Queensborough’s 2023 Partners for Progress Gala Celebrates Distinguished Honorees Dedicated to Health Care and the Fine Arts
A record-breaking 600 guests attended Wednesday night’s annual Partners for Progress Gala at Terrace on the Park to honor Queensborough Community College Partners of the Year Dr. Mitchell Katz, President & Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals and Luchia Meihua Lee, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Taiwanese American Arts Council.
Highlights of the evening were presentations given by remarkable Queensborough alumni who took to the stage to share their stories of success--success made possible through the generous support of donors like you!
The evening raised a historic $360,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, donations, and live pledges. Funds raised will be used to support student success initiatives and cultural programming, provide emergency funding, and help to ensure that every Queensborough student is able to unlock their potential and achieve their dream of earning a college degree.
Luchia Meihua Lee, Art Gallery Partner of the Year, spoke from the podium noting that “The College’s Art Gallery is a vital resource and presents an important opportunity for students to learn, practice, and contribute. The Gallery's acclaimed permanent collections, including its African art, Asian art, American contemporary, and works by Andy Warhol reflect the unique culture of Queens and the wonderful diversity of Queensborough Community College.”
Dr. Mitchell Katz, Community Partner of the Year, said “Queensborough Community College plays a vital role in our community by providing access to life-changing educational opportunities, but they cannot do this work alone. That is why I am proud to have written a check to Queensborough Community College, and I hope you will consider doing the same.”
Dr. Katz is right. A heartbreaking 85% of Queensborough Community College students with a tuition balance of just $500-$1,000 drop out of college before earning their degree. More than half of Queensborough Community College students come from a family with an annual income of less than $30,000. And nearly 50% of students require basic needs assistance for food, transportation, housing, and educational technology just to be able to stay enrolled in college.
The support shown Wednesday night will make a huge difference in the lives of Queensborough students. If you would like to make a difference by investing in the future of a student like those who presented on Wednesday night, we invite you to donate here.
Among these outstanding students and alumni were Mateo Sáenz, '18, a full-time field medic and entrepreneurial mentor for the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Soon he will travel to Bali, Indonesia, to work alongside bamboo craftspeople to build lightweight, foldable bamboo huts—a valuable resource that reduces carbon in the air, offers economic opportunities, is sustainable and provides shelter for people who lose their houses due to natural disasters. "My goal is to inspire the same uses for bamboo in the U.S. and deploy them all over the world." Makheni Jean-Pierre, '17, who is pursuing his doctorate in philosophy at Georgetown University, where he is also a researcher studying immunology and infectious diseases. About 300 nationwide applications are received annually for this research program, and Makheni was one of the 10 students chosen as an undergraduate scholarship program scholar. Julio Salas ’18 will enter the Sociology Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley this fall. Julio was born and raised in Corona, Queens, by immigrant parents and never dreamed of attending college. “I had no idea of what the world looked like beyond all I knew, which was Corona.” Natasha Cruz-Vicente, '06, Maternal Child Staff Educator in the Nursing Professional Development Division at NYC Health + Hospitals New York-Presbyterian in Queens, will return to Queensborough as a nursing adjunct this fall.
On behalf of the 2023 Partners for Progress Gala Chair, Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur, CMO, Mount Sinai & NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmurst, and the Queensborough Community College Fund, Inc., thank you for spending the evening with us and for believing in the success of our students.