Eunice Flemister

On Thursday, September 22, the Hostos Community College’s Aging and Health Studies Unit, the Office of Alumni Relations, and community partners gathered to celebrate 20 years of successful gerontology alumni at Hostos and to mark the bittersweet retirement of beloved professor, Eunice Flemister.

Alumni Relations Manager Felix Sánchez opened the event by expressing how impressed he has been by Professor Flemsiter’s passion and commitment. Director of Career Services and the evening’s emcee Lisanette Rosario set a tone of sincere gratitude as she shared her personal experiences working with Professor Flemister. Though the evening’s recognitions were presented to the dedicated community partners who provide internship and mentorship opportunities for students, the most consistent theme was an appreciation for the earnest diligence of Professor Flemister. The four honorees, Katherine Martinez, president and CEO of Neighborhood SHOPP; LaRaye Sullivan, director of human resources at R.A.I.N. Total Care, Inc.; Iya Antoinette Emers, a community advocate at the NYC Department for the Aging; and Alicia Gomez ’18, director at Eastside Senior Care, all expressed their esteem for Professor Flemister’s hard work, positive mindset, and dedication to training exceptional aging and health studies students.  Ms. Emers summarized the sentiments of many, “You’ve empowered students and all of us. You give us hope.”

Professor Flemister invited four alumni who had impacted her as a professor and who have gone on to find great success in gerontology related fields and beyond. Abdul Boynes ’17, Edwin Echevarria ’15, and Sophia Colin ’10 reflected on how Professor Flemister had impacted their academic, personal, and career success. Each student went on to attain higher degrees at other institutions, but all of them hold Hostos close to their hearts because of dedicated faculty like Professor Flemister. Each alumnus told stories of personal hardships they faced that seemed insurmountable until Professor Flemister gave them the support and guidance they needed to persist. As Mr. Echevarria reflected, “You never know the blessing that you are to people, but I can tell you the blessing you were in my life. I lost my mother in 2019, but I know that because of what I learned [at Hostos], I was able to keep her with me longer. Thanks to you, I knew how to find her the care that she needed.”

Professor Flemister closed the evening by expressing what Hostos had meant to her. “My time at Hostos has been very fulfilling – seeing students succeed, survive, work hard on academics and join the ranks as professionals. [Students] have inspired me and touched me…[Professors] make a difference because our students make a difference.” She also reminded those in attendance that the stories of devastating challenges, like the ones shared by the alumni speakers, were far from unique. Felix Sánchez joined the professor to announce that it is her parting wish to establish a scholarship fund supporting aging and health studies student’s financial needs. Attendants were invited to make a gift to support this intended scholarship, and by the end of the evening, nearly $800 was raised toward the $5,000 goal. Professor Flemister encouraged everyone to remember the mantra of the aging and health studies program, “No senior – and no student – left behind.” If you would like to make a gift in honor of Professor Flemister’s retirement, please click here.

The Office of Alumni Relations and the Aging and Health Studies Unit would like to thank all those who joined us for this celebration, including President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Provost Shiang-Kwei Wang, Lisanette Rosario, Neighborhood SHOPP, R.A.I.N Total Care Inc., NYC Department for the Aging, Eastside Senior Care, Columbia, Caring Kind, and many more faculty, staff and alumni. And most importantly, thank you to Professor Flemister for your indelible spirit and service to Hostos students for the past 24 years. Your presence will be deeply missed, but we wish you a joyful — and restful — retirement.