The search for Hostos' new prez is on

Hostos Community College is an important institution in the story of Puerto Ricans and Latinos in New York City. Hostos is not only an educational institution but a crown jewel in promoting Latino culture, arts and entertainment. The college is in search of its new president. The selection of the new president is very important in our community.

Here's an announcement of upcoming meetings to meet the candidates next week:

The three candidates for the position of President of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College are Felíz Matos Rodríguez, Natalie Gómez-Vélez, and Wilfredo Nieves.

The candidates will be on campus next week for meetings with groups representing the student body, the faculty, the staff, the administration, and the community at large.

There will also be three open forums at which all members of the Hostos family can meet with candidates individually and ask any questions they may have. These open forums will be held in Multipurpose Room on the second floor of the Savoy Building, 120 East 149th Street.

Here's the schedule:

Monday, February 23, Matos Rodríguez

Tuesday, February 24, Gómez-Vélez

Thursday, February 26, Nieves

All sessions run from 4-5 p.m. each day.

CANDIDATE PROFILES

Félix Matos Rodríguez

Félix V. Matos Rodríguez has a distinguished academic, educational, and social service policy career record. Trained as a social scientist, he has worked in foundations, universities, policy centers and government were he has been able to combine his scholarship with social policy, advocacy and change.

On December 31, 2008, Matos Rodríguez finished serving as Secretary of the Department of the Family for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. As Secretary, he formulated public policy and administered service delivery in the following programs: Child Support Enforcement, Adoption and Foster Care, Child and Elderly Protection, Food Stamps, TANF, Child Care, and Head Start. Matos Rodríguez managed a $2.2 billion dollar annual budget and oversaw nearly 9500 employees. Previously, he had served as Social Welfare and Health Advisor to the Governor Anibal Acevedo Vilá.

Matos Rodríguez is an Associate Professor of Black and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College (currently on leave) and teaches courses on Caribbean, Latin American and Latino history. He is also part of the History Department at CUNY’s Graduate Center. Matos Rodríguez served as the Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College [CUNY] -- one of the largest and most important Puerto Rican/Latino research centers in the US -- from 2000-2005.

He has an extensive publication record on the fields of Migration, Women's, Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latino studies. Matos Rodríguez is the author of Women and Urban Life in Nineteenth-Century San Juan, Puerto Rico [1820-62] [University Presses of Florida 1999; Markus Weiner 2001]; co-author of “Pioneros:” Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1896-1948 [Arcadia Publishers, 2001]; editor of, A Nation of Women, An Early Feminist Speaks Out: Mi opinión sobre las libertades, derechos y deberes de la mujer by Luisa Capetillo. [Houston: Arte Público Press, 2005]; co-editor with Gabriel Haslip Viera and Angelo Falcón. Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City. [Princeton: Markus Wiener, 2004]; with Matthew C. Gutmann, Lynn Stephen, and Patricia Zavella. Blackwell Reader on The Americas. [London: Blackwell Publishers, 2003]; and co-editor of Puerto Rican Women's History: New Perspectives. [M.E. Sharpe Publishers, 1998]. Matos Rodríguez's work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Urban History, The Public Historian, Latin American Research Review, Centro Journal, Revista de Ciencias Sociales, and the Boletín de la Asociación de Demografía Histórica, in addition to having chapters in several anthologies. He was the founding editor of the series New Directions in Puerto Rican Studies published by University Press of Florida. He has also reviewed manuscripts for Temple University Press, Rutgers University Press, M.E. Sharpe, Blackwell Publishers, Hispanic American Historical Review and the Revista de Ciencias Sociales. He has been a member of the advisory editorial boards of the Latino Studies Journal and New York Archives. Matos Rodríguez expert commentary has been included in prestigious newspapers and publications.

Matos Rodríguez graduated from Colegio San Ignacio High School in San Juan. He attended Yale University as an undergraduate and graduated cum laude in Latin American Studies. He received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

Prior to his work at Hunter College, Matos Rodríguez was a Program Officer at the Social Science Research Council in New York City and a faculty member at Northeastern University in Boston. He has also held visiting and adjunct teaching appointments at Yale University, Boston College, and City University [CUNY].

Matos Rodriguez has also been active in community organizations. He has been a board member of Aspira of New York, Inc.; Phipps Community Development Corporation, and of the Community Advisory Board of El Diario- La Prensa. He has received numerous awards for his community service including a special recognition by New York City’s Council during the 2003 Hispanic Heritage Month and by the New York State Senate and House Puerto Rican Latino Caucus for excellence in education in 2002.

He is married to Dr. Liliana M. Arabia, a dentist, and has two sons: Lucas (7) and Juan Carlos (5).



Natalie Gómez-Vélez



Natalie Gómez-Vélez is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and an Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. Prior to her appointment with the law school, Dean Gómez-Vélez served as Special Counsel to Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York State Unified Court System and as Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Public Advocacy in the administration of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Gómez-Vélez has also served on the Lawyering faculty at New York University School of Law, as an attorney with the ACLU and the Brennan Center for Justice, and as General Counsel to the New York City Department of Youth Services. Gómez-Vélez began her legal career in private practice.

Gómez-Vélez, a native New Yorker, received her Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law (where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Fellow, and as a member of the Latino Law Students Association Steering Committee). She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York (where she graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa). (In 2007, she was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame.)

Gómez-Vélez recently completed an unexpired term on the New York State Board of Regents, where she served as Regent for the Twelfth Judicial District (the Bronx). She is the former Bronx Representative to the New York City Panel for Educational Policy (Board of Education), appointed by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. and serving from 2002-2004. She currently serves on New York’s Statewide Judicial Screening Committee, the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board, and the Board of the City Parks Foundation.



Wilfredo Nieves

Wilfredo Nieves brings 30 plus years of education experience to his role as president of Middlesex Community College. A long-time community college administrator, his career demonstrates the depth and breadth necessary to provide exemplary leadership in the complex environment of higher education today.

Nieves’ extensive career exemplifies a lifetime commitment to the community college mission. From his early work in student services to his more recent roles and accomplishments as an academic and administrative leader, he has a comprehensive understanding of college leadership. His appointment as President of Middlesex Community College in 2001 positioned him as a valuable contributor to the Middlesex service area and to many national community college organizations.

Nieves serves as an evaluator for the Commissions on Higher Education for the Middle States Association and New England Association of Schools and Colleges. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to education and community service.

Nieves is a committed community leader and is active in many civic organizations. His community involvements have included service on the boards of directors of the National Coalition of Advocates for Students, the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, the Middlesex United Way, and the Portland Visiting Nurse Association. He is on the American Council on Education’s Commission on Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity, a corporator of Liberty Bank and the Middlesex Health System, Inc. and a member of the Middletown Rotary Club.

Nieves holds a baccalaureate degree in Mathematics from Kean University of New Jersey, a Master of Arts Degree in Human Development and the Master of Education in Guidance from Columbia University and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.

source: National Institute for Latino Policy

Puerto Rico Sun wishes all the candidates good luck. Judging by their background, they are all worthy candidates. It is important to select the best candidate to continue the legacy of Hostos Community College in the Bronx.
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