Charles Armstrong

A Message from Charles E. Armstrong, Chair, MCNY Board of Trustees

2021 was a challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic altered —perhaps forever —the way we function as a college, as individuals, and as a society. Adjusting to a new normal of how we can best serve our students and amidst all the change, we continue to strive to build an ever-more equitable and inclusive environment in which all can thrive. The Board of Trustees unanimously supports the College’s mission and leadership, and we remain unwavering in our commitment to delivering a truly Purpose-Centered Education.

Diversity at MCNY means equity of representation, equity to effectuate the purpose of opportunity for all through engaging positive educational interaction, constructive action and instruction that inspires our learners to do more and to achieve more.

We are excited to report that the Board of Trustees continues to purposefully increase the representation of alumni leaders on the Board who will help lead the college into the future. These esteemed leaders include our Chair-Elect, Gary P. Jenkins.
We are heartened to know that the same purpose-centered tools that have enabled our graduates to soar both personally and professionally are now hard at work on the board leading us all to a brighter future.
Our administration, staff and teaching professionals have proven to be nimble, adaptable and remarkably resilient as we continue to evolve, adapt and weather these turbulent times. Our collective successes have enabled us to now turn our attention to the ways we will continue to invest in the future. And it is the Board’s belief that through these Constructive Actions of change, MCNY will see clearer skies ahead as the current pandemic, we hope, enters its final phase.
Charles Armstrong
Board Chair, Metropolitan College of New York


A Message from Joanne Passaro, PhD

In the midst of a very challenging year, MCNY students persevered in their studies in 2021 at levels that far exceeded our expectations. Their courage and tenacity inspired all of us as they persisted despite illness, economic uncertainty and the many inequities of the pandemic. It was deeply gratifying to hear from so many students that these experiences served to reinforce their commitment to lead purposeful change in their communities.

Students come to MCNY for that very reason: they know that our powerful curricular model, Purpose-Centered Education, will develop their skills in linking theory with practice and will prepare them, through successive Constructive Action projects, to advance positive change.

Last year, MCNY faculty and staff redoubled their efforts to serve our amazing students. We increased student tuition grants; offered proactive academic and student support services in multiple virtual and on-campus formats; and created safe spaces—within and outside of the classroom—for students to discuss the challenges of the pandemic and support each other in achieving their goals. We continued to offer food pantry services, which became more important than ever, and thanks to Trinity Church Wall Street and other donors, we were able to provide holiday turkeys and groceries to students at both campuses. A generous grant from the Robin Hood Foundation, combined with continued federal COVID relief funding, enabled us to provide emergency funds to students that helped them persist in college while caring for children and loved ones, and navigating changing employment circumstances.

Throughout 2021, the MCNY community continued to innovate to support our students and advance our mission. In addition to what I have already described, other examples of their collective efforts include:

  • A new book, The Power of Purpose, was published in January 2021. It highlights the personal journeys of more than twenty MCNY alumni, their experiences with Constructive Action projects, and their impact on our communities.
  • The MS in Education program was recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality as one of the top programs in the country for “leading the way by maintaining selective academic admissions requirements and driving greater teacher diversity.”
  • Students in the MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management program have been working closely with government, communities, and non-profit organizations to develop recovery and resiliency plans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • An art exhibit commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street opened at the Bronx and Manhattan Campuses, with works by artist Carolyn Sortor and photographer Gwenn Levine.
  • The second Purpose Institute was held over two days in the fall. Trustees, current students, alumni, faculty and staff participated in lively discussions about the powerful impact of Purpose-Centered Education with a focus on assuring effective online pedagogies during the pandemic.

In the pages that follow you will find other examples of the outstanding, mission- focused work of the MCNY community.

Our experiences last year taught us that MCNY’s mission of social justice and community service is more important than ever. The MCNY community is proud of the way we have navigated through the first two years of the pandemic while keeping the needs of our students, and their academic success, at the forefront of our work. We are grateful to our donors for supporting our mission of advancing social justice through Purpose-Centered Education. An investment in MCNY is, indeed, an investment in a stronger and more equitable New York. Thank you for being an integral part of our work.

Joanne Passaro, PhD
President, Metropolitan College of New York