For the first time in its 172-year history, Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, a native of Puerto Rico, has become the first person of color to lead the City University of New York (CUNY) as its chancellor.
Professor Rodríguez is a noted Puerto Rican scholar, academic administrator, author and historian. In the past, he has served as the secretary of the Department of the Family for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and as the president of Queens College, which is part of CUNY, the nation’s largest urban public university system.
The university board of trustees voted unanimously in February to appoint Rodríguez as the university’s eighth chancellor.
“A historic first is a combination of two feelings, one is an incredible source of pride that is a collective pride,” Matos Rodríguez told NBC News. “Another is the incredible pressure that you always have, you want to get it right for the right reasons, [as] a professional but also for the community that you represent.”
According to Patch, Rodríguez has been recognized in the past for developing an accelerated B.A./M.A. program and increasing retention and diversity at Queens College. During his tenure at Queens College, about half of new faculty members came from underrepresented groups.
On Wednesday, Rodríguez began his tenure by announcing five new administrative appointments.
José Luis Cruz has been appointed executive vice chancellor and university provost, effective July 1. Glenda Grace will start her term as senior vice chancellor for institutional affairs, Maite Junco as vice chancellor for communications and marketing, William Tramontano as interim president of Queens College, and James Muyskens as the head of the CUNY Graduate Center.
The appointments are pending confirmation by the University’s Board of Trustees.