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CUNY CREST Institute Inaugurated on November 29, 2010

Posted on December 8, 2010

The CUNY Remote Sensing of Earth Science and Technology (CREST) Institute was officially inaugurated on November 29, 2010 at the hands of Dr. Larry Robinson, Assistant US Secretary of Commerce for Coastal Conservation and Management, and Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico, CCNY President. More than 100 people attended the event that was held in the Faculty Dining Hall, North Academic Center, The City College of New York.

The Ceremony was officially kicked-off with welcome remarks by Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Acting Provost Dr. Daniel Lemons, followed by Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico’s opening remarks. In her speech, Dr. Staiano-Coico, said that CCNY is leaders in recruiting and training the next generation of scientists and engineers of diverse backgrounds to work on NOAA funded and related STEM disciplines. “CREST Institute will be like none other in the Northeast and will be an important component of the CUNY’s Decade of Science” she said and further added that “Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi is one of CCNY crown jewels and he brings passion to the students”.

In his inaugural speech Dr. Robinson, commended and applauded Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi for his tireless efforts and successful journey from CREST center in 2001 to creation of CREST Institute in 2010. He also spoke in retrospect on the creation of the Educational Partnership Program and how successful and beneficial this program has been to the students and scientific community over the last nine years and said “NOAA has been served greatly by CREST over the years,” and that “preparing students as future leaders in science and technology to make the US a global leader is also a major goal of President Obama and all of us in his administration.” Dr. Robinson also applauded the fact that CREST Cooperative Science Center has set a pioneering example for other CSCs by institutionalizing the CREST center to CUNY’s CREST Institute, and that “NOAA has set very high standards of achievement and CREST has exceeded those high expectations.”

Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi shared his magnificent journey from CREST Center in 2001 to CREST Institute in 2010 through his speech. He also shared his vision to make CREST Institute a CUNY “icon” and Remote Sensing Technology “hub” of CUNY that will benefit students and researchers not only of CUNY but other universities especially from the Northeast region. He also envisions furthering the existing CREST center’s objective of creating a strong pool of next generation scientists that will be trained and educated through CREST Institute - to help offer pragmatic solutions to the global challenges faced by the global community.

Besides CREST students, faculty and staff members, several prominent dignitaries who were present at the event included: Ms. Jacqueline Rousseau, Senior Advisor to the Assistant US Secretary of Commerce, Dr. Alfred Powell, NESDIS/STAR Director, Dr. Audrey Trotman, EPP Acting Director, Ms. Cheryl Oliver-Simmons, Chief of Staff of Congressman Jose Serrano, Mr. Michael Arena, University Director, Public Relations, and several other CUNY and CCNY administrators.

CREST Institute was officially approved by CUNY Board of Trustees in June 2010. The mission of the proposed Institute is to serve as a CUNY-wide Institute of Excellence in Remote Sensing Science & Technology, the only one of its kind in the entire northeast region of the country. In the years to come, the Institute will serve as a major hub of outstanding INTERDISCIPLINARY research in remote sensing science and technology across CUNY colleges.

The primary focus of the institute will be to (1) conduct outstanding cutting-edge research to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and help conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources by using satellites and remote sensing science & technology; (2) train and prepare next generation scientists and engineers to help address these global- and national-level initiatives at a regional level.

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