The annual Educating for Justice gala sponsored by the John Jay College Foundation Board of Trustees offered a festive salute to the many students and alumni who have served in the military, and honored four prominent New Yorkers for their service and leadership in the area of veterans issues.
Held on October 16 at the College, the gala drew a crowd of some 300 friends and supporters of John Jay. The event’s honorees were Gen. David H. Petraeus, former head of the U.S. military’s Central Command and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Arthur and Elizabeth Mirante II. Arthur Mirante is a Principal and Tri-State President of Avison Young, and former CEO of Cushman & Wakefield. In addition, a Civic Leadership Award was presented to Maria Cuomo Cole, Chair of the homeless-services organization Help USA.
“From the very beginning, John Jay has been a home to veterans,” noted President Jeremy Travis. “Today, I am proud to report, John Jay is home to more veterans among our student body than any other City University campus. They are an amazing asset to our College community, bringing to the College their outstanding work ethic, goal orientation, spirit of teamwork and a commitment to the common good.”
Approximately 500 military veterans study at John Jay. In his welcoming remarks at the gala, President Travis said that the time he spent with before the event with Petraeus and some two dozen John Jay student veterans was “one of the highlights of my presidency.”
Accepting his award from President Travis, Petraeus, who now teaches at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, noted that the post-9/11 generation “has deservedly come to be recognized as America’s newest ‘great generation.’” We can and should do more to aid their transition back into civilian life, he said, “and it’s great to see John Jay and CUNY doing just that.”
President Travis praised Cole, the Civic Leadership Award recipient, for her “humanity, passion and humility.” The award was presented in recognition of her efforts, through Help USA, to support America’s military veterans, “notably those who have returned from duty only to find themselves homeless.”
Jules Kroll, chairman of the John Jay Foundation board, presented the award to the Mirantes, who have been staunch financial supporters of the John Jay-Vera Fellows Program for outstanding undergraduates committed to public service and social justice. Kroll cited the Mirantes as prime examples of “what it means to be a fierce advocate for justice.”
Nearly 300 friends and supporters of John Jay attended the 2013 gala, which serves as a prime vehicle for private support of programs and initiatives at the College.