CUNY Establishes Thomas Tam Professorship in Asian-American Studies

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced plans to establish a named professorship in honor of Dr. Thomas Tam. During Dr. Tam’s memorial service at Asian American / Asian Research Institute on March 9, the Chancellor said the Thomas Tam Professorship in Asian-American studies would be developed jointly by the CUNY Graduate School and University Center and Queens College.

“We are pleased to name the professorship in honor of Dr. Tam, who was a highly regarded educator whose admirers stretched far beyond the Asian-American communities he served in so many beneficial ways,” said the Chancellor. “His professional career reflected his deep devotion to education, particularly at the collegiate level, and a special emphasis on community health care and education in New York City and elsewhere.”

CUNY Trustee Wellington Z. Chen said, “Dr. Tam clearly gave us far more than what we can ever repay him. We will all remember his legacy and will try to follow his footsteps.”

Tam was a renaissance man. The Chinese immigrant earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from City College; a master’s in filmmaking from Montclair State University in New Jersey; a master’s in public health and a doctorate in socio-medical sciences from Columbia University.

He taught at Lehman College, Columbia University and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. While he was a CUNY trustee from 1989 to 1996, he served on several presidential search committees. He organized the first Asian American Higher Education Council, which was made up of faculty and staff from throughout CUNY.

“Dr. Tam worked diligently on behalf of CUNY and the Asian community,” said the Chancellor. “He was instrumental in establishing the exchange program between CUNY and Shanghai.”

A pillar of the city’s Chinese community, Dr. Tam was honored by many organizations, including the Chinese-American Planning Council and the New York Chinese Bilingual Educators Committee. He also received a special award from The Institute of Chinese Culture.

From CUNY Newswire