LaGuardia Community College

Gail O. Mellow
Peter L. DiCapua
15,169 (degree-seeking students)
54,000 (non-credit students)

LaGuardia Community College is named for Fiorello H. LaGuardia, New York City’s New Deal mayor who united and inspired a city of immigrants. LaGuardia students represent 160 countries and speak over 110 languages. They are reflective of the college’s slogan “The World’s Community College.” LaGuardia offers programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business and computer science as well as career and allied-health programs. LaGuardia has a reputation for innovation and excellence in education. In 2007, the graduates of the nursing program achieved a 97 percent pass rate – the highest of all New York State associate and baccalaureate programs. Additionally, LaGuardia’s Center for Teaching and Learning was awarded The National Hesburgh Certificate for Excellence in Improving Undergraduate Education in 2004. The 2003 Community College Survey of Student Engagement ranked LaGuardia as one of the top three large community colleges in the United States.

Philanthropic Support FY00-FY07 — $2,546,024.06
Projected Philanthropy Target through FY2015 — $6,000,000

Individuals, including faculty, staff members, students, alumni and friends, corporations and foundations, have contributed over $2.5 million. Gifts and pledges provide the college with scholarships and program and faculty support as well as facility development and facility upgrades.

Gift Highlights

  • The Wallace Foundation made a gift of $250,000 to endow the Joe Shenker Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide tuition and other educational support to students.
  • The New York Community Trust/Wallace Special Projects Fund contributed numerous gifts, including an unrestricted $100,000 and $150,000 for scholarships for students with financial needs as well as stipends to peer tutors in the college’s Academic Peer Instruction Program.
  • Peter Koo, the owner of the Starside Drugs pharmacy chain, pledged $100,000 for scholarships for students in the allied-health disciplines.

Look Who's Investing in LaGuardia Community College

The Wallace Foundation

“Joe Shenker believed passionately in the power of education to transform lives. We are pleased to endow this scholarship in his name at LaGuardia Community College, which serves as a crucial gateway of opportunity for so many in New York City.”

— M. Christine DeVita, president of The Wallace Foundation

In November 2008, The Wallace Foundation donated $250,000 to LaGuardia Community College to endow a scholarship in memory of the college’s founding president, Joseph Shenker. The donation, the largest individual gift to the foundation to date, will help fund the Joe Shenker Memorial Scholarship fund which will begin providing support to students during the 2010 academic year. Dr. Shenker, a former board member of The Wallace Foundation, died at 68 on Sept. 20, 2008 after a brief battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

“The Wallace Foundation’s extraordinary gift recognizes Doctor Shenker’s life and leadership by providing access to education to those who would otherwise not have it,” said Gail O. Mellow, LaGuardia’s president. “That was something he was very passionate about.” Nearly two-thirds of LaGuardia students come from households that have an annual income of $25,000. During the academic year 2008- 2009, the foundation provided over 300 students with scholarships. The Wallace Foundation endowed Joe Shenker Memorial Scholarship will ensure that more students will have the assistance they need to complete their degrees at LaGuardia.

LaGuardia Community College – Student Government Association

In 2008, the LaGuardia Community College Student Government Association gave $3,000 to the foundation for scholarships. The gift was from the Class of 2007 in recognition of the challenges LaGuardia Community College students face as they work to achieve their degrees. This gift also showcases the commitment of students and new alumni to give back to their college as well as to support their classmates’ determination to succeed.