Vice Chancellor Ernesto Malave

Creative Administrator, Gifted Mentor, Beloved Colleague

Ernesto Malave, Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance of The City University of New York, died Nov. 22 after becoming ill while representing CUNY at a conference in Puerto Rico. He was 51. A memorial service is scheduled for Feb. 5.

As chief financial officer for six years, Malave oversaw and managed the finances of CUNY’s 23 colleges and professional schools and central administration, including the University’s investment portfolio. Regarded as a creative administrator gifted at navigating financial complexities and challenges, Malave was also a mentor to CUNY administrators, students and others, a colleague who rose through the ranks in diverse administrative roles before entering the budget arena in 1989. His distinguished career traced its roots to his student years at Borough of Manhattan Community College, where he served in student government and represented students on the CUNY Board of Trustees.

“The entire community of The City University of New York deeply mourns the passing of our beloved Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance, Ernesto Malave,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “He was an extraordinarily gifted colleague and friend, devoted to his family and to his University in every conceivable way. For over a quarter of a century, CUNY and all of its constituent colleges benefited enormously from his creativity and dedication, and his deep and abiding passion to advance the very best educational interests of our student body. He will be sorely missed.”

At CUNY’s Board of Trustees’ November meeting, Goldstein credited Malave with being the architect of the CUNY Compact, the financing vehicle that for the past few years has supported the University’s drive to increase full-time faculty ranks and bolster academic and student support services.

Trustee Joseph J. Lhota, chair of the Board’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs and a former New York City budget director and deputy mayor, said of Malave: “His were the only budget meetings I know that were never contentious. He would explain difficult budgetary items and people would come away feeling educated.”

Trustee Carol Robles-Román, deputy mayor for legal affairs and a member of the Board Committee on Fiscal Affairs, said: “Even in these times of fiscal austerity and budget cutting, he championed with the chancellor and trustees new financial aid programs for students in need. Our work to establish the CUNY Puerto Rican Faculty Recruitment Project … demonstrates the full breadth of his involvement with diverse issues involving CUNY.”

“Ernesto never lost his sense of responsibility to the community from which he came and always served it with excellence,” said New York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vásquez, who knew Malave before and during her tenure as a state Regent and at the Hispanic Federation.

Dolores Fernandez, a professor of urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center, said Malave was an enormous help in 1998 when she became president of Hostos Community College in the South Bronx, where he grew up. “Ernesto was at my school weekly, mentoring me and teaching me the ins and outs of the complexities of the budget system,” she said.

As a student leader at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Malave served as a member of the University Student Senate from 1979 to 1981; as student representative to the CUNY Board of Trustees’ Committee on Faculty, Staff and Administration in 1979-1980; and as BMCC Student Government President in 1980-1981. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Rochelle in 1984. Malave joined the CUNY staff as an admissions adviser in the Office of Admissions Services in 1983. Two years later, he was appointed assistant director of governmental relations, responsible for representing the University’s interests at City Hall and in Albany. He joined the University budget office in 1989 as a budget analyst and assistant to the budget director and later became executive assistant to the vice chancellor for budget, finance and computing. In January 1996, he became CUNY’s acting budget director, a post he assumed fully in 1998. Chancellor Goldstein named Malave interim vice chancellor for budget and finance in 2002 and vice chancellor in 2003.

Survivors include his wife Miriam, sons Ernesto and Erik, mother Aida, brothers Alfonso and Daniel, sisters Virginia and Sandra and a large extended loving family of nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, sisters and brothers-in-law.