Queensborough’s 2018 Partners for Progress Gala Celebrates Distinguished Honorees Dedicated to Community Service and the Fine Arts

Published: May 01, 2018

Queensborough’s 2018 Partners for Progress Gala was held last evening at Terrace-on-the Park in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. Approximately 500 guests convened for the event including corporate, community and business leaders, alumni, faculty, staff, students, retirees, friends and legislators.

Queensborough student Mabely Salvador, President of the Student Government Association and a Delegate of the CUNY-wide Student Senate, gave the opening remarks:

“I am the first in my family to go to college. I grew up in Corona, Queens, and proudly consider myself Mexican-American, born to immigrant parents. They came to the U.S. to give their children a brighter future. I grew up bilingual, often unable to distinguish English from Spanish. In my early childhood, language therapists mistakenly diagnosed this as a learning disability, and it had a demoralizing effect on my self-confidence. The psychological trauma I experienced is part of what motivated me to become an adolescent psychologist.” 

At Queensborough, Mabely has taken advantage of every opportunity to help her reach that goal.  “I want to further develop my leadership skills by staying involved, encouraging other students to do the same, and staying focused on obtaining my associate degree and continuing my education at a four-year school.”

Mabely participated in the Accelerated Study in Associate Program (ASAP) at Queensborough. The ASAP program is designed to help students earn an associate degree within three years by providing a range of financial, academic, and personal supports. ASAP students must take a minimum of 12 credits per semester and are encouraged to take classes during winter and summer sessions to accelerate graduation.

“For me, the ASAP program is about perseverance and staying on track to graduate on time. The program has been critical in bringing clarity and direction into my life.”

Mabely will graduate this spring and transfer to Queens College where she plans to study adolescent psychology.

Paola Beniquez described her academic and athletic experiences and reflected on the destruction Hurricane Maria caused to her island home, Puerto Rico.

At Queensborough Paola has stood out, most notably on the Women’s Volleyball Team where, as a freshman outside hitter, she earned 2017 NJCAA Division III Women's Volleyball First Team All-American honors. She is one of only three freshman nationally on the first team. She also earned 2017 Region XV Player of the Year, CUNYAC athlete of the week (five out of six weeks), and CUNYAC Tournament Most Valued Player awards.

On the academic side, Paula’s passion lies in the fine arts where she is studying painting, watercolor and acrylic. She described the support she has received from her professors in the Department of Art & Design who have encouraged her to pursue a career in the fine arts. Recently, she displayed her portrait called Gladys in the 2018 Annual Student Juried Art Exhibit, a tribute to her mother and grandmother who share the same name.

Paola was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and last December she flew home to Puerto Rico to reunite with her close-knit family for the first time since Hurricane Maria.  “We are no strangers to hurricanes. There have been times when we lost water for several days, the schools were closed, and once I even had to sleep in my car. But nothing like what I saw this time.”

Paola will graduate this spring with an A.S. degree in Liberal Arts. She is assembling her portfolio with the goal of transferring to Pratt Institute in the fall to study interior design.

Kyle Chin-How ’15 was one of several students at the Gala. Kyle was one of three Queensborough students to be awarded a 2015 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. He was also selected to participate in a 2015 summer White House internship.

Like many Queensborough students, Kyle has an inspiring story of determination to succeed. He was raised in Flushing by his parents, who emigrated from Guyana to the U.S. in 1984. In 2013 he graduated high school, but soon after his mother lost her job. To help support his family, Kyle began working as a restaurant porter.

That fall, while still working long hours at his job, Kyle enrolled at Queensborough as a full-time evening student majoring in Liberal Arts. Eventually, as Kyle was able to begin to concentrate solely on his studies, he flourished both academically and as a leader: he was selected as in intern for NYPIRG and became a NYS Model Senator.

While at Queensborough, Kyle also discovered his desire to pursue public interest law and became an advocate for public education and the DREAM Act legislation.

“I could not have succeeded without the support from the faculty who offered me a true mark of public service that I will never forget.”

Kyle graduated in 2017 from The City College of New York (CUNY), where he studied in the Skadden, Arps Honors Program.  Currently, Kyle is a Legal Practice Assistant at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates.

Queensborough President, Dr. Diane B. Call expressed deep gratitude for the support of our donors, our faculty, students, staff, alumni and retirees, our elected officials, business associates and friends from the surrounding Queens community.

“Your generous contributions and support mean so much to everyone at Queensborough Community College.  They help to fund scholarships, grants, research, professional development, travel abroad opportunities for our students and bolster our cultural and educational resources which serve our College as well as the greater community to which we all belong.”



Senior Vice President

Director of Consumer & Business Banking

East West Bank

“When I was first introduced to the QCC Art Gallery, it was evident to me that there is an intrinsic relationship between the Gallery’s first-rate exhibits and the College’s outstanding faculty and talented, hardworking students as well as a strong relationship with the community.”

Dennis Chuang is Senior Vice President and Director of Consumer & Business Banking at East West Bank, in New York. East West Bank has served as a pathway to success for its customers for more than 40 years. As the largest independent bank headquartered in Southern California, and one of the few U.S. banks with full-service branches in Greater China, East West offers a distinct global banking experience to their clients. East West Bank specializes in industries such as Entertainment, Technology, Private Equity and Life Science, and guides businesses looking to explore new markets and discover new customers.

Mr. Chuang oversees consumer and business banking on the East coast, covering Massachusetts, New York and Georgia. His areas of expertise include providing residential mortgages to help people realize their dreams of owning a home, and securing loans for small and medium businesses in order that they may expand.

Born in Taiwan, Mr. Chuang emigrated to the U.S. when he was nine years old and settled with his family in Jackson Heights, Queens. Upon graduation from Bayside High School, he enrolled at Hunter College (CUNY).  “My professors were excellent mentors and helped me to learn beyond academics through social engagement, such as athletics and other activities that helped prepare me for a successful career.”

He sees the same level of mentoring at Queensborough. “Through art, student achievement reaches beyond academic growth and technical skill. Students are encouraged to develop introspection by including their cultural backgrounds in their works and learning to share their stories with others.”

Mr. Chuang developed his passion for art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with an interest in impressionism, and Monet and Van Gogh in particular. “Monet’s mastery of light and landscape is inspiring and calming.”

Recently, the Gallery’s Executive Director, Faustino Quintanilla, gave Mr. Chuang a private tour of the Gallery’s acclaimed African Art collection. Mr. Chuang remarked that the full range of ceremonial and practical objects produced on the African continent “exudes a feeling of being present with a rich and powerful history from a continent far away.”

Along with his distinguished career in banking, Mr. Chuang is active in more than 50 community organizations. Among them are Junior Achievement, Brooklyn Nets Foundation, Asian American Bar Association of NY, Asia Society, Asian American Federation of NY, Korean American Chamber of Commerce, ASCEND Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, St. Mary’s Foundation for Children, Florence E. Smith Senior Center, Neighborhood Housing Services NYC, Annual 109 PCT Night Out, Homecrest Community Services, and Chinese American Planning Council for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

He is on the Board of Directors of New York Chinese American Banker Association, Flushing Chinese Business Association, and Taiwanese Chinese Chamber of New York.

Mr. Chuang resides in Long Island City. Among his side interests are playing racquetball and the collected works of William Shakespeare. 


Ronald S. Appel, ‘81

Vice President and General Manager of the Repair Business Group at Henry Schein, Inc.

“This event provides a wonderful opportunity to express my appreciation for Queensborough. My experience here had a tremendously positive impact on my life, and I want to reach out to other alumni to become involved.”

Ron Appel’s distinguished career at Henry Schein, Inc. spans some four decades.  He initially learned about Henry Schein through his father, a pediatrician, as Ron would occasionally pick-up medical products from Henry Schein, his father’s exclusive provider of medical supplies for his entire career in medicine.

Ron began working at Henry Schein in 1982 as an Operations Analyst handling special projects at the Port Washington, NY distribution center while completing both his undergraduate and Master’s degrees. In 1984 Ron received his Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Business Management from Adelphi University, New York, and in 1987 he received his Master of Business Administration in Marketing Management (M.B.A.) from St. John’s University, New York.

As Henry Schein, Inc. continued to grow, Ron formed and led a staff within the company that began managing a specialized service of health care repair for dentists, physicians and veterinarians. Today, Ron’s arm of the company has sales of $80 million with locations in the U.S. and Europe, and a staff of 180 employees.

Looking back, Ron explained that academics were not always his top priority.

 “During high school I was never looked at as a strong student, but Queensborough sparked my academic interest which boosted my enthusiasm and inspired me to go on to higher degrees. I took what I learned at Queensborough and it has benefited me in my career for 36 years.”

“The college offers a supportive environment, great classes and outstanding professors that help build self-esteem and encourages students to finish their Associate degree on time and further their education.”

In the decades since Ron graduated, Queensborough has evolved into one of the most diverse community colleges in the country. The college’s student body hails from all parts of the world, including 129 countries of origin, with 80 languages represented.

“One of Queensborough’s greatest strengths is the diversity of its students.  Each student has a personal story that reflects the drive to succeed and the dream of a better life through education.”

“If you believe, like I do, that Queensborough has played an important role in your success, there are many ways to give back. Contributions are used to provide merit-based scholarships and awards as well as educational expenses that are not covered by financial aid, such as books and transportation costs; and to support food scholarships and the College’s Food Pantry for those in need.” 

Henry Schein Inc., a Fortune 500 Company and a member of the NASDAQ 100 Index, is the global distributor of healthcare products and services to office-based healthcare practitioners. The company first started out as a pharmacy in Woodside, Queens, then moved to Flushing and today is headquartered in Melville, Long Island. It employs over 22,000 people in 34 countries, serves more than one million customers, including dental practitioners and laboratories, physician practices and animal health clinics. It boasts sales of $12 .5 billion and is listed in Fortune magazine as the ‘world’s most admired companies’. 

All funds raised by the Gala will be used to support student success initiatives with the goal of increasing student retention and graduation rates, giving them an extra edge to find a career and earn a living wage. Funds will also be used to enrich the student learning experience by supporting faculty development, the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives (KHRCA), the QCC Art Gallery and the Queensborough Performing Arts Center (QPAC).

The annual Partners for Progress Gala is hosted by the Queensborough Community College (QCC) Fund, Inc. The officers of the QCC Fund, Inc. are Chairman Mark Kupferberg,  Kepco, Inc., Vice Chair Charlene Prounis, ʼ76,  Flashpoint Medica  who also serves as Chair of the foundation’s Edge for Success Campaign,  Treasurer Charlotte Biblow, Esq. , Farrell Fritz, P.C., and Secretary Patricia Tiffany,  Flushing Bank who also served as Chair of this year’s Gala.

Queensborough is ranked in the top 100 community colleges among approximately 1,200 community colleges nationwide by Community College Week. The College is committed to open-admission access for all learners and to academic excellence. 

The QCC Fund Inc. celebrates distinguished honorees and pays tribute to Queensborough’s generous donors at its annual Partners for Progress Gala. Patricia Tiffany, Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing for Flushing Bank, served as Gala Chair. Liren Wei, Managing Partner of Wei, Wei & Co., LLP, served as Co-Chair. All funds raised from the Gala are used to support student success initiatives at Queensborough Community College and the College’s three cultural centers: the Kupferberg Holocaust Center, the QCC Art Gallery, and the Queensborough Performing Arts Center (QPAC).

Queensborough Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY) is one of the most diverse campuses in the nation. Students come from 129 different countries, speaking 78 different languages, and 34 percent speak a language other than English at home. Queensborough is a critical gateway into higher education for many students who are the first in their families to attend college. The College is committed to open-admission access and provides a comprehensive educational experience for students through its academic programs, faculty-led research opportunities, and a personalized advisement program.

The Queensborough Academies are a nationally recognized student support initiative that serves all full-time degree students from the moment they enter to graduation and beyond.  The initiative has yielded a significant increase in student retention and graduation rates. Queensborough is one of the few community colleges in the country offering such a program on this scale.

Queensborough has 35+ academic programs including 10 Dual/Joint programs with four-year CUNY institutions: Nursing with Hunter College, York College and CUNY School of Professional Studies; Biotechnology with York College; Criminal Justice, Accounting for Forensic Accounting, and Science for Forensics with John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Education with Queens College and Pharmaceutical Sciences with York College. Queensborough’s award-winning Academies feature enhanced advisement and high impact practices leading to deeper, meaningful learning.

Queensborough Community College has become the only community college in New York and one of only 19 community colleges in the country to receive accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).  In addition, Queensborough is now one of only eight community colleges out of 189 nationwide with an accredited theatre program.





Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art GalleryOpens in a new window

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.