October 6, 2022 SPRING 2022

$1 Million Gift, Events, and College Rankings

Gray Foundation’s Million Dollar Gift to Continue CUSP
John Jay’s Completion for Upper-division Student Program (CUSP) received a $1 million gift from The Gray Foundation, which will help 3,200 seniors graduate.

Eighty-six percent of the CUSP program’s first two cohorts graduated, or more than 900 students. “CUSP students at John Jay College have already demonstrated immense resilience and determination to make it to their senior year, especially in light of the pandemic,” says Mindy Gray, Co-Founder of the Gray Foundation. “We’re pleased to provide this group of students the support they need to graduate and embark on their paths to long and successful careers,” says Jon Gray, Co-Founder of the Gray Foundation.

John Jay President Karol V. Mason added, “We are so grateful for Jon and Mindy Gray’s generosity. Their gift will help thousands of students graduate–students who may not have received their degrees without their support.”

Read more about the Gray Foundation’s gift and how it helps our community.

President Karol V. Mason Joins Ellis Island Honors Society Board
John Jay President Karol V. Mason became a member of the Ellis Island Honor Society (EIHS) Board of Directors, following a nomination by its chair, Nasser J. Kazeminy. “At least 33 percent of John Jay students identify themselves as immigrants,” says Mason. “They are a vital part of our community, and we are committed to helping them achieve their dreams.”

EIHS, like John Jay, celebrates the many contributions of immigrants and their children and supports the immigrant community through scholarships, cultural events, and programming.

John Jay’s Growing Recognition

Women In Law Enforcement Symposium Wins Community Engagement Award 
John Jay College’s second annual Women in Law Enforcement Symposium won the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Community Engagement Award, recognizing its ability to gather members of academia, the criminal justice field, and law enforcement to acknowledge, showcase, and celebrate the pivotal role of women law enforcement officers. The event was organized by Diego Redondo and Janet Winter from John Jay’s Department of Public Safety in partnership with the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Recent John Jay Events

2022 Commencement: May 31, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
After two years of virtual commencement, John Jay hosted Commencement on Tuesday, May 31, in person, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York

The event welcomed talented students and their families and celebrated graduates from the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 as well as recognized Faith Ringgold, artist and activist, and Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D., NASA astronaut and former director of the Johnson Space Center, with honorary degrees. See highlights here.

LIFTing Low-Income and Communities of Color in Family Court
To advance racial and social justice and build on former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s “Report as the Special Advisor on Equal Justice in the New York State Courts,” Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) convened a discussion of the investments, resources, and advocacy needed to improve New York State’s under-resourced family court. The session was organized in partnership with with the law firm Proskauer.

LIFT provides free legal guidance and takes litigants step by step through the process, from understanding how to fill out court documents to accessing virtual hearings. “What LIFT is doing—right there on the front lines of family court—enables clients to become fierce advocates for themselves and their loved ones,” says John Jay President Karol V. Mason.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson Meets John Jay Students
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, the first Black woman Bronx Borough President, met with John Jay students and shared how she broke the glass ceiling.

During the panel, moderated by Professor Samantha Majic, Ph.D., Gibson talked about how public education influenced her and shared her priorities as borough president–increasing public safety, developing more affordable housing, creating more contracts for minority and women-owned businesses, promoting health equity, and increasing access to healthy food for food insecure Bronxites—and how students can contribute to the borough’s success.

Pfizer AG Series: U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George 
As part of John Jay’s Pfizer Attorney General Series and in honor of Womxn’s Herstory Month, Erica Bond, Vice President of Justice Initiatives, sat down with U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George.

George, who co-authored the Virgin Islands’ first criminal child abuse and neglect statute, spoke candidly about her career trajectory, how her work in media led to her passion for advocacy, and her fight for justice for people who are underrepresented and have experienced abuse.

Upcoming Events 

Alumni Reunion: New Date—October 27, 2022
We look forward to gathering John Jay alumni, faculty, staff, and friends–in person–on October 27, 2022 to reflect on John Jay’s past, present, and future at our alumni reunion celebration.

We’ll share more details via email, on social media, and on our webpage in the coming weeks.

Contents

Remembering Our Heroes

Looking back on 9/11 two decades after the tragedy. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Improving Mental Health Behind Bars

Virginia Barber-Rioja’s, Ph.D.,’02, ’09 passion for psychology and law helps system-impacted individuals with mental health challenges. By Shirley Del Valle

President’s Letter

“We’re living through challenging times.” I’ve found myself writing, saying, and contemplating those five words countless times this year.

President
Karol V. Mason

Chief Communication Officer
Kira Poplowski, Ph.D.

Editorial Director
Andrea Dawn Clark

Writer/Editor
Shirley Del Valle

Creative Director
Laura DeVries

Web Developer
Chunhui Meng

Web Producer
Anh Phan