The Case for Macaulay

By creating the Honors College in 2001, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein underscored his conviction that equity and excellence can and must coexist in public higher education. Renamed in 2006 as Macaulay Honors College, this exemplar of entrepreneurship in education serves as the engine of the CUNY renaissance. As the flagship honors program at CUNY, Macaulay Honors College makes good on CUNY's promise to provide a competitive public option to New York's most talented students.

We cannot meet our obligation to provide a bright future for public school students in New York if we "hew to the mean." And we don't: Macaulay attracts truly remarkable students, accepting only one in ten applicants with high leadership potential and impressive records of academic achievement. Most of our 1,300 students are immigrants or children of immigrants; they represent 21 countries and speak 40 languages. These high-achieving students are required to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or above. As a result, they are some of the most prepared and competitive applicants for prestigious scholarships and fellowships: last year, Macaulay had one of the few students in the nation to win both a Rhodes and a Marshall Scholarship.

Macaulay provides University Scholars with a rich experience, both inside and outside the classroom, that will position them to be effective change agents in the world. Their work in the specially designed City Seminars, combined with the internship, research, and study abroad experiences afforded by the Opportunities Fund, imparts a unique perspective that enables Macaulay students to think--and act--both globally and locally. Students receive a state-of-the-art laptop and dedicated technical support to facilitate collaborative learning and create important community connections. And individual mentoring and advisement helps ensure that they can make the most of all these resources in order to succeed in college, and in life.

At Macaulay, we believe that every student should find ways to give back to the communities that help support their education. Every Macaulay student performs at least 30 hours of community service--many do much more. Helping to rebuild New Orleans; working with Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala; or fighting malaria in Ghana--our students are involved and committed to civic engagement and public service.

Macaulay student outcomes are both a source of pride and encouragement. Our alumni are making a serious impact in the world around them. They pursue doctoral studies at Yale, Berkeley, NYU, Columbia, Duke, and CUNY Graduate Center; law studies at Cornell, Penn, Fordham, and Cornell; and medical degrees at Cornell, Syracuse, Albert Einstein, and SUNY Downstate. Those ready to enter the workforce have received offers from some of the leading names in the corporate world: Morgan Stanley, The Washington Post, Ernst & Young, Citigroup, Disney, General Electric, Booz Allen, The New York Times, and Lockheed Martin, to name a few. We are teaching a new generation to pursue the highest level of intellectual inquiry--the kind of critical thinking and problem solving that is essential for our new economy and our future.

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