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June 1, 2020

A Message from Lehman College President Daniel Lemons

Dear Lehman College Colleague:

Happy Pride Month. This month is noted as a commemoration of the uprisings stemming from the righteous anger of the LGBTQ+ community in the 1960s that emerged from San Francisco to New York City. They initiated fundamental changes for the better in our society that continue to this day, with gains, setbacks and then more progress toward a society where everyone is viewed everywhere as a full member, without any caveats or reservations, and with equal opportunities.

It is telling that we are seeing similar protests and demonstrations at this historic time in our country – a watershed moment for considering the significance of anti-racist action and systemic change. I reflected on the protests that have been reignited in the wake of George Floyd's murder in a message to the community on May 31.

Though we have had some intense and stressful weeks, especially over the last several days, it was especially inspiring and energizing to see different parts of the Lehman community rise to the occasions that marked the end of our academic year, first in the Virtual Honors Convocation and then in our Virtual Recognition Ceremony for Class of 2020 graduates. One of the highlights was this tribute to Lehman College from the School of Arts and Humanities – a lovely rendition of "What a Wonderful World." Bravo!

I have also been reminded of the creativity, perseverance and generosity of the entire Lehman College campus community. That includes elected officials like City Council Member Andrew Cohen, who gave $10,000 to The Campaign for Lehman College which will be a tremendous help for our food bank. Between mid-March and the end of May, we served 947 students through the virtual pantry and Council Member Cohen's gift will help us serve many more this month.

His giving to Lehman College is but one indication of the strong bonds we have in the Bronx and in New York City. I have witnessed those bonds as I have continued to regularly meet with The Bronx Community Relief Effort, a new and important Bronx-wide initiative. As I mentioned in May, I am also co-chairing a CUNY-wide committee that is focused on SARS-CoV-2 testing, mental health and wellness, as we shape our evolving response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have also enjoyed my virtual interactions with many in the campus community throughout May, beginning with a series of live sessions by way of Instagram Live and Zoom. Those continue to be important opportunities to provide students, staff and faculty with important information and for responding to questions and concerns. These will continue throughout the summer. You can find some of those sessions on the on the Lehman College homepage where you can also reference our Values and Process guiding document and other information about how we are responding to and planning for developments in the NY State budget. We will keep the schedule of upcoming live IG and Zoom sessions posted on the College website.

Congratulations for making it through a historic semester and another academic year. Our collective effort this term has made me extremely proud of all of us. Now, we all need to take a deep breath. I hope you will enjoy the summer months as much as possible, as you stay safe by always following the public health guidelines. We are right where we were at the middle of February with a large majority, even in the Bronx, still not exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Only now we know for sure that it is everywhere around us, and that we have to act accordingly.

Thank you again for all your hard work and dedication that is keeping the Lehman College community strong in the midst of an historically difficult time.


Daniel Lemons

Previous messages from President Lemons can be found here.