The Greater Houston Chapter

Alumni Association of The City College of New York

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Summer, 2015 - Houston Chapter Newsletter

Summer 2015

Message from the Greater Houston Chapter President

I took my first tentative steps on Convent Avenue as a CCNY student towards the end of the 1950s. It would be another five years before CCNY would loosen the tether that bound me to the college and with a BS under my arm, I went out into the world with steps, much less tentative. During those five years, I learned more than I could possibly recount in the next few paragraphs. My focus was on programming computers and because “Computer Science” was not yet a major in college or even coined as a phrase, I was a Mathematics major with a specialty in science and education.

 I traveled from the Bronx to CCNY by bus for the first three years and after I was married, I travelled from Brooklyn by subway during my last two years just as many other students did. I tried to arrange my classes so that I would not have to be in school every day of the week and that meant school days were long with evening labs.  

During those days, we had a north and south campus and every Thursday from noon to 2 pm, students had 2 social hours. No classes took place while students flooded the south campus for various extracurricular activities, from Frisbee to listening to lectures provided by invited notables on a variety of subjects, some controversial. It was a good time.  

I got involved with a new fraternity at CCNY, TEP, whose two main goals were community service and socials for members. During the fall of 1957, I was in the very first CCNY TEP pledge class. I became the pledge master in the spring of 1960 and after 55 years, I am still in touch with some of those members today! Alumni from this gifted and talented group have gone on to great accomplishments in science, higher education, the law, medicine, and corporate America.  

I am so fortunate to have been a part of CCNY's excellent educational system and its concomitant social milieu. As a student from poor immigrant parents, money was not plentiful and so it was often I met “Raymond the Bagel Man” on Convent Avenue in front of the quadrangle and for a dime I had lunch. See the article on Raymond in the recent Alumnus. Actually, he sold pretzels, made from bagel dough – therefore called pragels.  

During the 1950s, outstanding college classes at CCNY were cheap, dirt cheap, and thankfully so, as I could never have afforded to go otherwise. So, I entered college as a south Bronx street kid and emerged five years later as a college graduate to begin my career as a beginning computer science professional. I often think of it as similar to the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly, only the caterpillar has more style than I did.  

I was so extraordinarily lucky to have been able to attend CCNY and attain an outstanding education, virtually free. But, was it really? It was free to me but someone had to pay the administrators, the professors, the electricity bill, the cafeteria workers, and so on. It was not free to the taxpayers who lived in our community. I've thought about that many times, have been deeply grateful, and throughout my life I have tried to return to society my good fortune by helping others.  

Since 2006, soon after moving to Houston to be with my sons, I formed the CCNY alumni Greater Houston Chapter. I have been privileged to have met so many other CCNY alumni, and so many with stories strikingly similar to mine.  

How do you see your CCNY experience? Was it the stepping stone that once traversed, led you into a world of which you could only dream? Did life suddenly grab you by the lapels and provide a life many times enhanced from where you started. Where were you then and where are you today? Think of your college memories and perhaps you will realize what wonders CCNY allowed you to achieve. Those same taxpayers allowed you to aim high.  

I urge you to participate financially and organizationally in the Greater Houston Chapter where you can meet other CCNY alumni while doing some good for today's CCNY students. We may never be able to repay entirely those who sacrificed to put us through school but we can pay it forward and by your participation in Chapter activities provide for its good works.

You can always shoot me an e-mail at ggafka@ccnyalumnihouston.org or call me at 281-461-1631. I am always pleased to hear from one of our members. Check out our webpage http://www.ccnyalumnihouston.org for our upcoming 2015 event. I encourage you to take a role in guiding this chapter.

You can always shoot me an e-mail or call me at the phone and e-mail address below. I am always pleased to hear from out members.  Also check out our wesite, www.ccnyalumnihouston.org for our upcoming 2015 event. I encourage you to take a role in guiding this chapter.

 Allegaroo

Gerry Gafka 

Gerry Gafka - Greater Houston Chapter President

281-461-1631 or e-mail ggafka@ccnyalumnihouston.org

 

          Be sure to visit our Chapter website at

       www.ccnyalumnihouston.org

      where there is always news

           and information about what's happening in our vibrant chapter

The CCNY Greater Houston Chapter Fall 2014 Event

                                  By Shelia Gafka, Director

On Saturday, October 18, 2014, the CCNY Greater Houston Chapter held our 8th annual installation of officers meeting and luncheon at Qin Dynasty. Olga Mikhlina, CCNY Alumni liaison, travelled from New York City, inducted the new officers, and updated the attendees on what is happening at the college.  

She presented a lengthy list of both student and staff accomplishments; not to mention the recent announcement of another CCNY alumnus Nobel laureate bringing CCNY's total to ten; more than any other public university. Along with new additional classes in many disciplines, PhD programs have also increased, and CCNY now offers an MD degree. She added that our alma mater's overall ranking has moved up considerably among national and New York

State public colleges. New building construction and existing building expansion continue, all with increasing student enrollment. There now is a dorm, The Towers, on campus.  

Overall there is much of which to be proud.  

Our main speaker was Mike Robertson; CEO; chief investment officer of Robertson Wealth management, LLC; and host of the “Straight Talk Money” radio show. He detailed a half century of stock market insights, presented a number of novel ideas regarding equity, and fixed instrument investments to a very interested audience.  

Gerry presented Olga Mikhlina with a scholarship check for $1500. It will be awarded at the CCNY alumni dinner in November.  

To round out the afternoon, the food at Qin Dynasty was delicious as usual, and the service was excellent. The social time, before and after the presentations, gave everyone a chance to see old friends and meet new ones. I know that Gerry and I appreciate that time and so does the entire chapter board. We look forward to our next event and hope to see you there.

CCNY GHC Mission Statement

The Mission Statement of the GHC comes from the Great Seal of the City College: Respice (the past), Adspice (the present), Prospice (the future).

 

Please remember the value of the education you received at CCNY and give generously to the

Greater Houston Alumni Chapter Scholarship

Fund For College Seniors.

 

By doing so, You WILL make a difference in the lives of those who will lead our next generation. All gifts to the Scholarship Fund are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, made out to the Alumni Association of CCNY-GHC Scholarship Fund and can be forwarded to...

Bob Schlein

3402 Watersedge Dr

Sugar Land, TX 77478-4427

 

         Save the Date

Fall Event

Date:  TBD 2016

Presentation: 

 

Guest Speaker:  TBD

Location:  TBD

Time:  TBD

 

CCNY CHAT is a publication of the Greater Houston Chapter of the City College of New York Alumni Association.  Design and layout by Graphics Design, Houston, TX

04 June 2016