RISE 2019 Conference

Transforming University Engagement In Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico

Félix V. Matos Rodríguez


City University of New York


havidan rodriguez photo

The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York unanimously voted today to appoint Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, an accomplished scholar, teacher, administrator and public servant who has been president of Queens College since 2014, as the eighth Chancellor of CUNY. He will be both the first Latino and minority educator to head the University. He will assume the post May 1. An innovative leader, Chancellor-designate Matos Rodríguez, 56, has drawn national recognition as a trailblazer in higher education. He enhanced Queens College’s reputation for excellence and propelled the school to the highest echelon in college social-mobility rankings. As president of CUNY’s Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, the post he held immediately prior to his appointment at Queens College, he gained acclaim for engineering a double-digit increase in the school’s retention rate, leading Hostos to become a finalist for the prestigious Aspen Best Community College prize in 2015. He is one of a select few U.S. educators who has served as president of both a baccalaureate and community college. As a college president, Matos Rodríguez has compiled a distinguished record of success, thriving in a field that has been slow to diversify. According to the American Council on Education, the portion of Hispanic college presidents barely changed between 2011 and 2016, inching up to 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent. The overall portion of minority college presidents increased only slightly over the same period, to 16.8 percent from 12.6 percent. Matos Rodríguez holds a B.A. from Yale University, where he was a cum laude graduate, and a doctorate in history from Columbia University. A scholar and authority on the history of women in the Caribbean, he is a recipient of the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association and the author of Women and Urban Life in Nineteenth-Century San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1820–1862; and editor of several books, including A Nation of Women: An Early Feminist Speaks Out.