President, Manhattan College
Despite its name, Manhattan College is located in the Bronx. But with students from 44 U.S. states and territories and 40 countries, and nearly a third of them minorities, the institution has been more about transcending borders. That includes Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College since 2009, who is a native of Pennsylvania and previously spent 17 years at Loyola University Maryland and five years at Fordham College. O’Donnell serves on the boards of Lewis University and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
With his academic background in religion and literature, O’Donnell has overseen an effort to expand the college’s international network and spread the theme of “radical empathy,” which encourages students to see themselves as part of a community and an educational tradition that is bigger than themselves.
President, Hostos Community College
Hostos Community College was created by a 1968 law in response to Latino leaders who argued that a higher education institution was needed in the South Bronx.
David Gómez, who was named college’s seventh president in 2015, has continued that mission of serving the community and educating its youths. Gómez previously held other positions at the community college, including dean and interim president.
A CUNY official for more than four decades, Gómez is a strong believer in public schools, especially community colleges as vehicles for affordable higher education. Gómez’s main goal continues to be to increase the school’s graduation rate and ensure Hostos has adequate funding to continue being a source of great educational programs in the South Bronx.
Charles Flynn Jr.
President, College of Mount Saint Vincent
The College of Mount Saint Vincent is a school dedicated to combining Catholic values with a rigorous and inclusive academic experience.
Charles Flynn Jr., a historian and scholar of race relations in the South, has served as president of the college since 2000.
The Connecticut native has become a key figure in education through his service on a variety of boards, including on the state Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Among a sea of other responsibilities, Flynn oversees an institution with more than 1,800 students, 140 faculty members and 70 academic programs.
President, SUNY Maritime College
Before he became president of SUNY Maritime College in 2014, Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis had a long career as a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard, as an operations officer and navigator on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, and as an educator and U.S. Coast Guard Academy faculty member. He has also been director and chief administrative officer of the University of Connecticut’s marine and maritime campus.
He’s spent more than two decades teaching undergraduate students and 13 years in academic administrative position in military and civilian higher education. Alfultis brings his unique perspective and dedication to his leadership position at the Fort Schuyler institution as his goals include securing funding for new national security multimission vessels and scholarships for students.
Director, Urban Male Leadership Program, Lehman College
During then-President Barack Obama’s visit to Lehman College in 2015, the school’s president touted its innovative Urban Male Leadership Program and drew a comparison with Obama’s own My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The Urban Male Leadership Program focuses on increasing the number of Latino and black males in higher education by helping first-year and transfer students adjust to their new surroundings and thrive in the classroom.
Michael Deas was appointed in 2008 as the program coordinator and since then has spearheaded initiatives for stronger academic programs not only the Lehman campus, but also with similar programs at other CUNY campuses. Deas was recently honored by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce for his service and continues to fight the educational barriers faced by underrepresented communities.