Dr. Larry Johnson, Jr. Takes Office as Guttman Community College’s Second President



July 1, 2021 | Academics, In the Media, President's Office

Dr. Larry JohnsonOn Thursday, July 1, 2021, Dr. Larry D. Johnson, Jr. assumes the presidency of Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. He was selected on February 1, 2021, by the CUNY Board of Trustees after a national search was conducted.  President Johnson comes to CUNY after serving as the president of Phoenix College, a community college in Maricopa County, Arizona.  He succeeds Dr. Doris Cintrón, who served as the College’s interim president from August 1, 2020-June 30, 2021.

Since his appointment was announced, President Johnson has had extensive discussions with CUNY and Guttman senior leadership, constituencies within Guttman, and community groups throughout New York City.   He is eager to begin: “I’ve learned so much about the College and the CUNY system already, and I’m looking forward to partnering with faculty, staff, and external constituents to scale the innovative model.”  Additionally, he will examine opportunities for future enrollment forecasts while ensuring the College’s academic pathways prepare students for seamless matriculation to four-year colleges and the vibrant New York ecosystem.

Dr. Johnson has vast experience as a faculty member and administrator in America’s community college sector.  He became the first African-American president of Phoenix College in its 100-year history when he was appointed in 2018. Under his leadership, the college increased enrollment by establishing a partnership with the City of Phoenix that provided educational opportunities to workers in the community. The college also received multimillion-dollar grants from the National Science Foundation and federal Department of Education to support experiential learning programs and undergraduate research in STEM.

Dr. Johnson began his career at Tallahassee Community College in Florida, where he taught developmental English and reading. He later taught at Georgia Piedmont Technical College and then Broward College, where he was associate dean for English and journalism and championed innovative strategies that increased student success, particularly for men of color. From Broward, he moved to St. Louis to serve as provost and chief academic officer at St. Louis Community College’s Forest Park campus.

Dr. Johnson earned his undergraduate degree in English literature from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a Historically Black College. He earned his MA in humanities and a graduate certificate from Florida State University. He holds a doctorate in humanities from Clark Atlanta University.

A strong advocate of community colleges, Dr. Johnson recently completed a three-year appointment on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on College Readiness.  In 2020-2021, he was selected for the highly competitive Aspen New Presidents Fellowship Program, which brings together new, bold, and innovative leaders of America’s community colleges.  He will continue to serve on the board of the Phoenix Symphony, and he is looking to join educational and non-profit boards in New York City that align with Guttman’s mission.

Guttman Community College has won national notice for its high graduation rates and innovative first-year experience academic model.  CUNY’s first new community college since 1971; when it opened its doors to students in 2012, its mandate was to reimagine the delivery of a community college education so that a higher percentage of students would complete successfully and transfer to a four-year undergraduate institution. Designated as both a minority (MSI) and Hispanic (HSI) serving institution, 87% of Guttman students are students of color, with 55% Hispanic and 32% Black enrollment. As of fall 2020, approximately 1,020 students were enrolled at the College.

Guttman’s graduation rates are the highest in CUNY’s community college sector. The three-year graduation rate is more than twice the national average, and the two-year graduation rate far exceeds the 4% national average of public two-year colleges in large cities. More than 80% of Guttman graduates go on to senior colleges, with the far majority of them continuing at CUNY schools. Guttman’s high graduation rates contribute greatly to the College being ranked as the best community college in America in 2020, and the top community college in New York State for 2020 and 2021 by Niche.com and other ranking agencies.

Guttman’s success derives partly from its innovative academic model that features an eleven-month academic year, required full-time attendance for all first-year students, a first-year core curriculum and cohort structure. There are five associate degree programs are Business Administration; Human Services; Information Technology; Liberal Arts and Sciences (Humanities and Social Sciences track and STEM track); Urban Studies.

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving 500,000 students of all ages and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

President Johnson’s Message to Students

President Johnson’s Message to the Guttman Community