Dr. Fernández became the second president of Lehman College in 1990 and was the longest serving among CUNY’s current presidents. He encouraged the development of new majors and degree programs, including an undergraduate degree in business and graduate degrees in social work, public health, and business. He expanded the college’s technological infrastructure and facilities, including a $70 million Science Hall research and teaching facility with state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, instrumentation, greenhouse and environmentally sustainable technologies; a $15 million Information Technology Center; a $17 million campus-wide fire, security and communication system; and a $16 million Multimedia Center that supports programs in journalism and new media. Under Dr. Fernández’s leadership, Lehman established both the Institute for Irish-American Studies and the recently-named Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute, a capstone of his many years of dedicated work with the Mexican community.
Dr. Fernández is a trustee of the New York Botanical Garden; Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center; Wave Hill, a Bronx public garden and cultural center; the Riverdale Mental Health Association; and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the boards of directors of the Multicultural Education Training and Advocacy; and the Hispanic Educational Technology Services, a distance-learning consortium of 36 colleges and university systems in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America. Dr. Fernández has served as chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for the nation’s higher education institutions (2007-08) and of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Fernández is the recipient of numerous award and honors, including being named by Crain’s New York Business Magazine as one of the People to Watch in Higher Education in 2014. The New York Immigration Coalition selected him for a Builder of the New New York Award (2013), and he received the NFL’s Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award (2011), the ASPIRA Education Award (2011), and the Latino Trendsetter Award (2010).
Dr. Fernández holds a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in Spanish literature from Marquette University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in romance languages and literatures from Princeton University.
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