|The CUNY Academy’s Henry Wasser Awards are named in honor of one of CUNY’s most devoted educators.
|....||Henry Wasser earned his BA and
MA from Ohio State University and his PhD from Columbia University in
1951. Most of his teaching career in English, with a specialty in
American Studies, was at City College (1946-1966). In those years he
was awarded Fulbright professorships at Thessaloniki and Oslo. He was
one of the first City College faculty members to obtain a Fulbright
award in the years when McCarthyism tainted City College as a den of
unpatriotic Americans. |
|Dr. Wasser’s publications include The Scientific Thought of Henry Adams as
well as a long list of works on American studies and higher
education. In 1966 he left CCNY to become the founding Dean of
the Faculty at CUNY’s new, experimental, upper-division Richmond
College (after 1976, the College of Staten Island). As dean, he
recruited a young and enthusiastic faculty and he invited them to shape
a system of college governance which maximized faculty-led
decision-making. Richmond College faculty members created a community
of scholars, encouraged by Henry, which saw itself as the source of
college policy. In 1966 Henry Wasser was a rare pioneer who
supported the idea of interdisciplinary education. |
1973, Henry left Richmond to become Vice President for Academic Affairs
at California State - Sacramento but then returned to CUNY to serve as
the Director for European Studies at the Graduate School and Chair of
the University Faculty Senate (1980-86). Under his leadership,
the Senate supported the creation of the CUNY Academy of the Humanities
and Sciences and after 1986, he served as President and Executive
Director of the Academy.
The CUNY Academy was created to
support the work of young faculty members, to provide an opportunity
for them to present their research, to organize conferences and feature
overseas scholars. The Academy fostered a Higher Education
Seminar, another of Henry’s ideas, to address the drastic changes
occurring in higher education which saw the exponential growth of
administrators and their authority. His concern extended to his
overseas involvement in higher education conferences, notably those
held in Turkey. Ever-present was his concern for the central role
of faculty in governance.
In line with Henry’s vision, the Academy established the Felix Gross Endowment Awards and the William Stewart Travel Awards. To honor Henry, the University Faculty Senate passed this resolution on September 20, 2016.
The Henry Wasser Awards are a fitting tribute to this devoted colleague and spokesperson for faculty authority and achievement.