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St. John’s University President Addresses New York Academy of Public Education

Dr. Gempesaw challenges local public education administrators to collaborate to reduce widening income inequality.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s University, recently addressed a meeting of the New York Academy of Public Education (NYAPE). Established in 1912, the New York Academy of Public Education is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement and progress of urban education. The academy regularly hosts meetings to discuss relevant topics in education and to hear concerns and observations from professional educational administrators.

At NYAPE’s fall 2016 dinner meeting, Dr. Gempesaw delivered an address calling attention to the growing income inequality that exists in the United States today, and the impact that this wealth gap has on the educational process. Speaking to an audience of more than 100 New York City education administrators, Dr. Gempesaw posed the question, “Does education have a role in finding a solution to the problem of growing income inequality in the United States?” 

Using the founding and enduring 146-year-old mission of St. John’s University as an example, Dr. Gempesaw described how an institution can promote economic and social mobility by effectively providing educational opportunities for the underprivileged youth in New York City and beyond. He cited US Department of Labor data showing that earning a college degree results in higher wages, better life opportunities, and greater community involvement. Dr. Gempesaw said that it is not enough to provide students with access to education; it is equally important to ensure student success by helping students stay in school and graduate. 

In his remarks, Dr. Gempesaw affirmed the great work of all those who dedicate their lives to education, saying, “I believe that those of us in education can help alleviate the widening income inequality gap by providing the best educational opportunities to our students. Hopefully, many of our students will also pursue a career in education so as to sustain the teaching profession for a better America.”