The Award is named in honor of Lady Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman in history to receive a Ph.D. "La Cornaro" spoke many languages fluently, studied Literature, Rhetoric and Logic, and the Arts, Sciences and Theology. The University of Padua bestowed the doctorate on the brilliant Italian scholar on June 25, 1678. The glorious stained-glass windows in the Thompson Memorial Library at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, represent this memorable event in the history of the higher education of women.
The following is a portion of  the press release issued by the University on April 26th.


April 26, 2010 | The University

The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York has appointed Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico, Temple University provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, as the twelfth president of the University’s founding institution, The City College of New York.

A nationally prominent educator and researcher in microbiology and immunology, Dr. Staiano-Coico served as executive director of the Tri-Institutional Research Program, a $160 million research consortium of Cornell University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University.  She has also held senior academic and administrative leadership positions at Cornell’s Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College in New York City, including vice provost for medical and external affairs, senior associate dean for research, division chief of surgical research, and professorships in microbiology in surgery, microbiology in dermatology, and public health.
As Temple’s provost, Dr. Staiano-Coico is responsible for 17 schools and colleges, including campuses in Tokyo and Rome; its undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, and a budget of more than $600 million. After an 18-month collaborative process, she launched an academic strategic plan for the university and initiated an innovative general education curriculum that was hailed by “The Chronicle of Higher Education.”

A graduate of  Brooklyn College, Dr. Staiano-Coico becomes the first CUNY alumna to lead City College, founded in 1847 as New York City’s first public institution of higher education, The Free Academy.

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein recommended the appointment of Dr. Staiano-Coico to the Board of Trustees following a national search. The presidential search committee was chaired by Trustee Charles Shorter and included trustees, faculty, students, alumni and a college president. The Board unanimously appointed Dr. Staiano-Coico at its April 26th meeting.

In a joint statement, Board Chairperson Benno Schmidt and Chancellor Goldstein said: “Dr. Staiano-Coico brings extraordinary academic and administrative experience to her new leadership position at City College. Her achievements as a scholar and researcher, her experience as an administrator and her proven track record of collaboration with faculty and commitment to student success will bring  renewed vitality to City College’s dynamic undergraduate and graduate programs.”

Dr. Staiano-Coico said, “I am honored to be selected to serve as the next President of City College, one of the nation’s great urban schools with a mission of access to a world-class education for students from all economic backgrounds.  It will be a privilege to work with the faculty of City College who have a legacy of educating generations of students who go on to be leaders of the city, the nation, and the world.  I look forward to having stimulating dialogues with students, faculty, staff, community members, and fellow CUNY alums about the exciting future of CCNY.  I am truly coming home to my roots.”

A native of Brooklyn, Dr. Staiano-Coico earned a B.S. with honors in biology at Brooklyn College in 1976 and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 1981. She conducted post-doctoral research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

As the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, she oversaw a $70 million budget, more than 1,400 students, and a $23 million annual research program. She planned and raised $39 million for the design and construction of a state-of-the-art laboratory building, which is scheduled for completion in 2011. Dr. Staiano-Coico established interdisciplinary programs in areas such as psychology and law, and global health and nutrition. In addition to directorship at the research consortium of Cornell University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University, and her academic and administrative service at Weill Medical College, Dr. Staiano-Coico served as president of the International Society for Analytical Cytology.

Her recent professional appointments have included service as a member of the National Institute of Health’s National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council, as well as a chair of the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences Special Emphasis Panel on trauma training.  Dr. Staiano-Coico was a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Task Force on Research Institutes and Centers, and she is past president of the International Society for Analytical Cytology. She is currently a Health Research Advisory Committee Member for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania. She is also a member of the Board of Managers of The Philadelphia Foundation. Her current research focuses on alcohol and drug abuse prevention among traditional college-aged students.

Dr. Staiano-Coico, whose term will begin on August 18, 2010, succeeds Dr. Robert Paaswell, who has served as Interim President of the College since 2009.