.

59. Daniel Lemons & Fernando Delgado

Interim President; Incoming President, Lehman College

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As interim president, Daniel Lemons, above, has successfully guided Lehman College through a transition. In December, the college made national news when philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $30 million – the largest single donation in the school’s history. Lemons has also spearheaded the successful transition to remote learning during the pandemic and helped raise $1 million to ensure that students could meet their basic needs and attend classes. In May, he will go on to serve as interim university provost for the City University of New York.

Incoming president Fernando Delgado will be taking the reins in July, overseeing nearly 15,000 students on one of the most diverse campuses in New York City. Previously the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Delgado will be joining an institution whose graduates have the fourth highest social and economic mobility rate in the nation.

60. Seamus Carey

President, Iona College

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Seamus Carey has led Iona College on a path of innovation during his first two years as president. He has overseen the launch of Iona’s brand-new nursing program as well as two new undergraduate programs in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial leadership. Iona College was credited with swiftly closing its campus in March due to Iona’s proximity to the New Rochelle COVID-19 outbreak, and successfully shifting entirely to remote learning.

61. Donald R. Boomgaarden

President, St. Joseph's College

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As president of St. Joseph’s College, Donald R. Boomgaarden is responsible for managing its Brooklyn and Long Island campuses consisting of nearly 5,000 students. Under his leadership, the school’s endowment has increased from $29 million to $60 million. He is overseeing a $17 million project to bring a new student center to the Patchogue campus. In February, the school received a $2 million gift, one of the largest it’s ever received, to establish the Frieda Englberger Endowed Scholarship Fund for students with physical disabilities. In addition, Boomgaarden froze tuition so students would not be faced with increased costs during the pandemic.

62. Steve Coll

Dean, Columbia Journalism School

Steve Coll is training the next generation of media professionals at the Columbia Journalism School. In 2018 Coll opened the school’s Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, and in 2019 the school received a $10 million donation from Craigslist founder Craig Newmark to launch the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security. Coll covers politics, intelligence and national security as a staff writer at The New Yorker.

63. Laura Sparks

President, The Cooper Union

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As the first female president of The Cooper Union, Laura Sparks has promised to provide a free education again for all students in her ambitious 10-year plan, which remains on track even amid the pandemic. She has focused on improving the school’s financial outlook since taking the reins in 2017, including generating a cash surplus that reversed years of deficits. Sparks has also overseen the construction of the IDC Foundation Art, Architecture, Construction and Engineering Lab, made possible by a $2 million grant.

64. R. Karl Rethemeyer

Dean, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany

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R. Karl Rethemeyer, who took the helm of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy in 2015 as interim dean and in 2018 as dean, will depart this summer to become dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During his tenure, Rockefeller College has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top public affairs program. Rethemeyer studies social networks and their impact on social, political and policy processes.

65. Miguel Martinez-Saenz

President, St. Francis College

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Miguel Martinez-Saenz’s pedagogic background ranges from tutoring teens who are at or below the poverty line to conducting philosophy and poetry workshops in juvenile detention centers and correctional facilities. As president of St. Francis College, he’s been confronting the COVID-19 pandemic by creating a flexible structure for remote learning for its 2,500 students. Martinez-Saenz also sits on the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Committee on Women’s Athletics, helping lead the effort to provide equitable opportunities, fair treatment and respect for all women in intercollegiate athletics.

66. Greg Morrisett

Dean and Vice Provost, Cornell Tech

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Cornell Tech Dean and Vice Provost Greg Morrisett’s impact on New York City’s tech sector now includes a $1 million grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies to jump-start its public interest tech initiative. The school also received part of a $5 million gift that will help Morrisett achieve his goal of doubling the size of the campus’ 30-person faculty body over the next five years. Morrisett has also recruited women and underrepresented communities into STEM fields through the Break Through Tech initiative.

67. Jelena Kovačević

Dean, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

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As the first female dean of the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, Jelena Kovačević has doubled down on recruiting and elevating women in the STEM fields. The class of 2023 is currently 46% women, while the school has seen an 81% increase in women enrolling in its undergraduate program since 2015. In addition, 25% of the faculty are female. Kovačević, who became NYU Tandon’s dean in 2018, also founded the Northeast Regional Deans (NeRDs) council.

68. Leon Botstein

President, Bard College

Leon Botstein has been leading Bard College since he was 28. Botstein has been credited with crafting Bard’s innovative liberal arts bachelor’s degree program in New York state prisons, which has expanded nationally, and opening Bard High School Early College. He’s also been the music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992 and founded the Bard Music Festival in 1990 and The Orchestra Now, a master’s degree program, in 2015. During the pandemic he launched a series of live streamed performances.

69. Michelle Anderson

President, Brooklyn College

As the president of one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation, Michelle Anderson has made it her priority to make Brooklyn College a space for everyone through initiatives such as the “We Stand Against Hate” series. Anderson also seeks to expand the school’s research facility through grant funding and keep its reputation of being one of the most affordable public institutions in the country. Prior to her role at Brooklyn College, Anderson served as the dean of the CUNY School of Law.

70. Berenecea Johnson Eanes

President, York College

Berenecea Johnson Eanes became the permanent president of York College in 2020 after serving as the interim president. She immediately set forth a mission to grow the school as “One York,” where everyone feels valued. Eanes has guided the college through the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing the One York Emergency Relief Fund and allowing the campus to become a mass vaccination site for Queens residents in February. She also served as a voice for unity following the George Floyd protests.

71. Anthony Crowell

Dean and President, New York Law School

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For nearly a decade as dean and president of New York Law School, Anthony Crowell has been reimagining what a legal education should entail. Under his leadership, NYLS has created an office of diversity and inclusion, adopted a new curriculum – Think BIG – and strengthened its academic and bar success programs. Crowell recently became the inaugural chair of the school's Tribeca Pandemic Recovery Task Force. He previously worked as a counselor for Mayor Michael Bloomberg for more than a decade.

72. Joyce Jacobsen

President, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

As the first woman to serve as president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Joyce Jacobsen has made an impact in a relatively short amount of time. In October – as part of the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium – she opposed changes to visa regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that would have issued visas to international students and visiting scholars on a fixed term instead of linking it to the duration of their academic studies.

73. Marc Jerome

President, Monroe College

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Since 2017, Marc Jerome has introduced a number of programs at Monroe College that have allowed over a thousand New Yorkers to earn a private college education without taking on any student debt. In February, the school launched the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Justice, for which Jerome will co-teach classes. He currently serves on the board of trustees of the state Higher Education Services Corporation.

74. Katherine Conway-Turner

President, Buffalo State College

Katherine Conway-Turner has sought to make Buffalo State College “Buffalo’s College.” She has implemented events such as “Bengals Dare to Care Day,” where the school provides community service throughout Buffalo in the fall. In 2020, the college established a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship for young African American leaders who advocate for racial justice. Conway-Turner was selected to co-chair the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council in 2019.

75. Emily Tow

President, The Tow Foundation

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Since 1995, Emily Tow has been leading The Tow Foundation, a private family foundation with $220 million in assets and approximately $20 million in annual giving. She oversees the strategic direction of the foundation and cultivates its collaborative efforts with institutions such as Brooklyn College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. She was appointed to the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group and is a former trustee at Barnard College.

76. Christine Mangino

President, Queensborough Community College

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Christine Mangino was unanimously appointed president of Queensborough Community College in 2020. During her time as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Hostos Community College, the school doubled its three-year graduation rates, increased student participation in service learning projects, and developed its online course offerings. She’s also served as the co-president of the North Merrick Special Education Parent Teacher Association.

77. Milagros Peña

President, Purchase College

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Milagros Peña made history last year by becoming the first Latina president of Purchase College and the first Latina to lead a State University of New York institution. A sociologist and author of five books, she’s gained a reputation of attracting diverse faculty members who more accurately reflect student demographics. Recently, the college officially joined the United Nations University Global Coalition, which encourages colleges and universities to work in partnership with each other and with the UN in support of sustainable development goals.

78. Robert Griffin

Founding Dean, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity

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After six years at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he managed a $1.1 billion science and technology portfolio, Robert Griffin took his talents to the State University of New York at Albany in 2017, establishing a first-in-the-nation cybersecurity and emergency preparedness college that was hailed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Now Griffin trains the next generation of leaders, offering courses in cybersecurity, homeland security, data analytics and information science. A new facility for the school will open this summer.

79. Gregory Mantsios

Founding Dean, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

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Gregory Mantsios, founding dean of the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies, has devoted himself to establishing college degree programs for nontraditional students from poor and working-class backgrounds. In 1984, he founded the Murphy Institute, named after former CUNY chancellor and labor advocate Joseph S. Murphy, which was eventually transformed into the School of Labor and Urban Studies in 2018. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs that tackle the challenges poor and working class populations face in the workplace and in the community.

80. Sarah Bartlett

Dean, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

Sarah Bartlett has helped build the reputation of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. In addition to founding the urban reporting and the business and economics subject concentrations, as well as the Center for Community and Ethnic Media, which covers marginalized communities, she has helped raise $60 million in endowments. In 2020, the school introduced the Advertising Boost Initiative to help bring $10 million in advertising revenue from city agencies to local news outlets.

81. Joyce Brown

President, Fashion Institute of Technology

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Joyce Brown is an institution at the Fashion Institute of Technology, raising the stature of the State University of New York school since she was named president in 1998. The art and design school, which was founded in the 1940s to bolster New York City’s fashion and clothing industry, continues to educate the next generation of fashion designers – as well as business executives and communications professionals. She previously was a CUNY professor and a deputy mayor in the Dinkins administration.

82. Michael J. Smith

President, Berkeley College

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Since assuming the role of president of Berkeley College in 2015, Michael J. Smith has focused on expanding the school’s reach among diverse communities and prominent Latino- and Black-led organizations. Under his leadership, the college has been recognized for its volunteer and community service contributions. Smith previously represented District 3 on the Westchester County Board of Legislators and was the managing director and chief financial officer of MetLife Realty Group.

83. Kevin Drumm

President, SUNY Broome Community College

Since becoming president of SUNY Broome Community College in 2010, Kevin Drumm has overseen the opening of the $21 million Natural Science Center, which brought the first new classrooms to the campus in 15 years, and the new Student Village, offering students on-campus living for the first time. In 2018, SUNY Broome reopened its former Mechanical Building, now renovated into a state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Center thanks to a $11 million donation – one of the largest ever given to a SUNY community college.

84. Dennis Murray

President, Marist College

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Dennis Murray’s four decades of leadership has certainly made a positive impact on Marist College. During his first presidential tenure, which he began at age 32, enrollment quadrupled, new programs were created, a campus in Italy was established and a $500 million campus renovation was completed. In 2019, Marist asked him to return as president. In his second tenure, Murray helped navigate the school through the coronavirus pandemic, including hosting a pop-up vaccination site in March.

85. Tod Laursen

Acting President, SUNY Polytechnic Institute

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Tod Laursen is currently the acting president of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute. He had been serving as the senior vice chancellor and provost of SUNY prior to his appointment. As acting president, he led the Utica and Albany campuses in preparing for the return of students in the spring semester. Before working at SUNY, Laursen was the founding president of Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi.

86. Denise Maybank

Interim President, Medgar Evers College

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Following the abrupt departure of Medgar Evers College president Rudolph Crew, who reportedly quit over criticism over his governance of the school, Denise Maybank was appointed interim president in March. She is also continuing to serve as the City University of New York interim vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management. Maybank hopes to live up to Medgar Evers College’s legacy and its namesake, Medgar Evers, who was a prominent civil rights activist with the NAACP.

87. Daisy Cocco De Filippis

Interim President, Hostos Community College

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As the first Dominican woman to lead Hostos Community College, Daisy Cocco De Filippis has not wasted a second. Hostos is one of six CUNY community colleges providing technology, health care and education training programs to people in underemployed industries and communities affected by COVID-19. De Filippis previously served 12 years as president of Naugatuck Valley Community College, where she was the first Dominican president of a community college in the U.S.

88. Larry Johnson Jr.

Incoming President, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

As the newly appointed president of Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, starting in July, Larry D. Johnson Jr. will be in charge of leading a school that’s nationally known for its innovative academic methods. He was previously the first African American president of Phoenix College, a public community college in Arizona. Under his watch, enrollment increased and the school received multimillion-dollar grants from the National Science Foundation and federal Department of Education supporting experiential learning programs and undergraduate research in STEM.

89. Drew Bogner

Interim President, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities

Drew Bogner was appointed interim president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in December. Prior to joining CICU, he was the president of Molloy College, where he oversaw a $2 million renovation of the campus and was credited with doubling enrollment from 2,000 students to over 4,000. At CICU, Bogner is responsible for leading advocacy efforts on behalf of New York’s independent sector of higher education.

90. Timothy Sams

President, SUNY Old Westbury

Although Timothy Sams has only been president of SUNY Old Westbury since January, he’s already making an impact. The school recently became one of three mass vaccination sites on Long Island in an effort to beat COVID-19. Sams was previously the vice president of student affairs for Prairie View A&M University in Texas. Sams succeeds Calvin O. Butts III, who retired at the end of August 2020 after nearly 21 years leading the college.

91. Joanne Passaro

President, Metropolitan College of New York

Joanne Passaro of the Metropolitan College of New York is known as a “power player” of sorts in higher education. Since 2018, she has made efforts to advance MCNY’s majority Black and Hispanic student body toward social mobility and long-term success. Passaro's commitment to higher education and social justice has been heavily influenced by her research work on homeless people in New York City.

92. Timothy Hall

President, Mercy College

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Mercy College president Timothy Hall has made a name for himself. Education Update recognized him as one of seven Distinguished Leaders in Education in 2019 and, under his leadership, the college has been recognized by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics as a “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.” Last year, Mercy College agreed to absorb approximately 1,800 students from the College of New Rochelle, a deal that bumped the school's total enrollment by 23%.

93. Donna Stelling-Gurnett

President and CEO, Association of Proprietary Colleges

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As the president and CEO of the Association of Proprietary Colleges, Donna Stelling-Gurnett advocates on behalf of more than 26,000 students to ensure access to a quality and affordable education. She recently spoke on APC’s initiatives to increase the minimum Tuition Assistance Program award from $500 to $1,000 or the maximum TAP award from $5,165 to $6,000 annually, reinstate TAP funding for graduate students and restore maximum TAP awards for two-year degree programs.

94. Daisey Holmes

President, BNY Mellon Foundation

As president of the Bank of New York Mellon Foundation, Daisey Holmes is committed to investing in the long-term educational success of underserved populations. She helped to establish the BNY Mellon Foundation Transfer Scholarship, which is for CUNY students working toward STEM or finance-related degrees, with a $1 million multi-year grant in 2019, and also invested an additional $10 million in CUNY in November.

95. Abby Jo Sigal

Founding CEO, Here to Here

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Abby Jo Sigal is the founding CEO of Here to Here, an organization aimed at preparing low-income New York students for college and career success. The effort was launched in partnership with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation, and is also funded by the Carnegie Corp. New York, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Credit Suisse Foundation. Sigal is also assisting with the new New York Jobs CEO Council.

96. Gail Mellow

Executive Director, New York Jobs CEO Council

When JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and IBM’s Arvind Krishna teamed up with 24 other CEOs to launch the New York Jobs CEO Council last summer, they hired Gail Mellow to run the organization. Mellow, who helped low-income New Yorkers escape poverty over the past two decades while leading LaGuardia Community College, is now collaborating with the City University of New York and other partners to place 100,000 low-income individuals and people of color in jobs and apprenticeships by 2030.

97. Diana Cruz

Education Policy Director, Hispanic Federation

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As education policy director of the Hispanic Federation, Diana Cruz has dedicated herself to addressing the socioeconomic and racial inequalities in higher education, in addition to overseeing first-generation students’ college attainment pathways, college advising models and student support services. Her goal is to empower and advance the Hispanic community and to strengthen Latino institutions through direct service programs and legislative advocacy that will engender systemic change. 

98. Kenneth Macur

President, Medaille College

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Kenneth Macur never expected to have a career in higher education, but he eventually became a professor and ultimately took on several college leadership positions. In 2015 he was named president of Medaille College, a private, four-year school in Buffalo and Rochester. During the coronavirus pandemic, Macur assumed emergency powers over staffing decisions at Medaille while also grappling with budget challenges similar to those faced by many institutions of higher learning.

99. Juvanie Piquant

Chair, CUNY University Student Senate

As the first Haitian American student to lead the City University of New York’s University Student Senate, Juvanie Piquant advocates for the rights of CUNY’s 270,000 students. She’s also the only student member of the CUNY board of trustees. She was formerly the vice chair of legislative affairs of the USS, and is currently a student in City Tech College's law and paralegal studies department. As chairperson, Piquant champions the preservation of the accessibility, affordability and excellence of higher education.

100. Bradley Hershenson

President, SUNY Student Assembly

As president of the State University of New York Student Assembly, Bradley Hershenson represents the nearly 400,000 students on 64 SUNY campuses. He has recently been out on the front lines protesting against tuition hikes. He is a doctoral student at the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cyber Security at the University at Albany. Hershenson previously served as a policy intern in the New York State Legislature and assisted with the creation of the University at Albany's first Climate Action and Sustainability Plan.

 

Correction: A previous version of this list incorrectly stated Dennis Murray's title and incorrectly described Marist College's plans for a medical school building.

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