News & Events
City Tech Salutes Corporate and Culinary Luminaries, Faculty Exchange Program with China at Best of New York Award Dinner
From left, honorees James Johnson, Ambassador Yishan Zhang, Derrick Cephas, Annie Christopher and Edward V. LaPuma
City Tech honored Amalgamated Bank President & CEO Derrick Cephas, W. P. Carey International President Edward V. LaPuma, Chinese UN Ambassador Yishan Zhang and The City University of New York/People's Republic of China Faculty Exchange Program at its 2006 Best of New York Award Dinner on May 1. Also honored were alumni Annie Christopher '83, founder of Annie's Naturals, and James Johnson '75, director of catering at the Hilton New York.
City Tech graduate and celebrity chef Michael Lomonaco '84 emceed the awards ceremony, which was held in the Hilton New York's Trianon Ballroom and attended by nearly 400 corporate, union and community leaders, public officials, City Tech alumni, students and faculty, and other distinguished guests. Entertainment was provided by "Songs of Solomon," an award-winning, Harlem-based choral youth group that has performed with Ashford and Simpson, Elton John, "American Idol" winners Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia Barinno, and other top entertainers.
From left, City Tech President Russell K. Hotzler, Ambassador and Mrs. Yishan Zhang, CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, City Tech Foundation Chair Martin Jaffe and Executive Director Jewel Trowers Escobar
City Tech was especially proud to salute the professional achievements of Cephas, LaPuma, Christopher and Johnson. Both Amalgamated Bank and the W. P. Carey family of companies have been supporters of the College and its mission for many years, and graduates Annie Christopher and James Johnson continue to make invaluable contributions to their alma mater and the educational pursuits of current students.
His Excellency Yishan Zhang, a career diplomat and Ambassador of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations since 2002, accepted a special Best of New York Award on behalf of the hundreds of individuals throughout the People's Republic of China (PRC) who have partnered with their City University of New York (CUNY) counterparts in a nearly two-decade-old faculty exchange program between various Chinese universities and CUNY colleges.
City Tech has benefited from this educational relationship with the PRC since 1987, when former President Ursula C. Schwerin visited China to finalize an agreement with officials at Shanghai Jiao Tong University establishing the first faculty exchange program in hospitality management between that institution and any U.S. college or university. Over the years the program has expanded to include exchanges in additional disciplines as diverse as business and physics between the PRC and CUNY educational communities.
Master of Ceremonies, celebrity chef and City Tech graduate Michael Lomonaco with three hospitality management students who helped host the dinner.
CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein joined in welcoming Ambassador Zhang and the other honorees at a Guest of Honor Reception preceding the awards ceremony. Several years ago, both Chancellor Goldstein and City Tech's current President Russell K. Hotzler were instrumental in establishing the CUNY Asian American/Asian Research Institute. The institute engages in a broad range of programs focusing on the economic, educational and cultural developments occurring throughout Asia and this country's Asian-American communities. PRC officials have been active participants in many of these programs.
Established in 1982, the Best of New York Award Dinner is hosted by the City Tech Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation chartered in 1981 to support the College in fulfilling its educational mission. Proceeds from the dinner help fund foundation-sponsored scholarships, other student assistance programs and faculty development initiatives.
Harlem-based choral youth group "Songs of Solomon"
The theme of this year's dinner, "Around the Corner, Around the World," reflected the scope of the educational experience that City Tech, located at MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, offers its 12,400 degree program students and the professional impact its graduates have on business, industry and the professions -- locally, regionally and worldwide. Both President Hotzler and City Tech Foundation Chair Martin Jaffe, co-founder and chief operating officer of Silvercrest Asset Management Group, spoke of the integral role the College plays in providing the nation with a highly skilled workforce in a broad range of 21st century technologies.
Photos by Ken Brown