Today the Bronx’s economy is booming with new jobs in the tech, film and TV industries; neighborhoods are bustling with renovation projects; parks are being beautified; cultural institutions are serving diverse communities; and unemployment rates have dropped to historic lows. The Bronx renaissance is on.

Lehman College celebrates the efforts of all who contribute to the forces that keep the Bronx moving forward and trending upward: political leaders, business owners, charitable groups, and social advocates. And the College is proud of the role it has played in the last half-century to help chart the path and lead the way to where we are today.

First, with more than 65,000 alumni, Lehman College has cemented itself as an engine of opportunity, vehicle of upward mobility, and driver of transformative change for generations of Bronxites. Whether they are the first in their families to start a business, become a nurse at Montefiore, teach in a South Bronx public school, go on to Harvard Medical, or become the Bronx Borough President—Lehman alumni achieve great things for themselves, and for those they serve.

Second, Lehman’s presence in our K-12 schools has helped shape the aspirations—and strengthen the academic preparation—of thousands of students. The innovative Bronx Institute, the nationally recognized High School of American Studies at Lehman College, and the Lehman Center for School College Collaborative and College Now are prime examples of this legacy.

Third, the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, the Lehman Art Gallery, BronxNet and The Bronx Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have contributed to the overall cultural, intellectual, and economic landscape of our home borough.

Afforded more space, I could elaborate on other examples such as our flagship initiatives in teacher education, new media, structural and molecular biosciences; our nationally recognized research programs; and our myriad workforce development initiatives in areas such as Augmented and Virtual Reality.

But this density of activity and accomplishments does not lead Lehman College to complacency. We recognize that there is still much to be done before we meet our full potential as agents of change and stewards of place. And we will not rest until we help our partners in the public and private sector eradicate the health, educational, and economic inequalities that—as is the case for so many urban communities across our nation—persist to this day.

The past, present, and future of Lehman College—and the borough it calls home—are inextricably intertwined. For me, this represents a cause for optimism and a source of confidence; and a call for thoughtful, intentional action.

I look forward to working with you to build a stronger Bronx for all.

José Luis Cruz is the President of Lehman College