President Munroe Delivers 2024 State of the College Address: “Students are the heartbeat of this Institution.”

March 27, 2024

The 2024 Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) State of the College event presented on March 26 by BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe validated the achievements of faculty and staff across many disciplines and programs.

Ms. Harileen Singh, Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA) and one of 12 student representatives in the BMCC Academic Senate, introduced the President.

“President Munroe got to know us,” said Ms. Singh, who shared that Dr. Munroe had met with the SGA members at their recent retreat. “He really listened to us and our concerns.”

When President Munroe took the podium, he welcomed students, faculty and staff seated in the steep tiers of Theatre 2. Those who were not able to attend in person can view the recorded event.

“At BMCC, we take our commitment to our students very seriously and work tirelessly to help them to succeed,” said President Munroe in his opening remarks.

“Our collective efforts and investment in our students have paid off exponentially. Let’s continue this momentum.”

President Munroe also acknowledged the challenges in sustaining that work.

“We must be collectively focused on improving retention and in changing the systemic experiences that lead to high rates of academic probation,” he said.

Strategies to make that happen include expanding cohort programs and Supplemental Instruction sections, and guiding students onto academic paths and pathways leading to family sustaining wages.

We must all be “focused on doing this,” the President stressed.

“We must increase the number and scope of paid internships and apprenticeships. Too many of our students still continue to struggle with food and housing insecurity, and we are in a position where we must do better with the realization that we, that CUNY colleges, and institutions of higher education across the country are in difficult financial positions.”

Success programs and apprenticeships lead to higher student retention

The programs, strategies and initiatives covered by President Munroe in his address relate to BMCC’s 2023-2024 Strategic Priorities.

Points of pride the President touched on included an update on BMCC’s Success Programs—each of which has the cohort model at its core.

Students engaged in these close-knit, group programs—such as the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), the BMCC Learning Academy (BLA) and College Discovery—have retention rates that are 12.4% higher than those who don’t.

Another successful strategy to raise student success is Supplemental Instruction (SI), a BMCC program in which a student works closely with a professor to become a peer mentor, tutoring classmates individually.

As the President shared, students who participated in SI have a pass rate that is 18% higher than those who don’t take part in the program.

Vital student support is also provided by the Academic Advisement and Transfer Center. Counselors working one-on-one with students and in small groups, have a marked impact on enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

The President also talked about pathways that connect BMCC graduates to bachelor degree programs, through partnerships with institutions such as Morehouse College, the Transfer Scholars Network, Baruch College, Trinity Washington University, the Pathway to Careers in Medicine through the College of Staten Island and St. George’s College, and many others.

Challenges are met with innovative programs

While celebrating the success of programs and initiatives at BMCC, the president did not avoid more sobering updates, such as the fact that new student enrollment, while continuing to slowly climb, is still down to just over 10,000 students in 2023 (this doesn’t take into account, returning students), from over 15,000 in 2020.

To keep those numbers moving in the right direction, the President explained, staff and faculty at BMCC are working hard to create innovations such as awarding credit for prior learning and developing programs to ensure first-year students are introduced to the supports they need.

One program seeking to strengthen student economic mobility and make higher education more of an option, is IHOPE, the IT and Healthcare Opportunities through Programs in Education project at BMCC’s CUNY in The Heights location.

“IHOPE delivers short-term programs designed to assist first-generation and older students, many who are single parents, to enter fields with family-sustaining wages,” the President said.

“This program also provides students with access to comprehensive career exploration, resume preparation, emergency support, transportation, technology access, in-community childcare supports and access to job placement.”

Funders and corporate partners provide critical support

“We extend our gratitude to a number of our generous funders and partners who have contributed to BMCC’s efforts in assisting our students and furthering our work in enrollment, retention, academic programs, student demand and workforce alignment,” the President said.

Funders and corporate partners were thanked for their vital support of student success at BMCC—from providing academic opportunities and apprenticeships, to meeting students’ urgent needs for food and housing through the BMCC Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC).

So far in the Spring 2024 semester, 63 students are completing apprenticeships and gaining real-world experience in the fields they intend to enter in corporations including Zurich, Aon and TransRe.

Other generous corporate partners and funders that were recognized at the State of the College included Amazon, Bank of America, Blackstone, BMCC Foundation Board member Elizabeth Butson, BNY Mellon, CITI, GFP/Jeffrey Gural, Goldman Sachs, Google, the Heckscher Foundation, the Ichigo Foundation, the Lang Foundation, the Lincoln Foundation Fund, philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott, Moody’s, Morgan Stanley, the New York City Council, the New York Community Trust, New York Life, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, the Pinkerton Foundation, the Herbert and Audrey Rosenfield Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation, State Farm, the Trinity Wall Street Philanthropies, UA3 and the U.S. Department of Education.

“At BMCC, seeking help is not stigmatized.”

Reminding the audience that BMCC’s mission includes supporting programs that address student struggles such as food insecurity as well as providing academic opportunities—the President shared that many BMCC students require critical supports to attend school, pursue career goals and achieve upward mobility.

Recent fall data indicates that 77% of students who received services returned for the spring semester.

“I urge all faculty and staff to familiarize themselves with these essential support services and to encourage students to utilize them,” said the President. “At BMCC, seeking help is not stigmatized. In fact, it is a sign of strength.”

President Munroe thanked a host of groups, programs and departments at BMCC that enable the College to grow and thrive.

Appreciation was expressed for last week’s Social Justice Week events, made possible by the Race, Equity and Inclusion (REI) Steering Committee at BMCC.

REI is co-chaired by Dr. Pedro Perez, Director of College Discovery; Dr. Shenique Davis, Associate Professor in the Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice Department and Odelia Levy, Esq., Chief Diversity Officer/Special Advisor to the President, Office of Compliance and Diversity (OCD).

“Students are the heartbeat of this institution.”

As the State of the College event came to a close, the President screened a video highlighting BMCC alumnus Ki Bang, who just won the DAISY Award, and he brought the event back to where it started, with a focus on students.

“They are the heartbeat of this institution,” said President Munroe. “They inspire us with their thirst for knowledge, their desire to create change and their resilience in the face of adversity. We are here to reaffirm our commitment to supporting students. We are here to ensure that every student who walks through our doors feels valued, heard and empowered to succeed.”

To make that happen, the President says, “We must foster an inclusive learning environment that celebrates diversity, encourages innovation and prepares our students for the challenges of an ever-changing society. We are here to shape the leaders of tomorrow who will inspire future generations to come.”




  • The 2024 State of the College address presented on March 26 by BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe acknowledged points of pride as well as challenges

  • “Our collective efforts and investment in our students have paid off exponentially. Let’s continue this momentum,” the President said

  • Success Programs, cohort programs, apprenticeships, Supplemental Instruction, food and housing support and other innovative measures are in place to close equity gaps at the College

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