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Queens Chronicle

Pres. Keizs to leave York after 14 years

Architect of numerous programs at Jamaica campus returns to teaching

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019 10:30 am

York College President Marcia Keizs on June 3 announced she will step down effective Aug. 31, ending a tenure that she described as “14 wonderful and professionally satisfying years.”

Keizs, who came to CUNY in 1971 as an assistant professor of English, will next go to CUNY’s Bronx Community College, where she will return to the classroom, according to a statement issued by York.

“When I took the helm at York College, my vision was framed by the values and ideals that inspired and fueled the efforts of our founders,” Keizs said in the statement. “Thus, I made a commitment to build on their good work and to expand the reach of the College to meet emerging contemporary needs.

“I am proud to say that in due course, York College/CUNY has achieved significant milestones of which we can all be proud, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the entire college community, led by innovative faculty, dedicated administrators and staff, ambitious students and our supportive external community, including alumni, elected officials and volunteers; and with significant encouragement and assistance from CUNY’s Central administration and Board of Trustees. ... Being a part of this extraordinary college has been a privilege, but it is time to pass the mantle of leadership to another.”

“Over the course of her nearly 15 years as president of York College, Marcia V. Keizs has spearheaded the elevation of its academic offerings, in both quantity and quality. She has been a consistent, creative innovator and a rock-solid steward,” said William Thompson Jr., chairman of the CUNY Board of Trustees. “Her efforts have served to advance the mission of the City University of New York. President Keizs’ leadership of York College was only the latest chapter in a distinguished career that has included stops at five CUNY colleges and in the central office. It is with heartfelt gratitude, and sincere respect, that I thank Marcia for her unparalleled dedication and commitment to this University.”

“I want to thank President Marcia V. Keizs for her many years of honorable and prodigious service to the City University of New York, starting in 1971,” said Chancellor FÈlix Matos Rodr’guez, who ascended to the position earlier this year after serving as president of Queens College.

“President Keizs has been a champion and role model to students and teachers at York College, greatly strengthening the school’s academic programs, increasing enrollment and expanding its national profile. She has worked tirelessly to enlist talented and diverse faculty, and she established the structure of three schools.”

He said Keizs oversaw the restructuring of academic departments, launched 13 undergraduate and master’s programs, established three standalone departments and upgraded the school’s physical and technological infrastructure, securing more than $200 million in capital funding.

Keizs began her tenure at York College on Feb. 14, 2005.

Under her leadership, the college has increased total enrollment by 25 percent and, in the past decade, first-year student enrollment has gone up by 61 percent.

Under Keizs’ leadership York also expanded from 46 undergraduate majors in 2005 to 66 in 2018. New majors include aviation management in 2006, journalism and pharmaceutical sciences in 2008, health sciences in 2013, nursing in 2014, public health in 2015, finance in 2017, and, with Queensborough Community College, a dual AS/BS in biotechnology in 2010.

She has also overseen the launch of master’s degree programs in pharmaceutical science, business and physician assistant studies in 2016 and social work in 2018. Aviation management and clinical trials will be introduced this fall, and nursing is scheduled to be launched in 2020.

No information on the process for selecting Keizs’ permanent successor and whether a new president is expected to be in place before the start of the fall semester was available prior to the Chronicle’s deadline on Wednesday.

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