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Queens Chronicle

CUNY colleges get two new presidents

LaGuardia and York appointments fill out all-rookie team in Queens

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Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2019 10:30 am

Two interim presidents were named this week at Queens colleges in the City University system.

Paul Arcario, who has been LaGuardia’s dean of academics since 2012, is the new interim president of the school, replacing Gail Mellow, who resigned last spring.

Arcario, who was born and raised in Ozone Park, was Mellow’s choice for the job.

Also, Berenecea Johnson Eanes — who’d been an administrator at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan before leaving seven years ago to become dean of student affairs at California State University, Fullerton — has been named interim president of York College.

Marcia Keizs announced on June 3 that she would be stepping down on Aug. 31 after 14 years at York's helm. She will remain in the CUNY system as a professor.

The top ranks of the CUNY schools have been been depleted in the last year by a combination of promotions, retirements and a push for new blood since Félix Matos Rodríguez, the former president of Queens College, was named chancellor of CUNY in February, after a year-long search.

The longtime president of Queensborough Community College Diane Call presided over her final commencement last June.

Timothy Lynch, Queensborough’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, has been named as her interim replacement.

William Tramontano, a cellular biologist who had most recently been an administrator at Hunter College, was named the interim president of Queens College last May by Matos Rodriguez as his own replacement.

The recent appointments mean that, come September, all four CUNY undergraduate colleges in Queens will have a new president.

“These individuals have already distinguished themselves for outstanding service, to say nothing of their versatility, ingenuity and longevity,” Matos Rodriguez said in a prepared statement.

“I am confident that they will be assets, and ... will help our campuses to chart forward progress during a period of transition.”

Arcario began his career as an English as second language professor 1988.

After being named the dean of academic affairs, he made a name for himself as an “Undercover Boss”-type administrator when he enrolled in a remedial algebra class to discover why so many students were having difficulty passing the required course.

Later, when the school wanted to expand its online course lineup, he enrolled in a class offered by UCLA to see how others did it.

Eanes is an expert in methods for keeping students in college and increasing graduation rates, according to her Cal State biography.


This story has been updated to correct the date that Marcia Keizs will step down as president of York College.

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