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CUNY Award Remarks

On May 18, 2023, I recieved an Alumni CUNY Award from the CUNY Graduate Center. While I certainly don’t feel like I’ve done enough to receive this award (especially compared to prior winners like the incredible Professor Dána-Ain Davis), I was proud to accept it. Winners were permitted to make a short speech, and the text of mine is below.

Color photo of a group of people sitting and standing for a group photo while holding awards

I am stunned and honored to be receiving this award.  To make sure I don’t forget, I want to thank my family who are watching from home, and without whom life would be absolutely no fun. 

So, I’ve been a proud member of the CUNYverse since 2004, and have taught or taken a class at 11 of the 25 CUNY schools in 4 out of the 5 boroughs (sorry, CSI).   I’m also the second CUNY generation in my family- my father graduated from Baruch so long ago that it was still called Downtown City College, and my father in law graduated from Hunter shortly after it became co-ed.    

Two me, CUNY is two things- acronyms and people.  First the acronyms- it’s like a secret code, and it’s definitely not known outside of the system:  I’ve gotten to explain what CUNY is at several locations in the US as well as in Paris, Delft, and Kyoto, which is an honor and responsibility I do not take lightly.  Everybody pronounced CUNY wrong, and they get absolutely lost with the rest of the acronyms. Like, tonight, we’re here at the GC and I usually teach at KCC, where I teach PS (sometimes IR, but mostly US) and I do a bunch of OER.  When I was at the GC, I was a GTF, an RA, an NTA, a WF, and a TF.  I worked at the RBI and the PSS.  Since graduating from the GC, I’ve completed fellowships with FFPP, CAC, CPCP, TLH, and BRESI.  I’ve been funded by the RF & PSC-CUNY.  I’ve been lucky enough to work with the TLC and the DH program, both of which were starting as I was leaving the GC.  My CV is a veritable alphabet soup, and if you’re in CUNY, I bet yours is too. It is certainly confusing, but it also bonds us together- if you know, you know, and we definitely know.  

The other thing about CUNY is the people.  I could go on about the world class faculty, which were great.  Or the amazing students I’ve gotten to meet over the last two decades.  But tonight, I’m thinking about the people I met at the GC- the staff and other students, thinkers and fellow travelers, several of whom have became colleagues- shoutout to Dr. Corby, Dr. Aroosi, Dr. Steffy and so many other GC friends who are sprinkled across the CUNYverse!  The GC has given me lifelong collaborators and dear friends, and for that I’m eternally grateful.  One more acronym- our DWG, the dissertation writing group that met at Pinkberry on 32nd street.  They are the only reason I managed to finish and defend my dissertation-   And because DWG is forever, the other members are here tonight- Dr. Stapleton accepting her GOLD award, and Dr. Janet Reilly cheering us both on.  I would not have made it without the people, and so would not have been able to do even a fraction of the scholarship, teaching, and service I have been lucky enough to get to do across CUNY. 

I hope to continue to work in CUNY for a long time to come, and will treasure this award.  Thank you very much.