CUNY Remembers Faculty, Staff and Students Lost to COVID-19

The City University of New York on Tuesday formally commemorated faculty and staff members and students who have died of COVID-19 during the two years of the pandemic.

The CUNY system lost at least 70 people, more than any other university system in the country. Most of those who died did so during the first wave of the pandemic, when the state of New York led the country in COVID-19–related deaths and New York City was the epicenter of the public health crisis.

The CUNY Day of Remembrance ceremony “provided the first opportunity for the University community to mourn collectively and pay tribute to those lost,” according to a CUNY press release. The event included the reading of the names of those who died by people affiliated with CUNY, including Berenecea Johnson Eanes, president of York College, and Michelle Anderson, president of Brooklyn College, whose campuses each lost 11 people, the most among the system’s 25 campuses.

“One million Americans have lost their lives during this pandemic, and more than 70 of them were part of the CUNY family. It’s almost unimaginable,” said William C. Thompson Jr., chair of the CUNY Board of Trustees, in the press release. “They were our friends and our colleagues, our family, our faculty members, our students. We come together as the family of CUNY because that’s who we are. CUNY isn’t just a group of institutions. It’s the people. It’s the students. It’s the spirit. It’s what we’ve meant to the city and the state.”

Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, CUNY’s chancellor, recalled “faculty members who taught and mentored thousands of CUNY students and left their marks on their campuses and their fields; students of every age, with all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of dreams; staff members who were the backbones of their campuses.

“This has been a monumentally challenging time for us all, and the pain of our losses will linger even as we continue the battle and adapt to new realities. We miss those we have lost, and we will always remember their many contributions to CUNY.”

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