The pride and determination that Eugenio María de Hostos Community College’s founders harnessed to galvanize support for the College’s charter in 1968 is alive and well, and it was evident throughout the College’s 55th Anniversary Gala. On April 26, more than 330 friends of the College gathered at the beautiful Surf Club on the Sound in New Rochelle to celebrate the institution’s remarkable impact and to show their support for Hostos students by contributing more than $425,000 to bolster scholarships and enhance academic services. Hostos has preserved its founders’ vision for more than half a century, and it has been a bridge to opportunity and socioeconomic mobility for thousands of New Yorkers.

During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed the musical stylings of saxophonist Jorge Luis Zouain and student musician Marie Inamori. The program started with a colorful, lively performance from the Dominican Dance Group, and guests danced the night away with DJ Ralphie Mercado. In their welcoming remarks, Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis and MC Monica Morales recognized the not-so-secret force behind the festive evening.

The Gala, hosted by the Hostos Community College Foundation, honored intrepid leaders whose work and philanthropy align with Hostos‘ mission to celebrate and empower diverse communities, foster socioeconomic mobility, and provide equitable access to quality higher education. The evening’s honorees were:
  • Distinguished Professor Award: Cynthia Jones, Lecturer, Hostos Community College
  • Empowerment Award: Catherine Lapadula, Managing Director/Market Executive, International Division, WM UBS
  • Healthcare Impact Award: Ramon Tallaj, M.D., Chairman, Somos Community Care
  • Philanthropic Impact Award: Michael R. Potack, Chairman, Unitex Healthcare Laundry Services
  • Global Impact Award: George M. Logothetis, Executive Chairman, Libra Group

Both George Logothetis and Catherine Lapadula reflected on the value of creating opportunities for others, and Michael Potack and Dr. Ramon Tallaj spoke of how giving back and investing in communities helps to build a stronger future for all. To validate his commitment, Dr. Tallaj announced his intention to inaugurate a scholarship at Hostos. Professor Cynthia Jones borrowed from Langston Hughes's “I, Too” to remind us that Hostos students represent all the promises of the American dream, and we all share the hope that “Tomorrow,” thanks to leaders like our honorees, our students will “be at the table.” Professor Jones also intends to create the Professor Cynthia G. Jones Beloved Community Scholarship.

In his moving speech, Mr. Logothetis encouraged students to pursue opportunities like great athletes in training—visualizing what they want, working for it, and expecting greatness from themselves. Four students and one alumnus shared how Hostos had empowered them to set that expectation in their lives. They came to the College with challenges as immigrants, refugees, parents, and more. Whether they were for a professional certification or an associate degree, Hostos’ faculty, staff, and leadership pushed them to dream bigger—and gave them resources and support to succeed.

Hostos’ student acting troupe, the Hostos Repertory Company, gave a sneak peek of their hilarious play “What You Will,” which will travel all the way to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. Student-actor and Animation major Mellanie Benito never expected to find a passion for theater at Hostos, yet she discovered that “being a part of this venture is a dream come true.” Foundation Board members requested additional support to help defray travel costs for this incredible opportunity. Thanks to an anonymous $10,000 matching gift, guests responded enthusiastically and generously to the request for funds, raising nearly $15,000. The Foundation still hopes to raise another $19,000 to alleviate travel costs for students, and you can help by coming to see the show or by making a gift to help students.

The Foundation is thankful for everyone who helped to make this Benefit possible, including the Hostos Division of Institutional Advancement team, in particular, Vice President Colette Atkins and Development Manager Idelsa Méndez; the Gala committee; the Foundation board; Mistress of Ceremonies Monica Morales, who expertly conducted the program; and the entertainers and speakers who made the evening memorable and inspirational. Finally, the Foundation would like to thank the sponsors whose generous support was instrumental to the success of this event:
  • Premium Event Sponsor: Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • Presenting Sponsor: Libra Philanthropies
  • Diamond Sponsors: BronxCare Health System, SOMOS Community Care, Unitex Healthcare Laundry Services
  • Community Sponsors:  Colgate-Palmolive, Friends of the Chairman, Montefiore Einstein, The New York Yankees Foundation, UBS
  • Ambassador Sponsors: CenterLight Healthcare—PACE, The Cocco De Filippis Family Scholarship, DC-37 AFSCME AFL-CIO, Fidelis Care, Lincoln Hospital–NYC Health+Hospitals, Oyate Group, Ponce Bank
  • Friend Sponsors: Berkeley College, Bill Aguado and Kathi Pavlick-Aguado, Bronx Terminal Market, Catholic Charities, Citizens Bank, the Díos Family, Hunter College, Innercity Elevator Corp, L+M Development Partners, Lead Security Group, Phipps Houses

About Eugenio María de Hostos Community College

Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities for over half a century. Since 1968, Hostos has been a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs.

Hostos offers 28 associate degree programs and three certificate programs that facilitate secure transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. A two-time Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence finalist, the College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 25 colleges.    
If you would like more information, please email Director of Communications Ivano Leoncavallo at